The rise of digital has changed the way that consumers engage with brands; completely altering the approach that brands must take to meet consumer needs and demands.

The next generation of consumers (aka millennials) are digital natives and require a new approach. They have no interest in your traditional brand messages; rather they want to interact and engage with brands on a more personal level, and widely online.

Brand Engagement in the Participation AgeThe new breed of consumer is always switched on, but they’re not necessarily tuned into the message that you want them to hear. They are savvy, socially connected, and they want to engage with brands on their terms, whenever it suits them. In other words, the consumers are calling the shots now, not the brands.

A recent study by Google about Brand Engagement in the Participation Age demonstrated that more than 2 billion consumers are online regularly, due mainly to the advancements in connectivity and increased usage of smartphones and tablets. More than 90% of the consumers surveyed in the study reported that they regularly engage with brands online.


So the big question is how brands can capitalise on this? The answer is reasonably straightforward, yet many companies are still missing the mark. If you want millennials to engage with your brand you need more than just a static website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. What you need is a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that hinges on consumer engagement.

Working as a digital marketer, I come across brands who are doing this wrong on a daily basis. Many brands fail to reach out to millennials either because they have no digital marketing strategy in place, or they have the wrong plan in place.

A digital marketing strategy is vital, and when implemented correctly can turn Millennials into your biggest advocates. Here are some important factors you should consider when developing a digital marketing strategy.

  1. Do your research. Identify consumer segments and online channels. It’s vital that you understand how your target consumers behave and interact online. Not all millennials are surfing the same websites and congregating on the same social media. Don’t assume that they are on Twitter just because they’re a millennial. Their media of choice might be Pinterest, Playfire, Snapchat, Mumsnet, Instagram or YouTube, just to scratch the surface. There is a multitude of online channels you can utilise to reach out to millennials and to reach the right consumers; you need to be in the right place.
  1. Inspire Engagement. Millennials love meaningful brands and are more likely to engage with those brands who share their interests and passions. Create useful, engaging and fun content. Don’t just bang out a traditional marketing message and expect it to work online.
  2. First impressions count. Digital technology presents an excellent opportunity for brands to win fans and brand advocates; you should be utilising this opportunity to the utmost. Aim to create exceptional online experiences that will lead to lasting consumer-brand relationships.
  1. Measure and analyse everything. One of the biggest advantages of digital marketing campaigns versus traditional marketing campaigns is that you can measure everything. Amongst other things, this allows you to identify the most influential moments in the consumer journey. Capturing, interpreting and measuring engagement using data will help you to understand consumer behaviour and capitalise on what works.
  2. Be Social. Remember that millennials are the most digitally savvy and connected generation in history. They interact and socialise online, so be sure to align all your brand campaigns with consumer passions across all of your online and social media channels.
  3. Create Community. Create a collaborative environment to encourage consumers to interact with each other and spread the word about your brand. Give them all the right tools that will allow them to review and rate your products and easily share their experiences with peers

This article was first published on TFMA Insights on 16th May 2014

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