Peace, love and an audience of captive millennials — that's the theme of this year's summer music festival season, which is already in full swing. Last year, a staggering one in five millennials attended a music festival, with many paying top dollar and traveling long distances to see their favorite artists. And while music festivals are a marketer's dream in terms of connecting with an audience that's savvy, engaged and open to new experiences, the competition is fierce. In 2014, some 447 brands played a role in 300 music festivals worldwide, according to analysis by FRUKT. With so many companies — and devices — vying for the heart of the notoriously discerning millennial, how can you break through the noise and make your brand stand out?Here are four ways to connect with millennials during summer music festival season:
Think mobile first. Millennials make up the largest segment of smartphone owners. In the second quarter of 2014, 85% of millennials ages 18–24 and 86% ages 25-34 owned devices. With the right audience targeting and geofencing capabilities, plus emerging technologies like beacons, it's becoming easier than ever to reach your target audience at the right time and place on their mobile device.
How to do it: Push notifications that serve up useful content such as restroom locations and upcoming performances are becoming a mobile mainstay in the music festival marketing world. And, integration into relevant music or event apps, such as the StubHub Music App, offers unique ways to provide localized content to your users, such as upcoming events they might be interested in or even new bands they might want to check out.
Transform the moment. Plastering your logo on a stage might be great for brand awareness, but if you truly want to make an impression, give festival-goers a real-life experience that makes them connect with your brand on a more tangible level.
How to do it: Create an experience that's authentic to your brand and relevant to the festival's spirit. At SXSW, Mophie created some serious buzz with its Mophie Rescue program. Users tweeted screenshots of their dying battery to "@mophie" with the hashtag "#mophierescue," and the company responded by sending a St. Bernard equipped with a charger. Earlier this year, MillerCoors upgraded select fans' tickets at various events. During the college bowl games, they also hosted pre-parties at select bars near game venues. Both are unique ways to activate within the market itself, versus in the actual venue.
Empower them. Millennials are an opinionated, vocal audience that favors socially conscious brands. In fact, 69% of global millennials want businesses to make it easier for them to get involved in societal causes, and 89% are likely to switch brands to one associated with a cause.
How to do it: The most effective cause marketing campaigns are ones that relate directly to the brand. StubHub, for example, hosted a series of concerts in 2014 to raise funds for Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, which donates musical instruments to under-funded music programs. When you make your brand a vehicle for change, you'll change the way millennials perceive you.
Don't just be a "blip" on the social radar. Last but certainly not least, it's vital to remember how important social media has become. While creating a hashtag campaign is a standard practice among most marketers, brands need to go further to hit the right note with this tough crowd. Truly connecting with the millennial audience requires content that's quick, digestible and stimulating. Even though Facebook is still the No. 1 social media platform among mobile millennials, more visual mediums like Instagram and Snapchat continue to gain traction. At SXSW, the live video streaming app Meerkat was the most talked about app, adding yet another tool in the marketer's social arsenal to reach the millennial audience.
How to do it: Getting — and holding — millennials' attention in this fast-paced space means bringing something of value. Brands connect best with millennials when offering exclusive content, including live stream performances, behind-the-scenes tours, celebrity interviews and festival tips. For example, Heineken set their brand apart using SnapChat at Coachella in 2014, snapping clues of artists who would be performing at surprise shows. Users who responded to the snap with the right band or artist received an early confirmation of the time the artist would perform at Heineken's sponsored stage.
You may have noticed a common theme throughout the four points above, and that's creating an engaging experience that's not necessarily trying to sell anything. Ask yourself: How can my brand help make their music festival experience more memorable? Start with that simple question and you'll be well on your way to striking the right chord with millennials.
About the Sponsor
StubHub Advertising puts brands center stage with fans on one of the world's largest online ticket marketplaces. Millions of music and entertainment lovers rely on StubHub to buy and sell tickets, learn about upcoming events, and discover new artists. Our advertising solutions span multiple touchpoints, from desktop and mobile opportunities to custom live sponsorship activations. And with the StubHub Music App, brands can geotarget users, serving up content that's relevant to both their location and their browsing and purchasing behavior. For more information, visit StubHub Advertising.