Brands who want their content marketing strategy to succeed need to build long-term loyalty with millennials of which there are 82 million in the US alone, and will soon account for $1.4 trillion spending power. It’s crucial that you’re connecting with millennials to improve your content marketing ROI, especially given how likely it is that this audience segment will get on board with you for years and decades to come if you can successfully woo them now. And yet, 45% of millennials said they don’t find content marketing compelling enough to share. Which spells bad news for content marketing companies trying to get it right with an increasingly powerful cohort. Half of those 82 million millennials consuming online content per month in the US are men. Marketing to millennials requires a different type of effort than marketing to baby boomers or Gen Xers – millennials have a different set of priorities when interacting with brands. They want their content to be hyper-tailored to them. They want their content marketing to be useful: to inform and entertain them, not merely to sell something to them. Content marketing to millennial men requires resisting a lot of assumptions about who they are and what they like, which is especially important given the fact that this group of men is a part of the most diverse and educated generation in history, with 42% identifying with a race other than non-Hispanic white. It requires actually learning who they are, what they like, and what they listen to. It requires marketing to them as individuals, rather than as a herd.
1. Be Relevant
One of the great things about marketing to millennial men is that, according to a report by Nielsen, they are among the least concerned consumers when it comes to sharing their personal information. This makes targeting them easier, for brands who work to collect this information and understand exactly where and who their male millennial audience is. According to research, it’s absolutely important to use this data for content personalization: 54% expected content to be tailored to their age, 55% expected content to be tailored to their location, and a whopping 63% expected it to be tailored to their cultural interests. To do this successfully brands must carefully collect as much information about their male millennial audience as possible, and analyze how they are devouring and sharing content. The first step toward being relevant is accepting the reality that it’s not enough anymore to say that you’re targeting “men between the ages of 18-25.” That may have worked a few years ago, but not in today – that’s lazy content marketing. Before you start trying to be relevant, really have a look at consumer personas. Define them to the extent that you can say, “this segment of millennial men between 22-26 are college educated, living in Williamsburg, and love drinking craft beer and listening to Foals.” If you don’t take the time to actually get to know what they care about, how on earth do you expect to be able to appeal to the cultural interests that 2/3 of them just said they need to you speak to in order to get their attention?
2. Help Them Out
64% of millennials said that they respond positively to content that’s helpful. So it’s in your best interest to be informative or and therefore useful. Another 1/3 told us they flat-out refuse to engage with content marketing that doesn’t entertain or educate them. This may have something to do with the fact that millennials in America are the most-educated group in history; according to a White House report, 61% of adult Millennials have attended college, whereas only 46% of the Baby Boomers did. In other words: unless you’re willing to put the time into giving these well-educated millennial men the info they need, they are going to mute you or open another browser window to click around in the meantime while your ad plays unheard and unwatched. The truth is that millennial guys get about 5,000 marketing messages on average per day. Only the small percentage that are actually helpful stand a chance of getting through all that noise. Hats off to brands like Vice and Dollar Shave Club for their perfect educational, entertaining content for millennial guys. Again, resist the urge to make assumptions. Millennial guys are, for instance, more likely to spend more in a single shopping trip than millennial women. Keying into information like this could assist you in creating content that makes that online or IRL retail excursion easier for millennial men. How about a quick checklist of fall wardrobe essentials to stock up on all at once? Or a “how to” on what fabrics to buy, which to avoid, and how to read a label on a sweater if you want to shop fewer times each year? One great example of a brand educating millennial male consumers: J. Crew’s Behind the Design blog series.
3. Be thought-provoking, or give them the feels.
You don’t have a lot of time to waste with millennial men, they really want you to get to the point. 41% of them said they abandon content that they deem too long. While short attention spans are often seen as a bad thing, why not take an opportunity to wow or help your audience in a concise way? It should be an existential comfort to content marketers to know that millennials want our work to truly interest them or elicit an emotional or intellectual reaction, and that 60% said they won’t share content that doesn’t do any of these things. One way to win the hearts and minds of millennial men? Laughter. This is an audience that really appreciates humor, with 70% of them saying the main reason they share content is because it’s funny. For great examples, we can turn to YouTube, which millennial men love (no secret there.) Two of the top ten most shared videos last year were Devil Baby Attack (51 million views) and the Epic Rap Battle of Goku v. Superman (32 million views). Hire some comedians if you have to (seriously) and hit those cultural references –millennial men love them. You can also go a route that inspires them. One of the most popular videos of 2014 was inspirational and adrenaline-rushy enough to be viewed 118 million times. It also taps into what Nielsen identifies as one of the things millennial guys really identify with in ads: the scenario of average guys in extraordinary situations (such as a game of pickup soccer transforming into a World Cup-level match with the likes of Neymar and Ronaldo).
4. Meet Them Where They Are
Millennial men are a new and unique generation. Their diversity and the changing dynamics of the society they have grown up in make them an interesting challenge for content marketers, but their demands that content marketing be informative, entertaining, and tailored also ensure that content marketers stay awake at the wheel. As Eddie Moretti, CCO of Vice, said of millennials, “They are going to come of age and make business and life decisions. They are going to be the biggest cohort in terms of business and power since baby boomers. We should always be speaking to the next leaders of the world.”
Lauren Mangiaforte is a studioID Contributor (and millennial)