This is a great article by Forbes. It tells us how millennials are targeted with experiential marketing pointing out that in addition to loving the experience of experiential marketing they also crave the authenticity of brands and handing out free swag is a sure fire way to get your brand noticed through following different social platforms on and sharing photos on social media with hashtags.
Reaching The Unreachable: How Experiential Marketing Targets Brand-Savvy Millennials
By Joey Kercher
Marketers are having a difficult time reaching millennials because tech-savvy and brand-savvy millennials tune out most forms of traditional marketing. They use ad blockers when using search engines, stream their entertainment while simultaneously blocking commercials, communicate and share news via social media, and ignore even the most brightly colored highway billboards or snail mail postcards. eMarketer reports that millennials choose to ignore ads, making it more difficult to catch their attention. Millennials know how to use technology to find products and services that meet their needs, but perhaps more importantly, millennials are brand savvy.
So how can experiential marketing target these brand-savvy millennials?
1. Millennials Love Experiences
It’s a sweeping generalization, but millennials are well known for their love of experiences. They eagerly attend festivals, concerts, trade shows, exhibits and sporting events and explore local nightlife and popular attractions. They want to experience the latest thing and are always looking for the next new and exciting thing. In fact, a study from the Harris Group reported that 72% of millennials would rather choose an experience over a material item.
When you take your product or service and highlight it at one of these events, you are sharing your brand with millennials in a context that they enjoy. You are integrating your brand into the millennials’ environment, ensuring that your brand will be on their radar. For brands to integrate themselves into the millennial environment, they need to seek out spaces millennials frequent such as malls, festivals, concerts, sporting events and college campuses (your exact target space will depend on your target demographic).
2. Millennials Crave Authenticity
It may seem counterintuitive to say that millennials crave authenticity when they spend hours each day on social media glamorizing their own lives and altering their personas. However, millennials are interested and attracted to other people and brands that are honest, transparent and authentic. You appear as an authentic brand when you connect person-to-person with millennials. You show them through personalized conversations with another human being what your brand stands for and how your products or services can help them. A Cohn & Wolfe study reported that 87% of all global consumers believed it was necessary for brands to “(act) with integrity at all times.” In fact, consumers went so far as to say that “authenticity” was more important to them than things such as “product uniqueness,” “product utility” and “popularity.” This is a distinct change compared to prior data and is theorized to be the result of millennials, as their “vote” in these studies push the results towards the need for authenticity from brands.
A great example of authenticity in an experiential marketing campaign is to develop a campaign designed to educate and share a product with your consumers rather than get something from them such as an email sign-up. Our agency has worked with Adidas on several campaigns where the goal was to share the latest sneakers with consumers by authentically having conversations about the new design aesthetic and performance changes. The goal was not to push the sneakers through sales but rather develop interest in them by authentically conveying why they were different to consumers. The goal was simply to have a conversation with consumers about the brand.
3. Hand Out Free Swag
Millennials are happy to share their feelings about brands on social media and branded events are no exception. In fact, Splash found (and shared in Adweek) that 81% of millennials shared photos on social media at a branded event, 71% used the event’s hashtag, 67% followed the brand on social and 56% signed up for an email list. All of this interaction took place at a branded event where millennials received products such as bottles, t-shirts, hats, glasses, totes or pens. Although branded swag isn’t required for millennials to talk about their branded event experience on social, it does help when it comes to images. Give millennials something to wear and share and they will.
The best way to encourage millennials to talk about their branded swag is to ensure that you give them a reason to show it off. This can be accomplished through a contest at the end of the day that requires a photo to be taken with the product or while wearing the branded swag. Sometimes it can be as simple as having a really unique and cool branded item that millennials are bound to use and want to show off immediately. In this way, branded swag can masquerade as a free product.
Millennials are not unreachable when you take the time to develop an authentic campaign aimed at connecting instead of selling and building brand awareness.