Reaching Navel Gazers Through User Generated Content

Many of us have heard the expression “working in silos”. In fact, most of us have personally experienced the decline in productivity that comes with the resulting breakdown in cross-functional collaboration. Siloed departments suffer from decreased diversity of ideas and lack of teamwork, and imperceptibly, the company’s relevance takes a hit.

There is something very similar happening in media nowadays. Due to factors like overwhelming amounts of information and increasing amounts of media/information vehicles, consumers are becoming more and more media-siloed “navel gazers*”, increasingly getting most of their content from the same few sources that they know, relate to and trust (i.e. are relevant to them), while effectively creating “relevance filters” or barriers for other content providers. The marketing implications of this phenomenon are huge as brands have to work even harder to create the most relevant and engaging content that will interrupt navel gazers, cut through the media clutter and attract their attention.

One way to get attention is by leveraging user-generated content (UGC). Leveraging UGC is very important for reaching navel-gazers, but especially Millennials, who may not be effectively reached with traditional media – or may even reject traditional media – but are more likely to notice a brand’s content if it’s within a relevant realm, such as a friend’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account. The more marketing savvy companies have already figured out how to leverage UGC to impact sales. User-generated content will occur no matter what. What companies should do is try to control it by trying to proactively initiate these conversations with consumers, better select what those conversations will be and choose which UGC to include on their sites and other communication vehicles.

For example, a company creating a contest and inviting consumers to participate by submitting content should first ensure that the contest is fun, engaging and will make the brand relevant to target consumers. Or, if a company is collecting-user generated content to post on their site, they should also ensure that that content is engaging and will ultimately have a positive impact on the brand.

So, what can your company do to best ensure relevance among consumers through UGC? At Lab42 we can help you understand what UGC could be more effective before you post it on your website. Not only can we run quick tests on user-generated pictures to select the most appealing, funny, buzz-worthy and relevant ones, but also we can test potential contest concepts to determine which one would be the most motivating to your target audience to participate and also share. This approach will help you break media silos and convey relevance to your target consumers, thus growing your company’s marketing effectiveness.

*Reference- Why retailers are struggling to reach online audiences  – Jacqueline Lisk

Learning from 2014 Small Agency Award Winners

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Ad Age recently announced the winners of their Small Agency awards, and we thought it would be a great time to take a look at the winners to see what they are doing right in the advertising industry. Here at Lab42, we always try to stay in the know, and while we like to be trendsetters ourselves, it never hurts to follow suit when good ideas and practices are presented. There were 2 companies – Muhtayzik Hoffer and Proof Advertising – that won the gold and silver awards, respectively. Let’s take a look at a few of the learnings from these agencies.

Agencies are no longer simply production shops – they need to also be brand ambassadors and offer insights to the clients.
As we all know, agency work is significantly based on relationships between the agency and the brand. If the brand trusts the agency to understand their consumers, and the agency can execute on these insights, not only will the campaigns be more successful, but the agency/brand relationship will flourish as well.

Work with your clients to test out and execute new advertising and marketing practices.
Muhtayzik Hoffer was able to use having Netflix as a client to practice and execute rapid content creation that could be used across social media channels. Keeping your options open to new strategies might allow you to strike it big with your next client.

Allow your relationship with the brand to evolve.
Similarly to testing out new marketing and advertising practices, you should also not be constrained by the products that your client is currently offering. By collaborating closely with your client on their advertising campaigns, your agency might locate a niche that your client is not serving that will allow you to uncover a blind spot where a new product extension could be highly successful.

One of my favorite, most striking quotes from President of Proof Advertising, Bryan Christian, is that “instead of just an ad agency, we’d rather be seen as creative business people who solve business challenges.” This quote, and by winning the Silver Award, goes to show you that agencies need to evolve their business practices to really understand the client and offer up business solutions instead of just great creative.

What are your thoughts on the evolution of the agency/brand relationship? What is your agency currently doing to help support your clients outside of simply producing and executing campaigns?

The Latest on Millennials and Transportation: Auto Preferences, Must-have Features, and More

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Many recent studies point out that Millennials are driving less than previous generations. With the decline in automobile ownership among this generation, we wanted to dig deeper to provide the latest insights on Millennials and transportation to illustrate what really matters most to them when it comes to shopping for and purchasing a vehicle.

Among current Millennial car owners, the majority (82%) purchased their current vehicle. Thirteen percent received their vehicle as a gift, and five percent are leasing. Just over half of purchasers (54%) bought a used vehicle, while 46 percent bought a new car.

Breaking it down even further, Millennials were split down the middle with 51 percent financing their car and 49 percent paying with a single payment.

One of the biggest takeaways from our research indicated that despite Millennials’ tech-savvy nature (and their shift toward online shopping), the vast majority still purchase vehicles from dealerships and intend to keep doing so. Among those purchasing new cars (as opposed to used), 96 percent purchased or leased from a dealership. Just 3 percent purchased from a website; the remaining one percent said other. Even among those purchasing used cars, 44 percent went to a dealership, and 28 percent purchased from a family member or friend. Just 4 percent bought their car from a website like AutoTrader or Cars.com.

What’s more, Millennials plan to keep relying on dealerships over websites for future purchases. Seventy-seven percent said they plan to buy or lease from a dealership when they make their next vehicle purchase, while just five percent plan to buy online from an auto website (i.e., AutoTrader).

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The study also revealed key differences between older Millennials (ages 25-34) and younger Millennials (ages 18-24). Overall, Millennials are enthusiastic about green alternatives, with 75% interested in purchasing or leasing a hybrid car and 66% interested in a plug-in electric car.

