While strategies like video, social media and resonating content are important marketing tools for any brand targeting millennials, according to Contiki’s managing director for Australia, Katrina Barry, you can’t ignore the value of unadulterated recommendation.
“Word of mouth is the best form of marketing – and it has existed for a very long time,” she told B&T.
“Unlike our owned channels, where we can easily prompt and monitor the conversations on display, dark social is going to evolve peer to peer marketing.
“It’s the conversations and interactions that are happening across emails and text messaging apps that we need to watch for because that’s the type of customer listening that will help us innovate our marketing and truly engage with our audiences.”
For the millennial market who’s seen it all and then some, being surprising with content and marketing can be tricky, now more than ever.
But Barry and her Contiki team are no strangers to the power of word of mouth, and through their fierce promotion of user-generated content and traveller’s advocacy of the brand, they continue to prove their prowess in the youth travel market.
“Millennials truly live in the moment. What resonates with them isn’t considered traditional,” Barry explained.
“They are constantly evolving and finding ways to innovate. A baby boomer will probably be influenced by a brochure they pick up and a TV advertisement – but a millennial will jump online, stalk the brand’s social media channels, read a million reviews and then make a decision.
“Millennials now have access to first-hand, real-life experiences and they’re able to form specific and trusted expectations because of this.
“There’s a clear reason why they want to see what they’re getting or getting them themselves into – it’s because they can – so as a brand, we need to accommodate this.
“Social platforms that facilitate story telling in real time like Snapchat and Instagram stories will continue to rise – again, giving millennials first-hand experiences and real-life expectations.
“Video is definitely going to be the key trend brands should pay attention to.
“If you think about the way things are evolving, and the innovation and technology advances that become quickly available, we’ve already seen drone footage, 360 images and the rise of the influencer take centre stage.”
Barry also said that when it comes to reaching the coveted millennial audience, digital developments and social media are everything.
“We can see the clear differences in print verse digital,” she said.
“The best example I can give is that Instagram stories are driving higher engagement from an awareness and consideration point of view than some of the other video channels we’ve used – and my mum definitely wouldn’t dream or consider booking a trip to Vietnam after watching an Instagram story.”