There is a lot of buzz about Millennials out there. Most of it is widespread assumptions about their behavior and what makes them tick. While a lot of the generalizations are true, what is most evident from all of these articles is that Millennials are not a rare breed. Many of the things that do not resonate with that age range also do not resonate with others. Why is this happening? Well plain and simple, advertising is not as effective as it used to be, Millennials and others are turning a blind eye to banners. What’s a B2B marketer to do?
Distracted human beings
One of the hardest problems for B2B marketers is grabbing the attention of their audience. The attention span of the average human is quickly deteriorating. Bolstering this deterioration is the fact that people are hyper-connected with so many devices to distract them, it is difficult to make assumptions about their behavior. At last week’s Code Conference, Mary Meeker unveiled the findings of her annual Internet Trends Report and the findings highlight the weak points for advertising and how marketers can take advantage of certain trends and continue to thrive.
One of the most glaring observations of her report is that online advertising has been struggling. Finicky users and ad blockers are contributing to the downfall, however, the biggest contributor is the poor quality of ads. Obvious, right?
It becomes clearer when you consider ads are often not customized to the device people are using. What’s more, the ads are irrelevant to the user’s interests or preferences. As such, ads become interruptive and therefore either ignored or outright blocked. This is a serious challenge. In the United States alone, approximately two-thirds of adults are smartphone users, which means most of the country has a screen in their pocket at all times. When you add other devices—tablets, televisions, personal computers—you have a golden opportunity to do cross-device marketing and capture the attention of your audience if you can create the right ad for the right person on the right device.
Watch and Learn
Marketers need to take advantage of this golden opportunity and relatively unexplored landscape to make sure that their ads are not intrusive and are relevant to their target audience. Even today, simple desktop ads are repurposed on a smaller screen. The issues here are vast. The ad can be too small making it impossible to read, and other times they can be obtrusive such as pop ups, which are an instant way to irritate your user base. With the amount of smartphone users in the US surpassing PC users, marketers should be creating device specific ads.
“The biggest challenge facing any B2B marketer is the ability to reach their target audience. It is not just a matter of what media channel to use – it is how to get attention when your audience is running hard to keep up and has little time to absorb new information,” said Nigel Hollis, executive VP-chief global analyst at Millward Brown.
Mobile is not just a trend, it is a revolution. You need to reach your audience on the device that they use most and do it with intelligence, relevance and customization.
Ads for everyone
Targeting for mobile also allows for a great deal of creativity to find the perfect mobile-designed content that is going to resonate with your audience. B2B marketers should be craving this opportunity. However, to get a better handle on what resonates best with your audience, you must effectively use the data that is available in the marketplace.
Most recently, intent data with the combination of other data sources (first-party, third-party, firmographic, demographic, install base), is reshaping how marketers target their audience. With the proper utilization of data, you can get a much more rounded view of your audience to allow you to see what content your audience interacts with. With this, you can recognize the exact problems your prospects are facing and by understanding this, you can tactfully create ads that will grab their attention and address their biggest pain points.
Marketers, now is the time to get creative and take advantage of cross-device advertising. Forget stereotyping Millennials and realize that what is not resonating with them is probably also not resonating with the rest of your audience. Millennials are the piñata of the marketing world because they represent the widest margin in the workforce and for this reason, their views are not all that unique. Advertising must to be relevant to users no matter what their generation is named. Marketers should pay attention and adapt.