45% of Millennials Aren't Compelled by Content

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When it comes to targeting millennials, marketers may need to rethink their content marketing strategy.

Savvy marketers recognize the value of content and embrace its future impact. These marketers have devoted countless resources to better serve content to the ever-elusive millennial. Despite all of this, 45% of millennials simply aren't interested in the content that marketers currently serve, according to a recent study conducted by DigitasLBi, Razorfish, Tumblr, and Yahoo.

Millennials will command a cumulative $1.4 trillion in spending power by 2020, according to the study, which surveyed 15,000 people between the ages of 18 and 34. Marketers must assess their current content marketing strategies if they hope to capture the attention (and dollars) of this massive portion of disengaged millennials.  “We see a number of strategic and creative changes marketers could be making in order to better engage millennials,” says Lauren Weinberg, VP of global research and insights at Yahoo. “Brands need to understand how millennnials are different and engage with them on their terms.”

These differences are numerous and varied, but if marketers take away one fact it should be that millennials are digitally native. Much of this generation went through their formative years with constant access to information. Millennials have an average of 7.1 devices they use to engage with this information and content, according to the study. With so many windows through which to view the world and its information, millennials' values have shifted from those of previous generations. Authenticity, diversity, equality, transparency. These are factors that have shaped this generation's worldview and influence how they engage with content, according to the study. “In terms of strategy, brands should engage [millennials] on a human level,” Weinberg advises. “In terms of creative, brands need to take the opportunity to help millennials get a sense of escape, discover things they didn't know, and achieve their aspirations—all things millennials desire from the content [they] consume and share,” she continues.

According to the study, 72% of millennials tend to find themselves lost in a vortex of entertainment. Seventy-six percent want to stay informed on specific topics and 75% want to cultivate information and become more intelligent. About 44% of millennials seek resources that will help them transition into responsible adults and 45% look for financial crisis advice and information. These varied interests contribute to millennials' general acceptance of digital advertising. “[Millennials] appreciate and understand that the Internet is a business, and that advertisements exist so they can access [these] things free of charge,” Weinberg says. This makes content marketing all the more effective.

If marketers can advise, entertain, or inform millennials, then they stand a real chance at converting these valuable consumers to loyal, powerful brand advocates. “The great thing about millennials is that, with them, good content is good content. Whether it's from their best friend or a brand,” Weinberg notes.

Effective content marketing is absolutely essential if marketers hope to engage this generation of consumers, but for content to succeed the strategies behind it must change with the times. The study presents five tips for marketers to more effectively market to millennials with content.

  • Be native, but not deceptive
  • Be an individual and be ready to evolve
  • Deliver on an emotion and know that humor rules
  • Reserve judgment
  • Be part of the community

The study also presents five tactics marketers can leverage to be more effective with content creative.

  • Set the mood
  • Help millennials escape
  • Fuel creativity and play
  • Spotlight pop culture
  • Help millennials succeed and help them discover

“Millennials are a powerful generation, in terms of both their spend and their influence on the world,” Weinberg explains. “With content marketing, creativity, and great storytelling, marketers can harness that power to create invaluable brand ambassadors.”


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