Six of the Most Popular Youth Marketing Trends of 2018

As we head into the back to school season brands are continually assessing marketing strategies that succeeded with Millennial and Centennial consumers in the past and might resonate in the future. During the past year, brands were forced to rethink their marketing strategies, as they had to adapt to the changing trends of both Millennials and Gen Z’ers / Centennials. Overall, brands were required to develop more creative and experimental strategies. Indeed, many brands discovered that in the current marketplace, marketing strategies must always change and evolve. Therefore, analyzing the most popular and most successful marketing trends can be of huge value for brands looking to embrace the future of youth marketing.

  1. Pop-Ups – One of the most popular marketing trends of 2017 and early 2018 was the concept of pop-ups. Pop-ups are temporary retail spaces that established brands use to reach a wider audience with their new, innovative ideas. These pop-ups provided brands with the ability to creatively take risks while still operating under the safety of a separate store from the actual brand. For example, some pop-up stores offered various food brands a place where they could experiment with unusual recipes to determine how the market would respond to them. These pop-ups then served as the perfect vehicle to allow brands a relatively risk-free space to push the limits of experimentation while not compromising brand integrity. These pop-up stores also allowed brands the opportunity to test different cities and reach different markets without committing to establishing a long-term presence there.
  2. Bizarre Foods – Another one of the biggest marketing trends this year was experimentation with food. Food brands realized that they could use new and unusual recipes or food inventions to create a buzz about the brand and gain a larger following on social media. Since Millennials and Centennials seem to react to odd, viral trends, brands discovered that oftentimes the weirdest and most controversial food gained the most attention. This year, brands began to try to make their food trends go viral in order to gain the most social media support and following. Oftentimes, these culinary experiments were connected to seasonal or cultural trends such as Thanksgiving-flavored chips or cereal-infused milkshakes.  In essence, brands are now realizing that in order to remain relevant in the marketplace, they must cater to Millennials’ and Gen Zers’ desire for brand experimentation and creativity. These young consumers want brands to push the boundaries. If brands want to engage the current consumer base, they now have not only the freedom but also the demand to think outside the box and have fun with their marketing strategies.
  3. eSports – One of the newest trends in 2017 and early 2018 was eSports. eSports is online competitive gaming, a trend that many are predicting will be a prominent part of the technological future. Indeed, eSports has become a trend among many Millennials and Centennials, with international competitions drawing thousands of spectators annually. Competitive gaming, while currently remaining a relatively small industry, has sparked the interest of several large brands who view its technological base and large Millennial and Centennials following as incentive to invest in this growing market. Brands should begin to strategize now how they can use eSports to their advantage, whether through sponsorships or strategic advertising.
  4. Augmented Reality – For Millennials and Centennials, technology plays one of the most prominent roles in their lives. Indeed, these generations have almost constant access to technology. Brands understand this, and therefore they are now looking for ways to integrate this technology-dependence into the ways that they engage their consumers. One such way in which brands are utilizing technology is by incorporating augmented reality into their marketing campaigns.  Snapshot:  One industry that is taking full advantage of technology and augmented reality in their marketing strategies is beauty brands. Using social media filters to allow users to experiment with different beauty products or using interactive product ads and features are just a couple examples of how brands are now using augmented reality to market to Millennials and Centennials.
  5. TV Fandoms – Brands are also discovering the value of television in providing new marketing opportunities. Many popular brands have now realized the strong power and influence of TV fandoms. Indeed, these fandoms have the distinct advantage of being able to connect thousands of like-minded fans from all over the world. Consequently, brands are seeing the value in partnering with stars of popular TV shows in order to tap into the extensive fan base associated with those stars and their respective projects. In addition, brands are discovering that if they are mentioned on a certain TV show, they have an opportunity to leverage that exposure in order to create a larger following.
  6. Millennial Mothers – Another very prominent marketing strategy in 2017 and 2018 was marketing to Millennial parents. With the majority of these 20-30 year olds starting families, brands are realizing that they represent a very influential and fiscally viable consumer base. Millennial moms in particular represent a distinctly powerful force in the marketplace. Research shows that Millennial mothers have more social media accounts and spend a more extensive amount of time on these accounts than older generations or even Millennial fathers. Millennial mothers are using their social media accounts to share brand experiences as well as to promote products to other young moms within their networks. Therefore, brands have an unprecedented opportunity to reach a vast group of Millennial moms by successfully engaging just one mother.  While Millennial moms have no qualms about recommending brands to their friends, they do demand transparency from these brands. Millennial moms do not want to engage with brands that promote a sugar-coated version of motherhood or sell impractical products. Similar to Centennials, Millennials crave brand authenticity. As a result, brands should explore ways in which they can assure Millennial mothers that they do in fact understand the daily struggles of motherhood and that they are working to develop products that will make moms’ lives easier.

Let Zephoria digital marketing help you explore these trends as well as ways to help you more effectively market your digital presence online.  Contact Dan Noyes at 585-230-9565 or via email at [email protected]