Are Millennials Getting Your Messages? - eMarketer
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Are Millennials Getting Your Messages?

Authenticity key to reaching this demographic

November 5, 2015

Millennials are widely viewed as difficult targets for advertisers. It’s no secret that marketers are worried these young adults are not receptive to their messages. At eMarketer Attention! 2015, Buzz Marketing Group CEO Tina Wells led a panel on how to deal with the issue, and a few themes emerged.

US Instagram User Penetration, by Age, 2014-2019 (% of smartphone users in each group)

“Millennials don’t follow the rules of marketing,” said Kathryn Minshew, founder of TheMuse.

Minshew described how the site used innovative methods to market jobs to young people—many of whom do want traditional 9-to-5 gigs, but may not follow the most traditional path to get them. One step TheMuse has taken, for example, is to require all job advertisers to have professional photo and video taken of their offices, to let job-seekers see for themselves what workplaces look like.

Another way brands are succeeding with millennials, according to Chobani social strategist Hilary DuPont, is by creating beautiful real-world experiences for them to enjoy. Millennials may be obsessed with Instagram, but after all, they need something tangible to take photos of before filtering and sharing them.

US Millennial Internet Users Who Use Ad Blockers, July 2015 (% of respondents)

Simon Isaacs, co-founder of parenting site Fatherly, noted that as millennials are getting older, many are entering a new life stage: parenthood. Most babies in the US are now born to millennials, and marketers used to focusing on mothers will have to look at how household chores and activities are being shared among this younger cohort.

Above all, authenticity is key to reaching this audience. Apu Gupta, CEO of Curalate, reminded marketers that trying to relate to millennials could backfire without that authenticity. “Be careful with millennial-speak,“ he warned. “Don’t say, ‘on fleek.’”

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