|Ruthanne Terrero, CTC vice president–Content/editorial director|
We learned a lot from a Millennial roundtable we held in New York recently; here are the top takeaways if you’re seeking to sculpt a marketing plan to reach this very large audience.
1. The most important fact is that all Millennials are not alike. Overgeneralize them and you’re likely to turn them off completely. Having said that, here are some common traits we’ve garnered from our discussion with Millennial travel advisors who shared their likes and dislikes when it comes to being marketed to.
2. It’s no secret that many Millennials are tough to reach with traditional marketing. To them, ads on billboards and TV mean someone was paid to say something good about a product or that the ad in question is all about making money. Some find this so obtrusive, they will actually pay extra to their subscription streaming services to turn off advertisements all together.
3. If you are crafting an ad for a Millennial audience, make it super clever and creative and they might just listen to your message. Just don’t forget to be ultra-specific about what your product is; that detail often gets missed amidst all the cleverness.
4. In what space are many Millennials comfortable when it comes to researching what to buy? They are, after all, avid consumers for the most part. They’re often discovering new products on Facebook via pages they’ve chosen to allow into their feed. They’ll then delve into favorite blogs for information.
5. What are their favorite blogs? Many want to read content written by people they can relate to, whether it’s another young professional (and that’s regardless of their location), a young mom, or perhaps both.
6. Many Millennials do like getting input from their peers, but that’s not just seeking validation; endorsements from a trusted source or peer, such as, “I just bought this item and it’s great,” saves them time and hassle and allows them to get on with the rest of their lives.
7. They also reported they tend to feel creeped out by ads that follow them on the Internet (like when they visit a hotel’s website, then go to Facebook and an ad for that hotel pops up on their feed). Note: I think we all feel this way; none of us are crazy about being followed in a virtual environment.
8. Periscope is an app that links to Twitter that’s catching the eye of some Millennials. It enables the poster to show raw live video. Note: It also disappears within a day, but it’s got an authentic vibe to it (think unbiased third party), such as when actual hotel guests post property photos to TripAdvisor, and that has appeal.
9. High schoolers may have gone away from Facebook, but some Millennials like it, as well as YouTube and Instagram where they don’t mind following Baby Boomers who are posting about what they perceive to be the finer things in life. And Millennials are pretty happy to find out exactly what those things are so they can experience them now, not when they’re retired.
10. Few Millennials question the role of a travel advisor; they don’t view your profession as one that’s been killed off by the Internet, and they were barely born when airlines cut commissions. So they’re coming to you with a clean image of what you can provide to them and they don’t doubt that you’re good at what you do. What you do with that perception is up to you.