Tailoring Your Marketing Messages to Gen Y and Gen Z Consumers

Generation Y has been the apple of every marketer’s eye with 73 million strong, and spend a collective of $600 billion annually in the U.S. Now this group has another generation at their heels, Generation Z. And it is crucial for marketers to hone their strategy for communication with both of these generations.

Generation Y, or better known as Millennials, has been the apple of every marketer’s eye with 73 million strong, and spend a collective of $600 billion annually in the U.S. Now this group who is 24 to 39 years in age and a formidable force across all consumer markets, has another generation at their heels, Generation Z. And it is crucial for marketers to hone their strategy for communication with both Gen Y and Gen Z consumers.

As marketers continue developing and refining their Millennial-targeting strategies, they are now shifting their focus to Gen Z. This group of anyone 23 and younger is now coming to financial maturity, and consists of a massive and influential cohort made up of 65 million individuals. According to Gen Z Insights, as of 2020, this generation makes up 40% of all consumers in the U.S.

This youngest generation will soon outnumber the Millennials, and graduate from allowance-based buying power, bringing their own likes, dislikes, and opinions with them. But if there’s one thing that marketers should know about both Gen Y and Gen Z, it’s this: Don’t assume these are just huge, homogeneous groups who will respond to generic marketing messages.

The Millennial who turns 40 next year, for example, will have decidedly different media consumption and buying habits than, say, a 25-year-old who is just beginning to sort out life’s intricacies. Geography, gender, education level, income, and other individual attributes all have to be factored into the equation when targeting these broad, generational segments. Skip this step and you could find yourself wasting money, time, and energy chasing down way too large of a potential customer segment.

Apple, Xerox, and Nike have all found innovative ways to carve out specific niches within the larger context of both Gen Y and Gen Z. According to YPulse’s latest “youth brand tracker,” for example, YouTube, Nike, and Snapchat are the top three “top cool brands” for Gen Z, while Nike, Netflix, and Savage x Fenty claim the top spots for Gen Y.

Let’s dive into exploring generational segments, identifying some incorrect assumptions marketers make when tailoring their messages to Gen Y and Z, and highlighting some of the most effective platforms for getting messaging across to the nation’s two youngest generations.

Effective Platforms for Messaging Gen Y and Gen Z

Here are the main platforms that marketers use to deliver very targeted messages to Gen Y and Gen Z:

Connected TVs and Devices. This includes any TV or device that’s connected to the Internet and allows users to access content beyond what’s being shown on screen at the time. Connected advertising is an extension of the traditional TV buy that complements a brand’s existing presence on a specific platform. The connected nature of this medium allows companies to measure their reach and frequency across all devices, drill down into specific audience segments (i.e., iPhone users between a certain age range) and gain insights across the full customer journey.

Instagram. Not limited to celebrities who upload their well-posed vacation photos to the platform, Instagram’s photo-and video-sharing social network is actively used by nearly three-quarters (73%) of Gen Z adults (ages 18 to 23 years old). This presents a major opportunity for marketers who want to get their products in front of these young consumers, and who start forming bonds and creating brand awareness with these young adults early in their lives.

TikTok. A social media app where Gen Z vies for 15 seconds of fame on the small screen, TikTok is the fastest-growing social media app, with about 500 million regular users. Users post 15-second videos on the app, which is estimated to have been downloaded more than a billion times on app stores. Marketers can use TikTok to create a channel for their brands and then use it to upload relevant, engaging videos. They can also tap into the platform’s large “influencer” base and leverage it to expose their content to a broad, yet well-targeted, audience of Gen Z consumers.

YouTube. This well-established video-sharing platform has 2 billion users who log in on a monthly basis, including the 81% of American 15 to 25 years old. Among 18 to 34 year-olds, the platform is the second most-preferred platform for watching video on TV screens. With people uploading 500 hours of video every minute, the platform is pretty cluttered. Standing out and growing a YouTube channel requires a targeted approach that includes a unique channel name, a good viewing experience across all devices, calls to action (i.e., to subscribe, share videos, etc.), and incorporating the channel into emails, blog posts, and other social media posts to improve its ability to be discovered.

