Marketing to millennials. The pursuit conjures an image of the Crocodile Hunter, Aussie-accent and all, following the tracks of an elusive, wild creature. Cultural anthropologists study their motivations. Expert-authored articles reveal how to reach them. Agencies spend hours around boardroom tables designing campaigns that turn them into customers.
Does attracting millennials to your brand really have to be so complicated? We don’t think so.
It’s true—millennials tune out traditional marketing. Ad blockers and DVRs have bolstered 80s and 90s babies uncanny ability to tune out sales messages. So how can brands break through?
One word: Experiences.
According to the Adobe Digital Insights survey, 70 percent of millennials would rather spend money on amazing experiences than on tangible items. But product-based brands shouldn’t despair. Selling a product and offering experiences aren’t mutually exclusive. Brands must consider how their product fits into the lives of consumers and demonstrate the benefits it brings in tangible ways.
Exhibit A: Yeti coolers.
While a product-centric brand might tout the specifications of their cooler—a shape that maximizes how many beverages you can fit inside, for example—an experience-centric brand would demonstrate how much fun you and your friends will have while camping with their cooler in tow.
Yeti cooler’s flagship store in Austin is a perfect example. The sweeping space is “a whole lot more than a physical platform for a $350 cooler; it’s a place… where your fantasies about a weekend in the wild become that much more real.”
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the goal of the store (and really all experience-based marketing) isn’t to make a sale. Rather it’s to build a relationship with customers—past, present and future. Indeed, when asked if the store lived up to it’s expectations, the designers said, “If the measure of success was the number of people sitting at the patio bar, drinking micheladas, watching Nascar, then yes.”
Another feather in Yeti’s cap is how they manifest their brand in an authentic way. Despite proudly publishing highly curated personal lives, millennials crave authenticity and reject brands that miss the mark. Consistency across all marketing efforts is critical. These four steps will help you craft a brand story you can stick to.
Marketing to millennials isn’t as complicated as it may seem. To crack the code, simply remember: experiences + authenticity. Create opportunities for customers to experience your brand and keep your values consistent throughout. Do so and the millennials will come.