By Robert Cordray
Millennials, the generation born approximately between 1980 and 2000, is changing many aspects of marketing. Because this generation is so fond of images and video, it has had a particularly strong impact on video marketing. Businesses have been forced to rethink many traditional assumptions in order to reach this game-changing generation.
What is Different About Millennials?
Each generation makes its own mark and finds ways to differentiate itself from those that came before. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, however, have some particularly distinctive traits that truly make them different. For one thin, these are people who grew up with the internet, so they have always taken for granted that information and socializing was never more than a few mouse clicks away.
First of all, millennials are the biggest generation in U.S. history. They are also poised to outspend Baby Boomers by 2017. This gives them a great deal of clout in the marketplace and this will only increase over time. Remember that millennials are just starting to come into their own as adults with disposable incomes.
Another extremely important fact about millennials is that they love videos. Even the older members of this generation, who didn’t have the internet when they were young kids, grew up watching TV stations such as MTV and VH1. Those who did grow up going online quickly become accustomed to watching online videos. You might wonder if these viewers simply want to enjoy videos without buying anything. This assumption would be a costly mistake. According to research conducted by Animoto.com, 80 percent of millennials use video content to help them decide what to purchase. This makes it absolutely essential to use video when reaching out to people in this age bracket.
How to Market to Millennials With Video
Since millennials make up a large portion of the audience on YouTube and for videos in general, it makes sense for marketers to go out of their way to make their messages appealing to this influential group. Here are a few points to keep in mind about marketing to millennials.
- Millennials prefer messages that are honest, authentic and not overly pushy. This rules out the hard sell approach and points towards content that is engaging, entertaining and helpful. When it comes to videos, businesses will have to find ways to reach younger audiences with videos that are more like short films rather than traditional TV commercials. Humor also goes a long way in making the message more millennial-friendly.
- Members of this generation have extremely short attention spans. They may be using multiple devices at once, such as talking on the phone while watching a video. One way that video marketers can address this issue is by using subtitling services to put close captioning into videos so that the message can be read even if the person isn’t listening. Subtitles, which are often used to make videos accessible to people who speak other languages or who are hearing impaired, can also be helpful for reaching distracted multi-tasking millennials.
- Millennials are fixated on social media sites. If you want to reach this generation with videos, you’ll have to reach out to them on sites like Facebook, Twitter and, increasingly, Instagram and Snapchat. These and other platforms are where millennials spend much of their time. Marketers will have to make sure that they connect with audiences on social sites and make videos, or links to videos, available on these platforms.
- Snapchat, Vine and Instagram, among the most popular social sites among millennials, allow for the creation of very short videos. While these are primarily used for socializing, marketers will most likely find ways to introduce people to their brands using short videos.
Millennials and the Future of Marketing
Millennials are just starting to grow up and become important players in the global economy. For this reason, their true impact has yet to be felt. They will undoubtedly influence marketing in many ways that have yet to be seen. Video marketing will certainly play a major role in reaching out to millennials. This will have to be done in a way that’s consistent with the habits and values of this independent and fast-paced generation.
Robert Cordray is a former business consultant and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience and a wide variety of knowledge in multiple areas of the industry. Follow him at @RobertCordray.