This post is brought to you by Wattpad Head of Business Candice Faktor. The marketing landscape is more complex than ever before and millennials make for a discerning audience with high expectations. What used to work in the old days of marketing doesn’t work anymore, and what used to be okay and acceptable even five years ago - isn’t anymore. This leaves many marketers feeling uneasy and uncertain about where to take their next steps, especially when trying to reach a millennial audience.
At Wattpad we are entrenched in millennial pop-culture. We know what they think about, what they care about, and how they like to engage with brands. Millennials’ make up the majority of our overall audience of more than 40 million monthly unique people. Because of this, we employ a “think like our community” state of mind when it comes to native advertising. We work closely with brand partners to keep their content relevant for our community and also native to the experience of using Wattpad. This requires a delicate balance.
When marketing to millennials, there are several things to keep in mind if you want to have an impact and be successful. Here are five ways you can get millennials to notice your brand:
Think about co-creation
Content moves fast and your window of opportunity is small. To take advantage of amplification, loosen your grip a little and open your mind. Millennials love to be included and involved. Why not allow them to participate in the creation of your campaign by crowdsourcing creative thinking. This will result in your co-creators becoming advocates who feel like you are in tune with their needs. Meaningful brand connections are created through cooperation and collaboration.
Make it entertaining
Sorry to break it to you, but your sales jargon just isn’t interesting to millennials. What is interesting is the story that can be created around your brand (notice we didn’t say about your brand). People tune out ads so frequently that you have to think about content in terms of entertainment. Brand affinity is a natural byproduct of an engaged and entertained audience. And millennials are loyal too with 62% of them saying they are more likely to become a customer if a brand engages with them online.
Authenticity is where it’s at
This could warrant an entire 1000 word blog post on its own. Millennials have superior built-in BS detectors. If they feel that something is disingenuous, they won’t engage. This is kind of exciting though because it makes us better marketers and forces companies to think about their authenticity in an unprecedented way. Millennials truly value honesty and transparency. If you mess up, say so and own it. They’ll respect you in the morning. They want to know that there are humans behind a brand and that there is a pulse there.
Offer something of value
Some brands wildly misinterpret what they believe is valuable to their audience. In order to offer true value, you have to ask yourself: ‘what do millennials care about?’ And ‘how can my brand align with that in a meaningful way’? Sometimes just doing something out of the ordinary or unexpected is enough and offers a moment of surprise and delight. Think about value in terms of human connection and emotion. Ask yourself will this resonate? And if yes, why? You have to know these things going in. Entertainment has value. Frame your approach around what is entertaining to your target audience, not what is entertaining to you.
Intimate and personal is magic
This is the hard part. How can you make each individual person feel unique and special while getting the results that you need in a big way? Well here’s the beauty. Your one-to-one actions have a greater impact, far beyond just that one person. When you take the time to be kind and deliver unexpected happiness on a small scale, the result can become larger than the act by creating a ripple network effect. Millennials share - often and readily. And if you manage to win them over with an act of kindness, they are happy to share their experience with the world, and you might just have yourself a loyal customer for life.
We are very thoughtful about how we work with brands at Wattpad. We spend a lot of time thinking about how to do it right, in a way that doesn’t feel foreign to our community. And so far it seems to be working. Our audience has engaged with over 60 million minutes of branded content on our platform in just over 12 months.