A complete topline report is available for download on the Lab42 website.

METHODOLOGY

This survey was conducted among 500 American adult Millennials between the ages 18 and 34 from March 28-30, 2014. Initially, survey participants were asked about what types of vehicles they own including cars, SUVs and motorcycles/bikes. Eighty-seven percent of Millennials owned a passenger vehicle and were asked follow-up questions to understand more about their purchase decisions, car maintenance behavior, monthly spending, technology preferences and future car purchasing plans. Data for those with a passenger vehicle was analyzed by gender identity, age, relationship status, and status of the car at time of purchase (new versus used).

A Closer Look at Millennials and Technology: New Tech, Social Media Usage and More

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With ever-changing technology, we feel it’s important to keep a pulse on Millennials. Our latest study revealed the latest on Millennials and technology, from their habits and preferences to their thoughts on today’s most innovative companies.

Among the most insightful findings, we discovered that Millennial men and women have different opinions on companies they consider to be the most innovative. Among male Millennials, Google was their top choice, with 35 percent saying it is currently the most innovative company. Looking ahead, that positive perception only increased: 38 percent of male Millennials predict Google to be the most innovative company five years from now. However, among female Millennials, Apple was the top choice for most innovative today (39%). It’s worth noting, however, that their perception of Apple as most innovative decreased when looking to the future. Twenty-six percent of female Millennial predicted Apple to be the most innovative company in five years, followed very closely by Google at 25%.

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Millennials were also asked to choose a technology innovation that was most interesting to them from a list nine innovations. The 3D printer topped the list, with 22 percent of Millennials choosing it as their favorite, barely edging out a self-driving car (21%). Google Glass came in third with 15 percent selecting it as most interesting, just ahead of 3D holographic videos (14%). Smart watches were in the middle of the pack (7%), while electric bike came in last with just 3 percent finding it to be the most interesting.

When it comes to Millennials’ social media usage, the top three social media networks they currently log into at least once a week are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. When asked which ones they plan to be using in five years, Facebook showed an 18% drop in usage, Twitter showed a 27% drop, and Instagram showed a drop of 12%. LinkedIn was the only network that showed an increase (10%).

As attached to technology as Millennials are, they appear to be stingy with sharing technology with the next generation. Sixty-two percent believe a child should be at least 14 years old before receiving their first smartphone. Over a quarter (28%) said 11-13 years old, while ten percent said 10 years old or younger.

A complete topline report is available for download on the Lab42 website.

METHODOLOGY

This survey was conducted among 500 American adult Millennials between the ages 18 and 34 from March 28-30, 2014. Survey participants were asked about how they classify themselves when it comes to new technology: Early Adopter (34%), Fast Follower (33%), Mainstream (25%), and Late Adopter (8%). The survey then examined the views, attitudes, and preferences of Millennials regarding innovative technology and social media. Data was analyzed by gender identity, age, relationship status, and self-classification.

A Closer Look at: Millennials and Housing Preferences

Everyone is trying to decode Millennials today and find out what makes them tick. At Lab42, we understand that purchasing behavior has always been a primary focus, but to better understand Millennials, we feel it is important to dig even deeper into the demographics and psychographics to uncover what drives their behaviors. For that reason, we continue to conduct ongoing studies targeted toward this generation on topics that are wide-reaching and impactful, and most recently, we conducted a study on housing preferences and behaviors.

Specifically, when it comes to Millennials and housing, we wanted to determine their current level of satisfaction, the motivation behind their decision to rent or own, and their intentions for the future.

What we found is that despite the most recent economic recession, Millennials are highly satisfied with their current living arrangements across the board – from home owners to renters to those living in a place for free (i.e. with parents or friends). According to our study, 95 percent of Millennial homeowners report being satisfied with their decision to buy a house, with 73 percent saying they are very satisfied. Though homeowners report the highest levels of satisfaction, 82 percent of renters reported similar satisfaction, along with 72 percent of those who do not pay rent.

Satisfaction Millennials and Housing

Despite renters’ current satisfaction, 44 percent of renters plan to buy before 2018, while 25 percent plan to buy in 2018 or later. Younger Millennials, ages 18-24, are twice as likely to be among those planning to purchase in 2018 or later.

Overall, Millennials find their housing payments to be affordable, likely contributing to their level of satisfaction. Eighty-nine percent said they are either ‘very affordable’ or ‘affordable’, with homeowners slightly more likely (94%) than renters (84%) to find their payments affordable. A gender difference was also apparent, with men more likely than women to think their payments are affordable (93% vs. 84%).

The study also revealed differences in rationale behind Millennials’ decisions to rent or purchase a home. Among renters, the most popular reasons to rent were that it was more affordable (52%) and offers flexibility in where they can live (39%). Among Millennial homeowners, the number one reason for owning is that it lets them live in an area they want to live (42%), followed closely by it being more affordable (36%) and making more financial sense than renting (35%).  A higher percentage of women than men cited “it makes more financial sense” as a top reason (42% vs. 26%), while more men said that the duration of their stay in the area was one of their top three reasons for owning (26% vs. 15%).

Top Reasons Millennials and Housing

For even more on Millennials and housing, download the topline report here.

METHODOLOGY

The Lab42 survey was fielded among 500 Millennials in the United States, ages 18-34, from March 28-31, 2014. Respondents identified their living arrangements, comprising the following breakdown: Owners (44%), Renters (39%), Live in a place I do not pay rent (14%), and Live in a residence hall or dormitory (3%).