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Brief Published: 2 Mar 2016

Youth Marketing Strategies

The fifth annual Youth Marketing Strategy conference, organised by UK research and events firm Voxburner, will be held next week at the Roundhouse in London (March 8-9). YMS will explore the cultural, social and digital trends affecting the habits and mindsets of millennials and Gen Z, and how brands can bring these trends into their marketing and advertising.

Stylus will be reporting from the event, but we also took time to speak to a couple of YMS speakers before it all kicks off, for their insights into key opportunities for businesses looking to reach young consumers.

Krassie Byalkova, marketing manager at multinational consumer goods company Unilever, stressed the importance of moving away from a top-down model, where strategies are imposed regardless of what’s happening in culture at the time. “What brands need to do is really [understand] the environment, what’s happening and trending right now, and ask: how are we relevant in this environment? How are we reacting on the spot?” To crack this challenge, brands need to be more agile: “Topics nowadays are changing quickly, so brands need to be quicker at evaluating the environment.”

Jon Wilkins, executive chairman of independent marketing communications group Karmarama, believes this accelerated pace of cultural change is driven by the way in which younger consumers demand more content. “They probably have the same amount of attention span and disposable ‘grey time’ that most consumers have, but they want to use it in a slightly different way – they want more content within that timeframe.”

Ryan Hall, managing partner of Karmarama and founder of Nice, agrees with Byalkova that the way for brands to address this is to take a less top-down, more agile approach. “We are seeing the majority of our portfolio moving into a much more product-oriented rather than project-oriented mindset, which is great, because it becomes iterative and you release rapidly. And that could be creative thinking or advertising or a product.”

The latest figures from the Internet Advertising Bureau reveal that 47% of 18- to 24-year-olds in the UK use ad blockers, and both Wilkins and Hall were adamant that traditional display advertising was too intrusive in the intimate mobile environment. “Creating digital garbage advertising is bringing down the game for everyone,” said Wilkins. “Once you’re on someone’s mobile or in their private feeds or social networks, if you’re behaving badly then the whole thing comes down.”

Watch this space for our upcoming report from YMS. For more on agile mobile marketing, see Beyond Ad Blocking, State of Mobile: Winter 2016, Live-Streaming Strategies and Five New Channels for Social Media Marketing.

If you’d like to attend the YMS conference, follow this link and use the code STYLUS15 to get 15% off your ticket.

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