Co-creating with Millennials
How are DMO’s connecting with the “connected generation”? Millennials - those born after 1980 - are a segment that receives constant attention in the marketing trade press. Not only are they about to become one of the largest market segments with high spending power and above average travel propensity, but also their travel and consumer behaviour differs drastically from those of previous generations. When it comes to attracting Millennials, tourist boards and destination marketing managers usually revert to social media activities, as Skift.com reported in their latest trend report “The Rise of the Millennial Traveler”. This is sparked by the seemingly unquenchable demand for content from the “Connected Generation”.
Lack of strategy among DMOs
Results from the report, which was conducted among 14 US destinations, showed that respondents were lacking a strategic approach to social media. Thus social media activities revolved mostly around broadcasting messages about good nightlife, volunteer opportunities and value-priced accommodations on Facebook and Twitter.
Social Media is only a means to an end
Although the sample is anything but representative and therefore does not provide us with an accurate snapshot of how the DMO sector approaches the connected generation, it provides a valuable lesson. Following Jeff Fromm – VP at US based ad agency Barkley and author of the book Marketing to Millennials – “Thinking about social media first as a way to engage with Millennials is putting the cart before the horse.” In other words, social media is only a means to an end, not an end itself.
Co-creation is king
A successful strategy to reach Millennials effectively therefore revolves around the content, rather than the channel. It is no big news that Millennials increasingly want to be involved as active partners in the process of value creation. Thus they want to co-create the product, co-create the services and co-create the experiences before during and after the trip. In this regard, social media is a technology enabler to co-create the marketing with consumer.
Using social media for co-creation however, requires brands to think in terms of content first. This content does not need to be produced exclusively in-house. Creating and curating engaging and topical content, both owned and crowdsourced, is the most effective way for companies to grow their brands in the digital era. Against this background social media is only a subset of the overall content strategy.
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