One of the biggest fears of a GenYer is to lead a boring life. Bring in your toolbox to keep it exciting and use your top consumers to spread the word. But be aware, you can’t just expect them to swallow every message. Do you really tap into their minds? How can you really engage them?
The engagement toolbox is step 3 in our 5 step plan for marketers to improve your marketing to the demanding Gen Y customers (based on interviews with 21 global marketing executives, such as Converse, Heineken, Abercrombie & Fitch, Reckitt & Benckiser and many more).
You probably have some true brand lovers. Those consumers are crazy about your product, love to talk about it and share their experiences with others. So why not connect with your top users and engage them to engage others?
“It’s not only about selling stuff to them, it’s about getting into a relevant conversation with them related to their interests in daily life and get involved. For instance: eBay’s spring&summer fashion campaign in the UK ( #mymix). We had a meeting with the 20 most influential fashion bloggers and through a Twitter party everyone could connect, ask questions and make live comments. Three bloggers created their own style with eBay items -and became a model of their own look! It’s an example of how we engage with our clients through different channels.” Clelia Morales, Head of Social Media & PR eBay EU
Ok, so now you’ve involved your top users. How can you now engage with consumers? Look in the toolbox and choose an engagement technique.
Consumers are no longer waiting for an invitation to co-create brands. They are building their own brands with other consumers, involving your brand whether invited or not, and expecting their influence to be rewarded. So it is not a question of incorporating co-creation or not, it is a question of how far you want to go.
Co-creation is evolving more towards collaboration. The pragmatic, eclectic and bold GenYer wants to have a say in the products he uses. How should you facilitate this? Create a platform where they can share their thoughts and ideas. Act upon these thoughts and involve them in the early stages of the creation process.
Surprising your consumers is the best way to give them a shake and make sure they stay focused. A surprise can be anything: send them a birthday card, post a video that nobody has ever seen before, show up unexpectedly at an event… As long as it is relevant (see previous chapter) and you don’t stalk them, they’ll love it:
“When the product is good, people want to be part of it, share movies and pictures on YouTube and Facebook and start the campaign for you. And we have of course numerous deejays from all around the world who have their own blogs or webpages and fans and they are the ambassadors of our event too. And we try to surprise them, like for instance the people flying in from Barcelona, experienced a party flight with deejays and dancers. They will talk about that.” Christophe Van den Brande, Marketing & Creative Manager Tommorowland
Do not underestimate the power of stories. Tell a story about yourself, let your consumers share stories about their personal life, or even better: combine both. People want something to talk about. What kind of stories? Cool, real, unique, personal and emotional stories!
Games are engaging, no question about that. The problem is: everyone is doing it already. So how can you stay relevant and stand out in the crowd? First of all: link it to your product and try to make it cool, real, unique and relevant. Second: don’t make it too difficult so your consumers can still feel good about themselves. Most of the time they are playing for attention and achievement. And last: don’t forget to leverage on the social potential: your target group probably has a wide social network. Try to engage your gamers to activate that network as well!
“To develop the new cap of the Heinz bottle we used some gamification elements. For instance the first 57 visitors of a new website to develop a new cap were invited to share their ideas. (57 refers to the 57 varieties of Heinz also mentioned on the bottle). They could create their own content and share it with their friends. It really worked and we found out that mire young people participated because of these gamification elements.”Mariken Kimmels, Marketing Director Heinz Continental