By Scott Mitchell

Millennials – they were media and marketers’ favourite generation to talk about in the early 2010s; however, with the Gen Z population growing up and developing their own unique characteristics, millennials can sometimes be overlooked.

Despite the shiny appeal of the up-and-coming Gen Zs, now is the time to service your millennial audience as they account for the largest share of the working-age population and will one day overcome boomers in spending power.

By establishing an understanding of this audience’s priorities and behaviours, brands can effectively target millennial consumers and foster brand loyalty for years to come.

Millennials on the move: motivations and patterns

Understanding what drives a population is key to properly engaging with them. Recent headlines have prompted many discussions around what drives millennials, including the future of work, retirement and of course, the ongoing impacts of inflation. These concerns not only impact their spending habits but also their day-to-day patterns, which should in turn inform marketing efforts.

Jokes aside about the “lazy and entitled” millennials — research has found that younger generations, such as millennials, are more educated and diverse than their predecessors — they are also earning more money than baby boomers and Gen X-ers did at the same age. Why does this matter? Remember, millennials also make up the majority share of the working-age population — making them an extremely important audience to win over.

Further, studies have found that millennials are the most loyal generation, with around 50 percent saying they are extremely loyal or quite loyal to their favourite brands. On one hand, this is great, there is an opportunity to foster long-standing loyal customers. On the flip side, 50 percent of the population is also potentially primed to shift, meaning brands need to be consistently updating and catering marketing efforts to maintain their customer base.

So…what’s the best approach for targeting?

Similarly to other generations, authenticity and contextually relevant messaging should be a priority for brands looking to better engage with millennials. Especially in today’s current economic climate, Canadians may relate better to ads with price-conscious messaging. As data continues to drive audience targeting, brands have been able to execute more sophisticated marketing campaigns with advanced programmatic advertising capabilities including automation, privacy-safe data tactics, measurement solutions and cross-channel retargeting. Keeping that in mind, there are a few digital out-of-home (DOOH) tactics that are standouts for engaging with the millennial population.

Mobile extension and proximity targeting

It is probably no surprise that 9 out of 10 millennials have a smartphone or that Canadian millennials use mobile to navigate nearly every aspect of their lives, from instant messaging to online shopping. With that, DOOH and mobile extensions can be powerful in reaching mass on-the-go audiences as they move throughout the day.

Proximity targeting is a key approach for brands working to gain market share and/or drive in-store purchases from nearby consumers. Geofencing the locations — whether that be brick-and-mortar locations, competitor locations, etc. — enables marketers to re-engage audiences surrounding priority points of interest (POIs) on their mobile devices.

This approach can build additional touchpoints with target individuals who are likely to have already seen the ad. This extends the reach of a campaign while driving home a call-to-action that guides consumers through the purchase funnel.

Personalization with dynamic creative

As ad tech evolves, so do the expectations of consumers. More and more, consumers are not only enjoying but expecting to receive personalized ads. In fact, millennial brand loyalty increases by 28 percent if they receive personalized communication. How can marketers achieve this? Dynamic creative optimization leverages data to inform specific elements and triggers, which can unlock a new way of engaging with customers.

These capabilities enable brands to serve the most relevant ad content to DOOH viewers with no manual work or creative variations required. These activations can range from directions to a store to limited-time offers — all with a focus on hyper-relevant and localized messaging.

Evaluating successes to direct future campaigns

It is critical to set KPIs at the beginning of a campaign to measure its successes following the flight. By evaluating this data, and assessing which approach performed best, brands will have a guidepost for how they can pivot creative and tactics in future millennial-focused campaigns.

Taking the time to understand audience behaviours and leveraging the DOOH capabilities outlined here will enable marketers to create robust omnichannel strategies and enhance brand awareness, purchase intent and/or foot traffic with the millennial population.

Scott Mitchell is the managing director, Canada of Vistar Media. They have built a complete end-to-end programmatic ecosystem to enable data-driven, automated, and measurable DOOH transactions.

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Lloydmedia, Inc is based in Markham, Ontario, Canada, and is a multi-platform media company which delivers a total audience of more than 100,000 readers across four national magazines, three industry directories, and a range of events and online marketing.