SnapChat. With 51% of Gen Zers viewing their generation as more creative than any of its predecessors, social apps like SnapChat give them the space they need to be creative in the digital world. They use it to create videos, share images, communicate with friends, and share moments throughout their days. Marketers can harness this platform to post their stories, push out user-generated content, and connect with influencers. For example, Taco Bell was an early SnapChat user that leveraged the platform’s storytelling capabilities to spread the word about new products.

Additional Social Media Channels. As a whole, social media has opened the doors for marketers who can creatively use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr to connect with their audiences, build their brands, drive website traffic, and grow their sales. Because each platform has its own mission, goals, and user base, the companies experiencing the most success on social media are the ones that take the time to segment their audiences and use very specific targeting strategies for those consumers.

The Power of TV and Mail

In the rush to select platforms that they think Gen Y and Z naturally gravitate toward, marketers often overlook the power of TV, direct mail, and other mainstays. They wrongly assume that these channels don’t work with younger audiences, but they shouldn’t be overlooked.

In a world where Nielsen says U.S. consumers spend nearly 12 hours daily across TV, TV-connected devices, radio, computers, smartphones, and tablets, the opportunity to engage the younger generations from different angles definitely exists.

Americans aged 18 to 34 watch a daily average of just under two hours of traditional TV and spend an additional hour per day using apps and the web. Consumers aged 12 to 17 watch about an hour and a half of TV daily. Craving personalized, non-digital experiences, younger generations spend about 9.7 minutes reading mail daily (versus about 8 minutes for both Gen X baby boomers).

These numbers translate into real opportunities for marketers that take the time to segment their audiences versus just lumping them into different generational groups. Where you still need a presence on mass platforms like TikTok and Instagram, for example, the messaging itself must be customized, targeted, and experiential.

Not Just Another Number

Marketers who overlook traditional platforms just because they assume Gen Z or Gen Y can only be reached on pure digital platforms are setting themselves up for failure. That’s because both generations are obviously still digesting video content, movies, and TV series via cable, a connected TV device, or on a platform like YouTube.

Target your audience properly, customize it for that consumer group, sell that group an experience (not the product itself), and you’ll come out a winner.

Regardless of which platforms you’re using, remember that Gen Z and Gen Y aren’t cohesive, homogeneous groups. As you use geotargeting and other strategies to segment your audience, be sure to personalize your messages in a way that makes your customer feel like a VIP — and not just another number.

 

 

 

 

More Than Words: Visual Content Marketing Beyond Copy

Content marketing is about conveying ideas. Many of us rely almost exclusively on the written word to do the conveying for us even though, for most audiences, a picture really is worth a thousand words. So let’s look at some of the ways we can turn our content into visual content marketing.

Content marketing is about conveying ideas. Many of us rely almost exclusively on the written word to do the conveying for us even though, for most audiences, a picture really is worth a thousand words. So let’s look at some of the ways we can turn our content into visual content marketing.

Clearly, writing is always going to be a part of the process – movies have scripts, cartoons have captions, and so on. But they also have visuals. And those visuals can make all the difference in your ability to capture attention, generate leads, and win business.

Video in Content Marketing

YouTube isn’t the second largest search engine in the world for nothing.

Video adds personality to just about any subject. (Who thought blenders or razors could have personality, and yet those videos were wildly well received.)

What’s interesting here is that even though I can read copy in my head more quickly than a person (on video or not) is likely to read it aloud, the video adds another dimension to the learning experience that makes it more complete. That is, of course, as long as your on-screen talent has some, well, talent, or at least the impossible-to-define quality of being “watchable.”

Many marketers shy away from video because they perceive the cost for high-quality production to be prohibitive. But production values don’t have to be award-worthy. You simply have to connect with your audience. Grainy visuals and inaudible voice-over aren’t going to cut it, but beyond that, the bar is probably lower than you’d think.

Still, short of having a Hollywood hunk or starlet on screen, you’ll probably want to use cut-away shots that illustrate or otherwise support the points you’re making and break up the visual monotony of a talking head. If you can’t create that kind of support material, keep your videos very, very short.

