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Jesse Kirshbaum

Music: The Marketer’s Secret Weapon for Targeting Millennials

Jesse Kirshbaum
Music: The Marketer’s Secret Weapon for Targeting Millennials

Millennials are accustomed to being inundated with information. At the tips of their fingers lies the entire Internet — direct access to friends, television, radio, books, and more. With one of the most desirable target markets dwelling in a digitized world that’s oversaturated with ads and clever promotions, how can marketers grab their attention and get millennials to care about what they're offering?

In such a crowded landscape, marketers need music to create effective campaigns targeted at millennials. Today’s teens (ages 13 to 17, or Generation Z) stream more music than they listen to the radio. What’s more, six of the 10 most-followed people on Twitter are musicians, and 95 of the top 100 videos on YouTube are music videos.

Everyone listens to music. In this digital age, it is more ubiquitous now than ever before. If they fail to incorporate music into their campaign strategies, marketers stand to lose their best chances at getting inside the heads of elusive millennials.

The Fastest Way to the Heart Is Through the Ear

Not only will brands averse to weaving music into their marketing strategies face problems capturing the attention of younger consumers, those consumers also won’t be able to fully grasp the essence – the authentic values and tone – of brands.

The new market is geared toward companies that meet consumers where they are. As branding becomes much more associated with lifestyle choices and specific cultural settings, marketers are shifting the ways they target customers. By creating full consumer profiles and understanding their touchpoints, brands can identify more than just simple geographic demographics – they can understand what their potential customers are truly passionate about.

Such profiles help to bring order, creativity, and understanding back into market predictions. Adding music takes it a step further by endowing more accurate branding efforts with an intangible dynamism that appeals on a deeper, more subconscious level. Brands that utilize music in an effective and authentic way see their efforts complemented with increased consumer engagement and a sense of community.

Many companies have already figured out music's seemingly magical power to win over millennial audiences. Sprite has captured the power of music by recently partnering with artists like Drake and Nas in its “Obey Your Verse” campaign. The brand created custom Sprite cans with lyrics from rappers that evoke its aspirational values.

But the real win comes from The Sprite Corner experiment that focuses on creating a community centered on music, art, and culture – it did a solid job of organically raising brand awareness. The brand tapped into the influencers that are so vital to music culture and created programs (like revamping BET’s “Freestyle Friday”), all of which sparked conversation. Sprite understands its consumers and created an ecosystem based on the power of music.

Then there’s vitaminwater’s “uncapped” series of live musical performances and behind-the-scenes video coverage. This campaign helped the brand discover and better align its marketing efforts with its customers’ passions, strengthening its online presence and consumer connections. Much like Sprite, vitaminwater celebrated its fifth anniversary with five back-to-back nights amid emerging artists. Sticking to the ethos of the brand, vitaminwater showcased music and artists that complemented it.


Music: Common Language of the World

The famous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

We are captivated by music the moment we hear our first melody. Music has been and always will be a dominating force in people’s lives. The power of music lies in its ability to evoke emotional responses and create communities of people who are zealous about (and connected by) shared interests. People use music to reinforce their identities, sharing the songs and artists that help define who they are.

These days, as people experience a surplus of information bombarding their digital devices, their personal lives are recorded and displayed publicly online– immediately and incessantly.

The way that music affects our emotions is raw and untamable. For millennials, who live under a constant barrage of content from influential sources, music is one medium that can instantly cut through the clutter and become embedded in their memories.

Music has a way of communicating the inexpressible dimensions of a brand’s elemental nature. When mixed with the millennial mindset, a more powerful marketing tool does not exist.

For more than a decade, Jesse Kirshbaum has been in the trenches of the music business, specializing in securing talent for concerts, tours, and endorsement deals for his various clients and brand partners internationally. He founded NUE, a creative music agency recently named to the Inc. 5000 as the third fastest-growing media company in America, to sit at the center of music, brands, and technology. He is the co-founder and visionary behind SoundCTRL, a newsletter chronicling music tech culture, news, and events. Jesse is also the executive producer for both the hit digital series #CRWN and The FlashFWD Awards, honoring premiere stars in music tech.

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