A ten-year-old flips off the TV and comments on the commercial that’s just played for a cereal marketed to kids. “It’s all a scam,” she says. “They’re just trying to get you to buy their product.” She then proceeds to ask her mother whether the cereal is nutritious. Maybe later in the day she’ll search for it online and compare its nutritional value to a product found in her family’s pantry.
She’s a far cry from kids in the 1970s or even the 1980s, when a TV ad for the latest sugar-laden cereal just had to tell kids how great the product tasted. Add in the toy at the bottom of every box, and the product would literally fly off grocery store shelves.
Today’s marketers are facing a new generation of savvy youth who have grown up not only plugged into technology, but questioning the status quo. As the so-called Plurals come of age in the next few years we need to develop marketing strategies that maximize on their unique ability to assimilate information while at the same time recognizing these young people are the generation least likely to believe in the American Dream.
Make Information Easy to Access
Content marketing works best by providing people with the information they need to choose a quality product that gets the job done. Good content turns a casual visitor into a customer, and a customer into a repeat buyer.
The Pluralist generation is adept at gathering and assimilating knowledge. They are the first people in history to have grown up never knowing a time before computers, cell phones and the internet.
Being wired from birth also means this generation has never known a time when information wasn’t readily available at the click of a button. They want information, and they want it now. Plurals value speed over accuracy of data, and they prefer to consume information in small doses. So keep content brief and to the point; don’t bury the lead. And be sure your content is accessible, especially on mobile devices.
Talk to Customers, Not at Them
Creating good content is an art often compared to storytelling. And that’s exactly what Plurals are looking for. They have grown up with social media and are looking for an interactive, “lean-forward” experience.
They want to hear stories built on personal experience, and they want to be involved in an ongoing flow of creativity and communication that almost spawns a culture around a brand.
Word of mouth advertising will rise up from a fulfilling conversation that prompts them to try a product, and they will tell all their friends like no generation before them. Think of the 1970s shampoo commercial suggesting customers “tell two friends” – only better!
Appeal to Social Conscience
If Plurals are the first to grow up wired, they are also the first to be nurtured by parents and teachers who encourage them to think critically about society. They cut their teeth on lessons that taught environmental awareness and inclusion. They live in a world that concerns itself with bullying, child poverty, AIDS, and the fate of LGBT teens. Social justice is something these young people live every day, and not just an abstract ideal to strive for.
Take a hard look at your business, and be prepared to be challenged if its practices don’t fall in line with the Pluralist morality. These people will pay more for a guilt-free product – and they’ll avoid you like the plague if they question your business ethics.
Play up changes you make to increase diversity in your company. Highlight fair trade and environmentally friendly products. When someone in your company overcomes great obstacles, share their story. This human content is perhaps more valuable to your marketing strategy than producing content about the product itself. It’s part of that ongoing story, that conversation that will draw the Pluralist generation in and make them loyal to your brand.