By targeting millennials, brands have the potential to build loyalty early on and, ultimately, to establish lifelong relationships with their customers. The concept is simple, but reaching young customers is another issue since millennials – those between the ages of 20 and 35 – have a more complicated relationship with advertising than older generations.
Many millennials don’t respond to traditional mass advertising techniques in print or digital media, since they are already overwhelmed by the unprecedented amount of information and data available today. In fact, millennials are more likely than other generations to use online ad blockers or paid video streaming services to escape advertising altogether.
What millennials want is a personal experience with your brand and your product. If that experience is real, rather than print or digital, it makes it all the more powerful. Because the young value personalization and experience more than others, experiential marketing is an incredibly effective way to reach millennials.
Make It Personal
Brands often view experiential marketing as an innovative advertising strategy. While it’s true that personalization is the future of marketing, it is also a return to the more intimate vendor-customer relationship that predated mass production. Millennials were born into a world where anonymity was the norm instead of the novelty it once was. As a result, they crave personal connection.
The personal connection doesn’t have to be particularly deep. The 2013 Coca-Cola “Share a Coke” campaign, for example, simply printed a popular name on every coke label. Launched with region-specific names in different markets around the world, the single, successful campaign increased the brand’s Facebook fans by 6.8%.
Millennials like to feel like they’re your brand’s only customer, whether it’s because you printed their name on a bottle of coke or because they had an amazing experience with one of your brand ambassadors at a promotional event. These personal connections drive sales more than mass availability and anonymity currently do.
Who Cares About the Joneses?
Overall, millennials value experiences over products . Perhaps it’s a result of growing up in a world where the prosperous take commodities for granted. Perhaps it’s a result of studies that show experiences make people happier than things . Either way, millennials care much less about keeping up with the Joneses than their parents did.
The backlash against consumer culture isn’t necessarily bad news for brands since, if you can demonstrate how your product supports a specific experience or lifestyle, you can still sell it. Experiential marketing, particularly the staffing aspect, establishes this link between your product and the experience or lifestyle it represents.
Today, passion and truth are everything in marketing. Brand ambassadors are successful because they truly embody the product and lifestyle they endorse and give customers a glimpse at the experiences they could have with your product. Brand ambassadors are successful because your brand is their personal brand.
Millennials are infamously more willing than other generations to share personal information – including the brands they like – online. They are, then, incredibly effective agents for turning experiential marketing campaigns into social media word of mouth campaigns, which experiential strategies like the Instagram printer aim to do.
Because social media spreads word of mouth further than traditional media, brand ambassadors no longer need to be independently famous to have an impact. Millennials build a persona online around what they want to represent becoming, essentially, a willing brand ambassador themselves.
 Millennials: Fueling the Experience Economy. Available at: https://eventbrite-s3.s3.amazonaws.com/marketing/Millennials_Research/Gen_PR_Final.pdf
 The Science of Why You Should Spend Your Money on Experiences, Not Things. Available at: http://www.fastcoexist.com/3043858/world-changing-ideas/the-science-of-why-you-should-spend-your-money-on-experiences-not-thing