Millennials—the marketing industry’s constantly talked-about demographic that always seems to slip out of their hands. Despite holding the largest spending power at $2.45 trillion dollars, companies struggle to connect with the millennial market. From cringe-worthy attempts using contemporary slang, to failed efforts using relatable memes, many businesses are clueless on how to capture the millennial market.
So what actually works? What attracts the attention of millennials nowadays? Well, some companies have found the key to not only attracting millennials, but transforming them from an interested consumer into a diehard brand loyalist.
One of them being: experiential marketing. A new wave of marketing campaigns centered around creating a share-worthy brand experience allowing consumers to interact and share a one-on-one interaction with the products, services, and the brand itself.
From Refinery29’s interactive 29 Rooms, a funhouse filled with art, culture, style, and technology set to inspire their audience, to TNT’s “Push to Add Drama” stunt in Belgium to promote their signature “Daily Dose of Drama”, experiential marketing campaigns introduce a trend of brand-to-consumer interactions. They not only showcase brands themselves, but also drive a wide variety of consumers to participate in the brand experience.
Here are six top experiential marketing tips to pull off a successful campaign specific to millennials.
Tip #1: Create a Branded #hashtag for Your Campaign
Millennials engage with media like no other generation, and the most used form? Social media. Everything from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and Snapchat, they’re wired to their phones updating everyone on everything they do. Create and use campaign hashtags to reach a wider audience and ensure that the event continues to live online, even after the offline action is over.
Tip #2: Use the FOMO Tactic
The fear of missing out. It’s a huge incentive that drives millennials’ need to experience the world outside. Create an event that is a “one time only, can’t miss it” experience that encourages individuals to share on social media. This creates the FOMO feeling in those who aren’t at the event, encouraging more millennials to show up, engage with your brand, share their experience, and repeat.
Tip #3: Good Design Will Cost, But Will Also Pay
Take the time to create an aesthetically appealing design for your experiential marketing campaign. Design DOES matter, especially to millennials. Forty percent said that if an event invite is ugly, they would not attend the event. Ensure that all ads, flyers, banners, and event invites for your campaign raise the bar and set the tone. If your design resonates with your audience, then your messaging will as well.
Tip #4: Link Your Campaign to a Social Purpose
Millennials are more likely to engage with brands who integrate corporate social responsibility in their business models. Why? Because they are passionate about social change and will rally behind brands that do the same. Millennials value authentic, honest, and sincere brands who actually care about bettering the world, not just their own company’s financial gain. Find a social cause that your brand truly supports and design a campaign that rallies behind change. Burger King, a simple fast food chain with no ethical obligations, created an anti-bullying PSA to spread awareness about the importance of speaking out against bullying. This experiential marketing advertisement created an emotional response and in turn, successfully associates this positive message to the brand.
Tip #5: Everybody Loves Free Stuff
It’s even better when the free products are actually useful. Make your campaign swag memorable. Forty-seven percent of millennials were found to have attended events solely for the free branded swag and that it makes an event more special to them. But don’t let them off so easily. Nobody wants attendees to only show up for the free stuff and then immediately leave. Make your attendees work for the free products (something along the lines of JetBlue’s Ice Block Challenge). Sure, free things are great and all, but don’t lose sight of what really matters most to millennials: the experience.
Tip #6: Experiences Shape Identity
Millennials crave experiences that engage them IRL (meaning ‘in real life’ for all you non-millennials reading this) but also provide content for their digital lives. While living in an increasingly plugged-in world, millennials want to be connected to everyone and everything. Create a brand experience that’s memorable and relevant, one that allows them to connect with your brand, the community, and the world, both online and offline.
While many believe the digital world is the answer to reaching millennials, real-world experiences and events are unparalleled, and rarely forgotten.
By: Vy Pham