There is no doubt that millennials have impacted the way brands market to their customers.
Millennials have been part of the driving force that has required brands to become active participants in social media and content marketing online. In fact, brand social media marketing budgets have increased from 3.5% of overall marketing budgets in 2009 to 11.7% this year, according to CMO Survey.
But money can’t always solve problems.
Sure millennials have grown up with social media and they certainly consume a majority of their content online, so how can brands and older generations keep up with the demands of these digital marketing channels? How can brands excel online through a millennial digital mindset?
Not only can they, they absolutely must!
I’m going to share with you an email I received last week that inspired this blog post. I often receive messages similar to this from executives and entrepreneurs that are struggling to keep up with the fast paced evolution of social media, content and digital marketing.
Let’s see if you or your company can relate.
A Cry For Help
I was recently introduced to your blog and your posts have been so incredibly helpful for me. I’ve been in middle management of a marketing department for a large company for almost 20 years but have stumbled while navigating my way through this new social media-driven world.
The past few years have been like a tornado of change within the marketing team at our organization. My department’s budget has seen continuous cuts amidst increased demands for results but my problem is this:
My superior is coming down on me for a detailed report and plan of attack for marketing to millennials with a MAJOR focus on social media. I’m 54 years old…I have VERY limited knowledge beyond my personal Facebook use and I’m honestly not sure (and terrified) that I can’t keep up with the younger, social media savvy employees that the company has been hiring as of late.
Any insight or guidance you can provide as an expert is truly appreciated. I need to know I’m not the only boomer in the marketing world that’s struggling with this. I’m too young to retire and really love what I do.
Thanks in advance,
Boomer With No More Boom
Do You Have A Millennial Problem?
Many brands are not unlike our Baby Boomer above, in that they are struggling to go beyond a digital presence and move towards knowledge and real results. The challenge that brands and executives have is to achieve measurable revenue improvement with their social media and digital marketing in an increasingly millennial mindset of our digital age.
Here are some of the critical questions we ask brands about their digital marketing:
How can your brand move beyond the massive noise, complexity and challenges that are digital marketing today?
How is your brand ensuring that your team has the knowledge they need to be effective?
Does your brand know what you don’t know about digital marketing today?
How is your brand culture contributing to a millennial digital mindset that can achieve social media and content marketing results?
The fact is that MOST brands struggle to answer these and other questions when we really dig into their current social media marketing, content and digital marketing execution. Most brands are simply executing task oriented functions across multiple departments, beliefs and mindsets.
Most brands lack unity within their organization that is based on a clear strategy that has been forged through exhaustive research, data and information. Most brands are struggling exactly as our Baby Boomer above is.
Do You Know The Digital Marketing Facts?
First of all, brands and marketing professionals of all ages and digital marketing experience must acknowledge the facts surrounding social media and content marketing, in order to truly understand what they are dealing with. I want to cover just a few of the top level stats that you need to know.
- In the U.S. alone, a huge 78% of adults have a social media account, which represents a 5% increase in just the last year.
- According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2C brands spend 32% of their total marketing budget on content marketing, while B2B brands are spending 25%.
- Additionally, more than 50% of both B2C and B2B brands say they will be increasing their content marketing budgets next year.
These important facts are showing you that social media marketing and content marketing are neither fads, nor going away. These key marketing statistics should be putting your brand and team on notice, with an expectation and requirement that their digital marketing game must elevate in order to compete at the highest levels online. Your brand must become as comfortable and capable with marketing strategy and execution as the millennial is with our digital world.
The comparisons are stunning, yet true!
It’s All Summed Up As Digital Transformation
Whether it’s you personally or your brand, this transition to an effective digital marketing presence is summed up as digital transformation. Digital transformation is the process that moves your brand from dabbling in digital marketing to a brand that understands and executes across digital marketing channels as second nature, just as millennials use social media and content consumption as their norm.
It’s my opinion that millennials aren’t necessarily gifted social media marketers as much as they are not tainted by the memory of the way things used to be. The name of the game in marketing is change and you have to either learn to adapt or get left behind. The advantage that the millennial has over you and your brand is that they grew up with the smart phone, the internet and reading online, therefore these things are not at all foreign to them.
Making The Millennial Digital Transformation Within Your Brand
For your brand to transition into an effective digital marketing machine, there must be a framework that moves mindset, methodology and the mastery of specific skill sets within your organization. This transitional framework embodies the data, expertise and experience required to make your brand’s social media marketing, content marketing and integrated digital marketing authentic, effective and most importantly work together as a cohesive unit.
When we work with a brand to help them digitally transform, we implement our M3 marketing framework with their executive and marketing teams, both individually and together. Let me outline what has to happen through each of the three M3 framework steps, as well as detail some of the processes within each step that brand’s need to embrace in order to digitally transform marketing success.
The M3 Digital Marketing Framework
First and foremost, all stakeholders within an organization must be committed to truly understanding the digital space. This involves a commitment to throwing out their old conceptions about the internet, social media, content marketing and even smartphones and selfies. By getting rid of outdated notions of technology and marketing, the team can then absorb and understand the facts and statistics that will change their mindset on these issues.
The digital mindset portion of the M3 framework, replaces the previous notions about digital marketing with actual facts. The information we go over with our brand clients ensures that the mindset they have is based on real data surrounding key digital marketing channels such as social media and content marketing, as well as industry specific data and specifics that impact their niche.
The key with mindset transformation is education. Your team must be educated on what social media marketing, content marketing and integrated digital marketing actually are. Not just from a high level, but all the way down to ground level detail that goes beyond conception, to deep understanding.