Infographics as Visual Content Marketing

I didn’t select that YouTube link above for nothing … it is, of course, an infographic.

They’re certainly not new, but the are a great way to pack a lot of bite-sized nuggets of knowledge into one larger but still digestible package. Infographics cut out the fluff and focus only on the most essential data points, but they’re much more interesting than slide deck-style bullet points. They provide a visual version of the executive summary, and that’s why people love them.

They don’t always work well for more nuanced content or content that requires more detailed consideration, but even in those cases, infographics can be an excellent gateway to content that offers a deeper dive into a subject.

Animation as Visual Content Marketing

For most marketers, and in most situations, animation is the most expensive option for visual content marketing. So unless you have an animator on your team, you’ll likely reserve it for only the most crucial marketing messages or those situations where you’re confident you can make a big splash. Animation excels at explaining complex processes clearly, particularly mechanical and industrial processes where it’s what’s going on inside the machines that is of interest and a real-world exploded view just isn’t possible.

Unlike video, where audiences are likely to be more forgiving of lower production values, audiences tend to be less forgiving of bad animation. Think of the groans you’ve stifled when looking at poorly executed “animation” effects in Powerpoint and other presentation tools.

Charts and Graphs

Charts and graphs are the bread and butter of your visual content marketing arsenal. They can be incredibly quick to produce if you have basic spreadsheet or presentation tool skills and can relatively quickly be dressed up by even less experienced graphic artists. Use these liberally and build them with an eye toward social media use and email embedding. They can be a real game changer assuming you have some interesting data to present.

Conceptual Imagery

Think of every television commercial or print ad that has made you say, “What does ________ have to do with selling ________?” That’s conceptual imagery.

Floating Lotus Flower

You can insert just about anything into those blanks and wind up with something very close to a recent real-life example:

What does a field of wildflowers have to do with selling prescription drugs?

What does an impossibly diverse and hip-looking group of people have to do with selling computers?

The answer to those questions, and questions like them in advertising for everything from cars to cloud services to consulting firms: Emotion matters.

If you can make use of it, you should, though you really have to feel that your design team is up to the task and your marketing team can guide them appropriately. It’s far easier to wind up looking amateurish here than with just about any other type of visual we’ve discussed.

Your audience doesn’t necessarily have the same expectations of a small tax consultancy, say, as it does of a national consumer brand, and they also won’t expect the same production values in a product-specific explainer video as they do for a commercial during the big game. But because conceptual imagery is nearly entirely an emotional appeal, the terrain is less forgiving and you really do need to be sure your content marketing message is connecting emotionally.

That’s no reason not to make your content more visual. You may want to begin with baby steps and test efforts you’re unsure of in front of smaller groups from whom you can get feedback and guidance. They will let you know whether you’re staying true to your brand promise and whether your visuals are a distraction or, as we hope, an element that further strengthens your content marketing message.

Zapping Suggested Videos: The Pesky Gremlins of YouTube

If you post videos on your website that are embedded from YouTube, you ought to pay attention to what happens when your video ends. Unless specified otherwise when you uploaded your video, when your video is finished, YouTube automatically suggests other videos. They might be other videos from your channel (probably a good thing). They might be a competitor’s (not good). Or they might be the type of video you don’t want your company to be associated with (potentially …

If you post videos on your website that are embedded from YouTube, you ought to pay attention to what happens when your video ends. Unless specified otherwise when you uploaded your video, when your video is finished, YouTube automatically suggests other videos. They might be other videos from your channel (probably a good thing). They might be a competitor’s (not good). Or they might be the type of video you don’t want your company to be associated with (potentially horrifying).

So today I share the simple steps to eliminate those pesky suggested videos at the end of your video on YouTube. In my experience, once you’ve changed this setting in your YouTube channel, it sticks for all future uploads; but I check it every time I post a new video to verify.

Step 1: When you’re logged into your YouTube channel, click the “Share” button under the video image.

