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Millennial marketing in 2017 – from one

Advertising is fun, we all love it and we love watching those classic South African humour based television or radio adverts. But how often do we get one of those? Wimpy and their “Talk Foreign” or Klipdrift with “Met Eish”, the Vodacom guy etc.
We have had an abundance of unforgettable advertising on television and radio. But, outbound marketing is becoming a thing of the past, it’s great making and creating a powerful television advert and winning numerous awards, but does it actually improve sales and create awareness? Is it worth spending over R3m for an advert that might win an award, but not really have a huge impact on sales?

Also, as we all know, we are capable of skipping adverts on all forms of communication that adverts are generally played, for example:
Television: Walk out the room, go onto cell phone, mute, pause, skip OR watch series and movies on DSTV catch up, Netflix or stream them.
Radio: Aux cable, Bluetooth, mute.
Internet: Skip, get annoyed at the brand for constant adverts, close window.
Magazine adverts: …..we don’t buy them.
Plus – millennials do not enjoy outgoing advertising.

Majority of these campaigns are impersonal and company-focused. They portray the millennial generation as a niche market or a bubble. By putting five people under 25 in a car and driving them around while using or wearing your brand does not make it target that audience – it probably puts them off and that’s if they even see it.

Millennial marketing in 2017 – from one
©Mirko Vitali via 123RF

We want content. Content creates the feeling of empowerment, knowledge and it is tailored – we want to read it so we read it, it’s not forced onto us by interrupting our television series or our radio stations. We choose to read content blogs or listen to podcasts. Brands need to utilise this and market in a manner that is informative and content based. So, what makes this type of content really resonate with us?

We trust authenticity, not an advert that could resonate with anyone or any group. Today, young shoppers’ attitudes and behaviour are largely inspired by people they know in person or online, or even strangers who share their interests on social networks. We carry these advisors with us everywhere we go – on our phones. We don’t need to see or hear an advert, we know exactly what we want because our influencers are wearing them.

Brands need to utilise this, by marketing their products to us without us even noticing. If I see a celebrity on Instagram with the caption, “Wow, MTN is giving me the fastest……” Yes and I am giving you an even quicker unfollow. Why? I am following them to see THEM not to see who they are marketing. Brands – discover a way to market us without us noticing it.

We want to create memories and have experiences: We are posting about our lives all the time. At festivals, at the beach, at home, walking the dog, eating food etc. We are online 24/7 and are never missing an opportunity to share share share – hence why we are also referred to as the “Sharing Generation”.

Brands need to create an experience or a memory that we can part take in and share and never forget. Small gorilla campaigns that may go viral, such as having a cool drink stand at a beach and for someone to get a cool drink they need to post about the brand – that photo or tweet will be online forever and the brand has subsequently created a memory for that person plus everyone who follows them will see it and may even also want a free cool drink.

Corona recently launched a festival in Cape Town. I think everyone who went has been put off the beer for life. Why? Because you could ONLY buy Corona. If you go watch cricket at Newlands, the South African team is sponsored by Castle but you can still buy every other type of drink in the stadium.

We want to have fun with your brand. Let us, but don’t let it be the only option or at least actually make it unique and fun. Make us want to share it and make us want to tell people we're using the brand or have experienced the brand.

Help us help you make a difference


We also buy and support brands who have strong CSR campaigns, that are making a difference to the environment or bettering the lives of humans or animals. Brands need to market this better or do more of it. Why don’t banks or asset management firms hold seminars that educate underprivileged youths on saving, investing and banking. Why don’t IT firms hold seminars on coding, basic computer skills and the importance of it in the future.

We actually are loyal


Brands need to target millennials by focusing on the bigger picture and not just their own target market. No millennial is the same. We want different things and we are interested in different things. Target us in that way.

We are very loyal, but it seems as though we aren’t because we have or buy from many different brands. The hard truth is, we have access to information that was never around years ago and we can look up and gather information on the brand or product that we want. There are more brands, more information and more options than there used to be – this does not mean we aren’t loyal, it means we are finding a brand that suits us and it might take a while.

Content is king. We have always been taught this, so where is all the content?

There are more than enough tools and more than enough millennials entering the work force. So use them.

There are also so many brands in South Africa getting it right – learn from them.

About Murray Robertson

I am currently a Digital Account Manager at 99c. A graduate of the AAA School of Advertising, and currently studying part time - Honours in Brand Communications at Vega.
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