Millennial's R3

Marketing to Millennials is not a Zero-Sum Game

January 19, 2019

Marketing to Millennials is not a Zero-Sum Game

Hunting brands can produce content that appeals to baby boomers, Generation X and millennials all in one campaign.

Somewhere along the road many marketing teams inside the hunting industry felt as if they had to choose between marketing to millennials and alienating a traditional base and therefore just ignoring the trend of increasing millennial numbers. That zero-sum attitude has been built upon perception rather than reality or facts.

I often joke that people think marketing to millennials means metal music, outlandish situations and a whole suite of stereotypes that are so far off the mark that it is, well, entertaining. Research shows some staunchly different facts.

Things that matter to this generation? Millennials want authentic stories, meaningful engagement, and above all, an experience. The fact that Goldman-Sachs has coined millennials as the generation of “experiences” shows how in line they actually are with the concept of hunting — an experience-driven activity. And the hunting industry holds the tickets to the theme park . . .

Let’s also lay to rest the standard misinformation. Millennials spend more money than any other generation, they read more than any other generation, and studies show they are less likely to fall for misinformation . . .

I could write books on this, but this article is meant to show you how marketing to millennials is not a zero-sum game. You can in fact get to your classic base and millennials at the same time. So we are going to take on a practical exercise to show just what I mean.

A practical exercise on marketing with film

Watch the film below. You do not have to finish it but get the feeling, the vibe. Think about the subject and think about your traditional audience. Would this film appeal to them? Would they like this film?

I think most of you would have said that this would appeal to their classic demographics. Maybe the subject (bird hunting) is not as popular if big game is your normal vibe, but you get the point.

What do you think millennials would think?

Turns out millennials also like this film. It meets the requirements that millennials seek. First it is authentic, the cornerstone of millennial marketing. It is not staged, “hosted” or watered down. It is also of high “production” value or as we say, artistically relevant. Millennials do not care how old you are — they care how genuine you are and how well put together and entertaining the work is. So we just marketed to both millennials and baby boomers in one fell swoop . . .

Let’s change the exercise now. Think of the same things as before, your classic audience and their response to the following film. Let yourself be in the shoes of a potential customer, just be a hunter for a moment.

Now I bet you did not feel much different than your experience with the first film. Maybe duck hunting resonated with you more or maybe woodcock hunting did. That is what we would call a personal connection and shows the value in diversity of content over long campaigns. But the point is that baby boomers will love this film as fast as a millennial. And as you saw, the film subjects are millennials.

Ultimately, what we wanted to show here is that you can in fact get to baby boomers, Generation X and millennials all in one campaign. You just need to understand the formula that satisfies them all. And that formula tends to be much different than past marketing campaign and traditional venues.

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