How to Get Rid of Suggested Videos on YouTube - Step 1Step 2: Click the “Embed” button (see screen grab below)

Step 3: Then click the “Show More” button as shown here:

How to Get Rid of Suggested Videos on YouTube - Step 3Step 4: After clicking “Show More” from Step 3, the page expands. Look and see if the “Show suggested videos when the video finishes” box is checked, as shown in the screen grab below. If it’s checked, uncheck it.

How to Get Rid of Suggested Videos on YouTube - Step 4Step 5: When you uncheck “Show suggested videos when the video finishes,” the embed code will change. Now you’ll see “rel=0&” appear, as indicated in the screen grab below.

How to Get Rid of Suggested Videos on YouTube - Step 5That’s all you have to do.

If you already have video on your website that is showing suggested videos, and you’d like to suppress them, then insert the instruction string, “rel=0&” into the existing embed code. But be very careful that you insert it exactly at the correct point — just before the instruction string, “showinfo=0” and with no spaces.

Or copy the updated embed code with “rel=0&” from YouTube and use it.

By making this change, you won’t lose any views. You’ll simply now show your video without YouTube suggesting other videos at the end.

Gary Hennerberg’s latest book is “Crack the Customer Mind Code: Seven Pathways from Head to Heart to YES!” is available on Amazon. For a free download with more detail about the seven pathways and other copywriting and consulting tips, go to Hennerberg.com.

Absurd Marketing: Does It Work?

I find myself regularly hunting down commercials for either this blog or “What Were They Thinking?” Some are funny. Some are boring. Some are poorly executed and bring out my inner rage demon. And some are examples of perfectly absurd marketing, hooking my attention and dragging me down the rabbit hole of hunting down anything else the marketer has put out.

Absurd Marketing memeI haven’t owned a television in almost seven years (not a hipster brag), and I became a cord cutter six years ago … yet somehow I find myself regularly hunting down commercials for either this blog or “What Were They Thinking?” Some are funny. Some are boring. Some are poorly executed and bring out my inner rage demon.  And some are examples of perfectly absurd marketing, hooking my attention and dragging me down the rabbit hole of hunting down anything else the marketer has put out.

For example, MoneySuperMarket.com, who I profile in an upcoming #WWTTMarketing, struck absurd marketing gold with me. Well, I guess they struck gold twice, because I went to talk about the initial set of ads that I discovered AFTER I came across the sequel (we can talk about that commercial and the surprise 80s super villain next week).

The initial “You’re So MoneySuperMarket” campaign ran from 2015 to 2016, and featured three main characters, Dave (the twerking businessman); Colin (the pole-dancing construction worker); and Gary, (the body-lockin’, booty-poppin’ bodyguard).

https://youtu.be/kUrsvegCkEc

Along with these three over-the-top characters, there are three hashtags: #epicstrut, #epicbuilder, #epicwolf, all of which played into social media, giving viewers the tools to talk about their favorite characters.

And then this happened:

MoneySuperMarket.com brought all three characters together for an Epic Dance off, and yes, hashtagged it like so: #epicdanceoff. Was it ridiculous? Yes. Yes it was.

The ads are absurd, hilarious and you can’t stop watching them … trust me. I showed my boyfriend the bodyguard ad, and we stayed on Youtube to watch the rest of the ads this past weekend.

But I wonder, does all this fantastic creative juice — I mean, c’mon, the commercials are well done — equal bottomline revenue? Does the absurd marketing pay off?

It’s hard to tell with MoneySuperMarket.com. First off, they’re a U.K. comparison website, letting you find the best deal on insurers and such. Aside from discovering that the twerking businessman ad upset a few thousand people, I couldn’t find out if they had seen a jump in usage.

So let me ask you: Would an amusing, ridiculous ad hook you enough to research more about the marketer, and then possibly take the next step to buy?

Note: Videos from The MoneySuperMarket on Youtube are, for some reason, not available in the U.S., so all of these clips are sourced from a variety of YouTubers.

All Aboard the USS Sass-A-Lot

“Good morning, marketers!” If you watch my weekly videos on Friday, that’s usually how I greet you … it’s a pleasant enough way to kick off the video, and a nod to two of my favorite YouTubers — Hank and John Green of the Vlogbrothers. Speaking of which … I have some fun news to announce!