Forward momentum cannot work from different beliefs or perceptions across your organization, but rather a unified mindset must be created through facts, data and education.
The digital mindset we help our brand clients create within their company is focused on answering the “what” questions. Here are just a few of the questions that we address during the mindset shift portion of the M3 framework.
What is social media marketing?
What can social media marketing achieve?
What is content marketing?
Without the proper digital mindset, a brand cannot be effective with their digital transformation, let alone their digital marketing execution. Only through comprehensive and detailed education can a brand transform their existing mindset into one that has understanding. From that understanding mindsets are shifted.
Your team needs to know what they don’t know through data, and then unlearn what they thought they knew previously. This segment of the M3 framework accomplishes a unified digital mindset shift.
The digital methodology step of the M3 framework focuses on the next layer of a millennial digital marketing mindset. The methodology step is all about the questions that surround the why of your brand, your marketing and your customer, then using the answers to create a comprehensive strategic roadmap.
For example, every team member should be able to understand the methodology that your company has surrounding these and many other questions:
Why does your brand do what it does?
Why do you customers need what you do?
Why do your customers go online?
By helping our clients answer these and many other why questions about their brand, their products and their customers, we can then help them build a methodology that supports their digital marketing and social media efforts that comes from actual knowledge, not fear.
Fear based decisions can quickly become detrimental to your social media presence. The need to “do a big push” for your product or service of choice can’t outweigh the importance of putting quality content that serves your customers even though sales are ultimately your goal.
I get it. You want sales. Your boss wants sales. I want sales too. The fact is that you won’t have a worthwhile opportunity to sell if you’re publishing multiple promotional posts a day across your social channels before building trust with your audience through providing value.
Therefore, the methodology behind what you are doing within your social media and content marketing must be correct, or everything else you do could actually be detrimental.
As an example of just a portion of the methodology process we go through with our brand clients, here is something that I’ve created called the 3-C approach, which is designed to ensure social media success:
- Connect. Make sure you’re on the social networks your ideal clients prefer and have an engagement strategy to reach them.
- Community. Engagement is important but building an engaged community takes persistence and effort. Being interesting with relevant content is the kind of bait that keeps your followers coming back so you have the chance to promote when you have something to sell.
- Capitalize. Turn your community into brand evangelists and align with influencers that have established audiences to capitalize on what they’ve built to get a head start on your own efforts.
As a further example, a deeper layer of the Capitalize component of the 3-C approach that falls within the methodology step of the M3 marketing framework is detailing influencer marketing opportunities and the important components and methods required to make it effective. As just one of the methodology elements we work on with our clients, influencer marketing can be highly effective IF the correct methods are used.
As an example of how we flesh out methodology with our brand clients, I am detailing three types of influencers that we help our clients focus on during the 3-C approach.
Three Key Types of Influencers
- The first type of influencer is your existing customers that love your brand and what you offer. Sometimes, some of these customers are already brand evangelists and share your content and sing your praises. Be sure that you are taking extremely good care of them and even occasionally do special things for them. They already love you, make them love you more. They will share it with everyone in their community.
82% of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase (Source). A recommendation from a close friend or family member is up to 50x more likely to trigger a purchase than lower-impact marketing techniques (Source).
- Another important influencer type is people that you can build relationships with over time. While you’re growing your own audience on social media and through content marketing, it’s important to align with relevant influencers that already have established communities that are made up of the people that you are trying to reach. These are people that share a similar audience to you but are not in competition with you. Building relationships with these kind of influencers can be the key to them sharing your message and content with their community.
92% of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands (Source). Pairing with the right influencers for your brand can be one of the most cost effective ways to accelerate your following.
- The third type of influencer is those that barely existed five years ago but today they are an online celebrity. We’ve seen so many new influencers over the last several years. They have a huge following on Twitter or Instagram or maybe they’ve become a YouTube Star. These people have audiences that love them and trust them, if they were to recommend your brand or product, you will see immediate interest from their fans.
As a part of a digital marketing methodology that includes detailed strategies, influencer marketing can be ONE key component. However, your brand must develop a multi-channel strategy using methodologies that are cohesive and provide what your customers and your potential influencers want and need.
A single method or methods that are not connected to one another will negatively impact your marketing results. We work with our brand clients during the methodology process to establish the channels and methodology that work together to drive results.
From a foundation of a solid digital marketing methodology, we can move to a more tactical and executional mastery of skillset transformation that enables your brand to actually be effective through real defined activities. When a brand makes the commitment to transform their digital marketing through a mindset shift, followed by the creation of knowledge based methodology, they now need to master the skills needed to execute it. That is, acquiring the skills required to effectively utilize the mindset and methodology that has been transformed.
The digital mastery segment of the M3 framework is one of our favorite steps because it allows us to work directly with our client team members in both group and one-on-one sessions. We use the work that was done within the Mindset and Methodology stages to build a detailed skill set requirement list. This list tells us the key areas that your company needs to improve skills, and we then train your team on those skills at a mastery level.
The Digital Marketing Solution
If your company is worried about the pace, strategy and results of your social media and digital marketing growth, you have good reason to be. The complexities of marketing in the age of millennials who never knew life without the internet are vast and change daily.
The good news is that we have created a framework and process that will ensure your company has the proper digital mindset, with methodology that will produce clear strategies that work together synergistically. And finally, we bring them together to help your team master the skills required to execute it with results.
Are you completely overwhelmed with transforming your company and its marketing? Email me and we will set up a time to discuss how the M3 framework can bring digital marketing transformation to your brand.