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Marketing Your Content to Millennials: 3 Success Strategies You Can’t Ignore

Lisa Hoover McGreevy

published on June 12, 2014 in Content Marketing

Millenials – the 18-36 year old demographic – are a top target for marketers, but impressing them with your product, content or brand messaging is no simple task. Especially if you’re still relying on traditional delivery methods like email marketing and display ads.

According to analytics and research firm SDL’s latest global study, millenials favor social channels over email when it comes to sharing content:

millennials 1

They also discover new shareable content on social networks and customizable news feeds like Buzzfeed, while search engine and email content come in dead last at capturing their attention:



Clearly the way to a millennial’s heart is via social channels so let’s look at some ways to create engaging content that will capture their attention of and encourage sharing among their peers.

1. “Learn which 10% of your content does 90% of the work.”

SDL says only a small slice of your entire marketing collateral is doing the heavy lifting in your campaigns. Identify which 10% is working well and funnel it to social media channels. Don’t overlook social sites that allow users to customize their music or news feeds. SDL’s study shows that 71% of respondents listen to streaming music services like Pandora or Spotify over non-targeted options like local radio programming.

No matter which channels you choose, make sure your content is shareable. “In order to determine the formula for the most successful content, it is critical to use your customer data as a source of intelligence to create targeted messages that add the most value for your customers. To drive maximum impact, brands must pay particular attention to making the content on their social channels both targeted and shareable,” says SDL Chief Marketing Officer Paige O’Neill.

Netflix is great at using both targeted and shareable content to promote its exclusive programming. In the ramp-up to the release of season two of its hit show “Orange is the New Black,” Netflix hosted an interactive Twitter event, created a Twitter hashtag for one of its most popular characters, and developed a mobile app filled with shareable content of its own.


2. Relinquish control of the delivery method.

Set aside marketing techniques like text messages and email for this demographic in favor of content that gives the customer control over the depth of engagement. “In order to deliver content that resonates with millennials, a brand’s goal should be to make customers feel they are being presented with interesting and relevant content and are thus making an active choice to engage,” says O’Neill.

Urban Outfitters encourages fans to post pictures of themselves wearing the retailer’s clothing for an opportunity to be featured on its site. The company gives fans an incentive to engage with its brand without clobbering them over the head with loud sales messages.

Urban Outfitters

3. Tailor content for when and where it will be viewed.

You don’t need to create giant piles of micro-specific ads that are only good for 20 minutes before they become irrelevant, but O’Neill cautions against throwing huge parts of your advertising budget toward campaigns that create huge amounts of nearly identical content.

“Companies should focus on getting content to the right consumer at the right time. In order to do this, it is critical to understand the conditions under which your customers are viewing content, i.e. weather, time of day, and what device they are on. Delivering content that is optimized for each customer’s circumstances will yield the best results,” O’Neill explains.

*Graphics courtesy of SDL