“Good morning, marketers!” If you watch my weekly videos on Friday, that’s usually how I greet you … it’s a pleasant enough way to kick off the video, and a nod to two of my favorite YouTubers — Hank and John Green of the Vlogbrothers.

Two years ago, if you asked me to pitch a video idea, I would shift uncomfortably in my seat and wonder, “What the hell do I have to say about marketing that someone will actually care about?” I would come up with something, deliver the idea clearly on camera, but with the passion of a garden snail.

And it wasn’t for a lack of caring … but I was pushing myself to cover things I thought were fairly important to our audience, and not something I was always interested in. Because that’s how having a job works … right?

No.

Fast forward to May 2016: “What Were They Thinking” is pitched, and in two weeks we go from concept to first video (thanks to an awesome team who stepped up to make it a reality). Now, it wasn’t my best video, but Taylor and I were learning on our feet. And honestly, she’s been nailing it on Every.Single.Video. The girl’s got skills. I’m the weirdo who had to figure out how to tweak my presentation to fit who I wanted to be on camera.

Fast forward, again, to now: I’ve figured out my voice, we’ve managed to film videos that clock in around 3 minutes consistently, and we’ve received a bit of recognition around the office for our work. Oh, and we just launched a channel on YouTube.

That's Great!Yes that’s right friends … we heard you. I had SO MANY people ask me what my YouTube channel was, and I usually had to fumble around with how I wasn’t on THE video platform (and search engine, mind you). But I talked to our team, we came up with a plan, and well, there I am.

Of the 34 videos we’ve filmed since June 3, there are 28 up on YouTube, priming the pump, so to say. And don’t worry, “What Were They Thinking?” will always be available on our site first, shared in the Friday morning e-newsletter and our social channels. The inclusion of YouTube is to address the needs of some current audience members, as well as to grow another audience of sassy marketing nerds.

I came across this quote from Kevin Spacey, and I found it fitting:

For kids growing up now, there’s no difference watching “Avatar” on an iPad or watching YouTube on TV or watching “Game of Thrones” on their computer. It’s all content. It’s just story.

Okay, so I know most of you aren’t kids, and trust me, I am not comparing my videos to “Game of Thrones” … but Spacey is right. It’s all just story, and I’m excited to share marketing stories in a new space.

Sass-A-LotIf YouTube is your jam, check out the Sass Marketing channel, subscribe and see the weekly “What Were They Thinking?” video pop up on Monday mornings! Otherwise, I’ll see you all on Friday!

Special thanks to John Gelety for sharing Phil Hartman’s “Sassy” sketch with me. I just couldn’t NOT include it. (Also John, I’m still waiting on that “Sassy” sign … juuuuuust sayin’.)

A Viral Success Recipe: Unicorns, Ice Cream and Poop Jokes

What do you get when you mix an adorable unicorn, a saucy prince, poop jokes galore and YouTube? A viral marketing success story, that, while seeming unachievable, still provides important lessons for all marketers. And c’mon … don’t you want a good laugh before the stress of the holiday hits later this week?

By now, you’re probably familiar with the Squatty Potty, the personal elimination improvement device for bathrooms. You know, the stool for better stools (their words, not mine!), which had sales skyrocket following the decision to take a risk, go against suggestions from investors and work with the Harmon Brothers to make a video that went so viral it’s earned over 28.2 million views.

If you haven’t seen the video, which launched in October 2015, watch it above — that is, if you can handle bathroom humor mixed with ice cream innuendos and adorable unicorns.

But the more important video — in my opinion — is the one below, which I found this past weekend while cruising YouTube. It’s about the risk the founders took when teaming up with the Harmon Brothers to do the video. You see some of the founders honestly saying they didn’t get the concept and vision, and being doubtful, then later realizing there was something to using humor to educate an audience.

If you don’t have 4 minutes to watch (seriously though, make the time), here are some of the highlights:

• Despite being on Season 6 of Shark Tank, nothing up until the video — which went viral — had boosted sales the way the unicorn did.

