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New SDL Study Shows Millennials are 56 Percent More Likely to Discover Marketing Content on Social Networks than Via Search Engines or Email

SDL’s “Five Truths for Future Marketers” series shares millennial preferences and behaviors, and recommends best practices for evolving marketing to connect with the next generation of customers

Wakefield, MA March 19, 2014 Press Releases
March 19, 2014, Wakefield, MA

The average Millennial checks their smartphone 45 times a day, and is 56 percent more likely to discover brand content on social networks than via search engine or traditional email, according to a new study by SDL (LSE: SDL).

The study was conducted as part of a new SDL series titled “Five Truths for Future Marketers,” which details five key ways that marketers must adapt to engage the next generation of highly connected and informed consumers whose digital preferences are vastly different and may not respond to traditional marketing tactics. The Five Truths for Future Marketers are:

1. Campaigns are Extinct
2. Your Data Trumps Big Data
3. Channels are Irrelevant
4. There is Only One Language
5. Content Finds the Consumer

Campaigns are Extinct

The first report in the “Five Truths for Future Marketers” series is titled “Campaigns are Extinct,” and examines the need for marketers to advance beyond traditional marketing campaign approaches, particularly when marketing to millennials.

Millennial consumers orchestrate their own brand experiences, across multiple channels and devices –often as many as four devices in one day. Email is one of their last choices of preference, and they share content with peers and trusted brands. In order to win their trust, brands must create a consistent experience across all channels. With the average millennial touching their smartphone 45 times a day and 56 percent more likely to discover content on social networks than on email or using a traditional search engine, push marketing tactics are less effective. Millennials want content that finds them.

In this study, SDL found:

  • Millennials embrace brands on social media: Five out of six millennials connect with companies on social media networks. 
  • Social networks and customizable news feeds dominate content discovery: The top three channels where millennials discover online information are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with customizable news feed sites surpassing traditional news sites and email for content discovery. 
  • Customers want the inside track to freebies: The top two reasons for engagement are discounts (60 percent) and free perks (55 percent). The freebies are more important than a long-term relationship. 
  • Growing a customer relationship isn’t always about getting a sale: 60 percent of consumers like it when they receive a touchpoint that’s not related to selling a product (i.e., holiday or birthday card).

“There is an important transformation taking place in the minds of the current and next wave of consumers regarding how they choose to interact with brands,” said Paige O’Neill, CMO of SDL. “The traditional marketing funnel is now irrelevant, making traditional campaigns extinct. Brands must break through millennials’ personal junk filter with relevant, valuable and non-promotional interactions, for a longer-term view of building brand advocacy. It won’t happen immediately, but brands who shift their focus from a campaign approach to one focused on the customer experience will see the most success.”

The study sampled more than 300 millennials in the U.S. (ages 18-36) that were college educated and employed full-time. It was conducted between January 23 and February 7, 2014. This is the first data set from an ongoing study that will examine the way millennials across the globe interact with brands.

About SDL

SDL (LSE:SDL) is the global innovator in language translation technology, services and content management. Over the past 25 years we’ve helped companies deliver transformative business results by enabling powerful, nuanced digital experiences with customers around the world. Are you in the know? Find out why 78 out of the top 100 global brands work with us at SDL.com and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.