5 Things About Millennials Every Radio Broadcaster (and Sales Team) Should Know

By Sean Pollock

Crowned as the largest and most elusive generation, Generation Y is at the center of the marketing change swirling around us. And yet, what do we know about these consumers? What makes them tick? How can we reach and resonate with today’s Millennial?

Nearly every business in every category is re-examining everything from philanthropic initiatives to media mix in an effort to command attention and consideration from this unique audience. As media consumption fragments, new pure-play entrants also vie for the seconds, minutes, and, sometimes, hours Millennials will give them.

Radio is no stranger to this challenge. We’ve all confronted Millennials, and we’ve found five fundamental truths about what it takes to appeal to them on their terms.

1) Remember: They’re not homogenous

Millennials were born between 1980 and 2000. When you consider their life stages, you find significant differences – from the high-schooler living with his parents, to the married homeowner with children. With each life stage, their income, the importance of products and services, cultural references, artists, events, and so on, change rapidly. However, advertisers often take a one-sided view of the entire generation. And all too often, it’s the negative side – debt-ridden, lazy, narcissistic… you get the idea.

How can you get out of that homogeneous rut to assess your consumer by life stage? Help your clients paint the picture of their customer through multiple points of view from the customer’s perspective. Describe the primary, secondary, and tertiary customers. What’s their motivation? Favorite activity? Job title? Be honest and thorough. It can be a combination of an ideal and prospective customer, but remember who’s paying their bills today. More clearly defining a specific Millennial consumer will give way to more purposeful discussions around the most effective integrated media activities.

2) Always be integrated

If you’re not using integrated media, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

An integrated approach is not a sales thing, or a programming thing — it’s both. Across channels, Millennial media usage is more and more fragmented. Radio, social, tablets, mobile, VOD, apps, streaming, video gaming, TV… It’s exhausting to keep tabs on all the new places they’re tapping into for news, info, and entertainment!

Interacting and engaging with listeners through all their touch points is key to maintaining and growing your audience – on-air, text, phones, social, website, events – everywhere. They’re a social generation and expect that you’ll respond in near real-time.

To maximize the reach and frequency for clients’ messages, we need to meet listeners with that message in the multiple touch points where they choose to interact with us — and do it in a way that complements their experience.

3) Commit to your position

Own it, and have it ride shotgun as you make decisions. You can’t be everything to everyone, so be something specific, and be great at it. Millennials are so multi-tasked-out that their brains have little time to decipher a bunch of messages.

4) Be authentic

Millennials have access to all the information right at their thumbs, and it takes just a few clicks to uncover the truth behind any message. And the peer-to-peer influence will bury you if you try to be something you’re not, or try too hard to be “cool.” So commit to your unique position. Be real, be relevant, and deliver the facts. Inform, educate, and entertain.

Advertisers who want to be seen as truly authentic among Millennials should sponsor a live music event. AEG & Momentum Worldwide studies have shown that a majority of Millennials perceive brands as more authentic when sponsoring a live music experience.

5) Play to generation music

Everyone loves music and live events, right?! But do other generations love it more than Millennials? Research from Eventbrite and others says no – in fact, three out of four Millennials would rather spend money on experiences than things. Millennials are voracious music followers, leading the pack in listening time. And music discovery is paramount in amplifying their existence, both identifying them and allowing them to fit in.

Couple that love of music with the social capital and personal value of unique experiences, and you have a recipe for breeding deep emotional connections. A recent Eventbrite study found that 75 percent of young people say they value experiences over things. And for most of these experiential events, FOMO (fear of missing out) is real.

Find ways to bring your listeners and clients together in unique music experiences, and you can be a bridge to lasting relationships.

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