• According to Co-founded Bill Edwards, the first month after the video launched, online sales of Squatty Potty increased 250 percent, clearly outperforming the product’s time on primetime TV.

• The screenshot below from the video shows sales in both the online and retail spaces before the video launched on YouTube and after. Just … wow.

Squatty Potty Sales via YouTube viral video• There was a huge spike in search traffic following the video, with Google searches for “Squatty Potty” up by 500 percent.

• Post-video, the folks behind Squatty Potty realized they were successfully reaching a younger audience, without affecting their pre-video audience.

• Possibly the most important words in the video are said by CEO Bobby Edwards:

“This video was converting. It was getting people to buy our product.”

The video closes with Co-founder Judy Edwards saying, “You’ll be seeing us more on YouTube … ”

And a year later … we have. Launched on Nov. 10, the folks behind (ha-ha) Squatty Potty are back, along with the smooth-talking prince and unicorn, but this time they’re promoting a different product.

The latest video, “Slay Your Poo-Stink with the Golden Fart of Mystic Unicorn” is well … more of the same, but maybe a little creepier in some instances. The actual product is an odor eliminating spray, much like the popular Poo-pourri (fun fact, the Harmon Brothers also worked on those viral videos).

The video has over a half million views so far, and I’m curious to see if it has a similar effect on sales the way the previous video did … but I’m not sure. While the actual Squatty Potty product has the corner on the market, Unicorn Gold is coming up against established Poo-pourri.

Squatty Potty prince in viral YouTube VideoBottom line: It can pay off to take risks, but only when you partner with the right people and then TRULY partner with them. The Edwards trio, while maybe not getting the ice cream-pooping unicorn at first (well, Bobby got it, but Bobby seems hip to this stuff), put their trust into the Harmon Brothers and didn’t micromanage the vision. And look where it got them: a YouTube viral success, a massive increase in sales and the distinct possibility that people will never look at unicorns and ice cream the same way ever again.

 

Listen to Tyler Oakley: Dare to Be You

During this year’s &THEN event in LA I got to see Tyler Oakley — one of my video inspirations — speak and explain the intimate connection viewers and vloggers can have, especially when the video maker makes regular lasting connections with their audience. But you don’t have to be a YouTube star to do this!

This past week I was in LA with some of the Target Marketing team for DMA’s &THEN conference and wow … it was a whirlwind 3 days.

Not-so-fresh off my red eye flight, I have several blog posts started and even more notes to shape up, but what I want to share with you this week is a realization I had during the Tuesday morning inspirational keynote featuring Beau Avril of Google Preferred, Dan Weinstein of Collective Digital Studio, and Tyler Oakley, Youtube personality, author, and activist.

When introducing Tyler, they showed this quick clip about #DaretoBeYou, which he launched in late 2015:

And that’s when it hit me:

Tyler Oakley Dare to be YouDuring the keynote, titled “The New Face of Creativity,” Tyler made an interesting point about YouTube videos and vloggers in general. He explained that the level of intimacy between viewers and the YouTubers/vloggers is heightened because it’s them watching on a screen, usually closer to the body than a TV or movie screen.

Tyler likened it to Facetiming, and explained how many viewers consider YouTube personalities to be like friends — they share personal stories and make connections.

But you don’t have to be a YouTube personality to do this.

Since launching Sass Marketing a little over a year ago and “What Were They Thinking?” less than five months ago, you’ve tuned in, watched and hopefully laughed at my antics. Or maybe shook your fist at your screen when I said something you didn’t agree with.

My favorite reaction, though, is when you take the time to leave a comment, write me an email or share a tweet telling me exactly what you think of this series.

Or in the case of this past week, came up to me during &THEN and simply said, “I love your videos.”

This reminds me that I made the right decision to be myself — loud, sassy with eyerolls to spare — or as Tyler says, “dare to be you.” Sass Marketing/What Were They Thinking isn’t just an act I put on … it’s me, and it’s more myself than some of the work I’ve done in the past, but that’s partly because I was still finding who I am in all of this.

I’m fortunate that I have this space in the marketing world to do this, the support from my colleagues and mostly importantly, you.

