Marketing to Gen Y

How do you attract and sell to millennials and create brand loyalty?

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The millennial generation (18-34 year olds) a population of 83 million people, is a force to be reckoned with. And according to market research firm Experian, it’s 45% non-Caucasian.

This statistic is crucial to digital marketing strategy, because it has a real impact on the type of content that’s needed in order to successful reach Gen Y.

Bottom line: We’re not talking about one, monolithic group. This is a generation defined by diversity and multiculturalism, comfortable with the global village and individuality — and the range of ethnicity and culture cannot be ignored. So if you’re marketing to Gen Y, it’s no longer smart to write old-style content that’s carefully crafted for universal reach.

Because millennials are so ethnically diverse, online content needs to be diverse, too. To write relevant content that hits a home run for growing, multicultural audiences, it’s necessary to go out on a limb and make your messaging relevant to specific ethnic or cultural groups.

Shift the Model

The good news is that it’s no longer particularly expensive to be diverse. Leveraging the latest digital technologies allows you to quickly create, test, and develop high-volume content with relatively low overhead. So you can figure out what kinds of content work with different target audiences, and test on digital — to keep your financial risk low.

One way to understand this type of business model is to adopt the approach and tactics used in the venture capital world. A venture capitalist expects one in ten investments to succeed. Marketing needs to adopt that approach, and be more on the edge, expecting more than a few failures. Like the VCs, if you hit home run 1 in 10, you’re doing very well.

That’s because you’re staying relevant — and you’re reaching an audience that’s notoriously hard to catch.

Find the Talent

Part of the challenge here is that most established media and agency players do not have the capabilities and talent to write cultural and ethnic content. They don’t have the pool of talent they need, if they want to successfully speak the varied languages of different target groups.

How do you find great writers who have the know-how to generate on-target materials for ethnic or cultural audiences? It’s not always simple to identify diverse talent.  This question represents a shift, and it’s certainly an opportunity. Historically, ethnic talent had limited career options. But in our fast-changing world of digital, the need for ethnic talent is there, and it’s growing.

Just as an example: Last year Vice opened up a Miami bureau specifically to bolster its ranks with Hispanic talent – in recognition of the fact that 23% of their audience is Hispanic.

One possibility for those looking to hire is to work with places like the IAB Education Foundation’s program, which offers training, certification and job placement. iDiverse aims to supply digital media and advertising markets with qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Embrace the Millennial Viewpoint

If you’re serious about engaging Gen Y consumers, give them an experience they’ll engage with and want to share. By focusing efforts on marketing for specific ethnic and diverse groups, you’ll be able to connect with these consumers more deeply and help win their trust.

Yes, it’s more risky, but it works. It can be harder to generate content for specific, ethnic populations, but looking at Gen Y — it’s the only way to go.

 

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