Tyler Oakley You Dare to Be YouI’ll continue to dare to be me in order to delight you and make you laugh, but I need you to dare to be you. A world of people being their genuine, true selves is a world of beauty and limitless possibility.

 

‘Unboxing’ Is So Hot Right Now

Fun fact: Unboxing, or unboxing videos to be more clear, is nothing new. I figured phenomenon was a couple of years old, but nope, I was wrong. When googling “trend of unboxing videos” I came across this article, “Unboxing Videos: The Latest Internet Trend That I’m Behind On.” Guess what the publication date is.

What's in the Box
Wow … this post got dark REAL quick.

Fun fact: Unboxing, or unboxing videos to be more clear, is nothing new. I figured the phenomenon was a couple of years old, but nope, I was wrong.

When googling “trend of unboxing videos” I came across this article, “Unboxing Videos: The Latest Internet Trend That I’m Behind On” from Information Week, dated Dec. 12, 2006.

You read that right … 2006. People have been filming themselves unboxing products for a decade, and it’s not getting old. Originally started with the filming of opening packages of hot new tech and gadgets (such as a PS3 unboxing video that gained over 71,000 views between Nov. 11, 2006 and Dec. 7,  2006), it still goes strong in the tech community.

Seriously, check out the awesome UNBOXED video series from fellow editor/vlogger Rob Stott, including the one below that gets major Sass Marketing points for featuring a little “Say Anything.”

[brightcove videoplayer=”4964012805001″ playerid=”4057790005001″ playerkey=”AQ~~,AAAB3F0Fgjk~,iLMUk1o09xryy1Ypo80LdwzRrrPX3phQ” width=”480″ height=”270″ autostart=”false”]

And beyond unboxing hot new tech, the trend has expanded to include everything from makeup subscription boxes to children’s toys.

Above is the very typical Birchbox vs. Ipsy-style unboxing, and below is … well … a really weird kid’s toy unboxing.

What … what did I just watch? Okay, shake it off.

From Mental Floss:

… before you dismiss this phenomenon as just another weird trend indicative of our digital obsessions, consider this: unboxing videos routinely take a few of the top 10 spots on most-viewed YouTube watchlists, among the music videos from international superstars and the latest viral prank. There’s clearly something alluring about this unwrapping-by-proxy for millions of people.

And now … now Burger King has jumped into the unboxing ring with a very special guest: Chester Cheetah:

https://youtu.be/NW6-pkE9UeM

Marketers, what does this all mean for you? Well, if you market a product that is pretty exciting and comes in potentially cool packaging (something that’s often discussed in unboxing videos), then you might want to look into finding some influencers you can partner with.

According to this article from Google, unboxing videos gained 57 percent more views in 2014 over 2013, and uploads increased 50 percent.

More importantly, a larger number of unboxing viewers use the videos to make product-buying decisions. So, while you don’t need to get hooked up with a talking cheetah, you definitely don’t want to ignore this trend which has some serious legs to it.

How It Should Have Ended: Your Marketing Campaign

I love a good, goofy YouTube series. Screen Rants, Crash Courses, Epic Rap Battles of History … it’s all good! One of my favorites is HISHE: How It Should Have Ended. And HISHE has a hidden lesson for all marketers.

I love a good, goofy YouTube series. Screen Rants, Crash Courses, Epic Rap Battles of History … it’s all good! One of my favorites is HISHE: How It Should Have Ended. And HISHE has a hidden lesson for all marketers.

HISHE is kind of a geeky idea. They make fun of movies by filling in some of the retrospective plot holes with stupid, stupid jokes, in cartoon form. Here’s one from a movie you’ve probably seen (so hopefully no spoilers):

(Sidenote: I never thought of Vader just force-catching Luke and dragging him back up, but now I can’t unsee it.)

Alright, that’s some dumb, cartoon, totally age-inappropriate humor. But it works because the creators look back and think about the movie, and think about what the characters should have done differently and “how it should have ended.”

Do you ever do that with your marketing campaigns? I’m sure you do your testing, make your decisions, execute the plan, and then look at the results and figure out how to do it better next time. … But do you ever look back at the actual process and results as they came in, and do a check for your own plot holes? Have you thought about how the campaign could have ended if you’d done a few things differently, for better or worse?

There’s a similar idea in publishing called the “Postmortem.” After you get the printed magazines in, usually a month or two after you finished working on them, everyone involved in the content and layout takes a copy and goes through it and marks it up with notes. You mark what you think worked or didn’t work, what you could have done better, catch any mistakes that got through proofing (which TOTALLY never happens in Target Marketing, of course).

It’s not always a comfortable exercise. There’s always some regrets. You spot some missed opportunities and the touches you wish you could’ve added that got lost in the rush against deadlines and closing dates. You get to relish some of the stuff you did well, though, too.

Through it all, you dial in your sense of what you should prioritize when you’re working under those tight deadlines. What touches are worth adding, and which ones are OK to let go.

You can do the same thing with your marketing, going back over the finished product of a marketing campaign (or a sample time period of your ongoing marketing processes), and see where your plot holes are, where fall off happened, where you forgot to use a force power or two.

The difference between media and marketing, is that once a movie or magazine is done, it’s over. You can’t fix that one, you can only hope to do the next one better. But in your marketing, you can always make adjustments on the fly or for the next deployment. You can fix your plotholes (and no one is going to start an Internet petition about who should’ve shot first).

When you think about How It Should Have Ended last time, you might be surprised at how much better you can make it end the next time.

What are some plot holes you’ve had that could’ve been an episode of HISHE: Your Marketing Campaign?

Why Millennials Don’t Consume Mass Media … And Why That’s OK

Every semester, I ask the students in my undergraduate classes: “Does anyone read the newspaper?” No hands raised.

Every semester, I ask the students in my undergraduate classes: “Does anyone read the newspaper?” No hands raised.

“Does anyone watch the network news on TV?” No hands raised.

“Does anyone listen to the radio?” Some who commute by car raised their hands.

As someone who has two newspapers delivered to the house every day and faithfully watches the network news on TV, I was disturbed by this, smacking my forehead with a “these kids today!” exclamation. I feared that the world view brought to them by social media was very narrow and limited to the viewpoints of people who were just like them. A few of my Facebook friends have very different political views from mine (their posts sometimes annoy me), but most of those in my social network are aligned with my views. I believed that young people would have an even less diverse pool of opinions from which to draw.

So I did some research to confirm my point of view, ignoring David Ogilvy’s warning that many agencies and clients “use research like a drunkard uses a lamp post – not for illumination but for support.” What I found was illuminating.

The social networks of Millennials are not as homogenous as those of older people: “31 percent of Baby Boomers on Facebook who pay attention to political posts say the posts they see are mostly or always in line with their own views, higher than both Generation Xers (21 percent) and Millennials (18 percent),” according to Pew Research Center Journalism & Media.

A study by The American Press Institute (opens as a PDF) finds that most Millennials report that the people in their social networks have diverse views. “Contrary to the idea that social media creates a polarizing ‘filter bubble,’ exposing people to only a narrow range of opinions, 70 percent of Millennials say that their social media feeds are comprised of diverse viewpoints, evenly mixed between those similar to and different from their own. An additional 16 percent say their feeds contain mostly viewpoints different from their own. And nearly three-quarters of those exposed to different views (73 percent) report they investigate others’ opinions at least some of the time — with a quarter saying they do it always or often.”

The news is not a destination for Millennials, but rather something that’s woven into their daily social media activity. “Millennials consume news and information in strikingly different ways than previous generations, and their paths to discovery are more nuanced and varied than some may have imagined … just 47 percent who use Facebook say that getting news is a main motivation for visiting, but it has become one of the significant activities they engage in once they are there. Fully 88 percent of Millennials get news from Facebook regularly, for instance, and more than half of them do so daily.”

Of course, it’s not just Facebook … YouTube and Instagram serve the same purposes for Millennials. As marketers, we need to stay tuned-in (sorry) to how the most populous generation consumes news, social and lifestyle information simultaneously on social media platforms, and how we can best make our messages relevant there.