Generation Y: How startups can better reach Millennials with interactive video

By Editor July 25, 2013

Michael Castellano, engajer By Michael Castellano, founder and CEO, engajer

It’s important for any company to tell its story effectively, but for startups, it’s particularly crucial to clearly convey your corporate identity and outline your value proposition. As a new enterprise, your business has only begun to build a brand and create awareness. An interactive video pitch is a highly effective tool for reaching prospective customers in any age group, but it’s a must if you hope to reach Generation Y—consumers born between 1980 and the early-2000s.

Video as a communication trend created the YouTube phenomenon and delivers over one billion unique visitors to that site every month. Video can also be a highly persuasive sales tool. A recent survey showed that more than half of participants reported that watching an online video increased their confidence about a purchasing decision.

If you’re trying to reach Generation Y, the consumers who grew up with the Internet, keep in mind that they are more likely to do product or service research as well as online shopping via mobile devices—particularly smartphones. More than 90 percent of Millennials have a mobile phone, and over 80 percent view digital video, according to research.

The research also shows that Millennials expect greater levels of interactivity across multiple channels, including social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. They are more moved by a two-way conversation than a traditional presentation, and they typically expect marketing messages to address their unique needs.

Tips For Creating Video Pitches That Work For Generation Y—and Everyone Else

The tricky part about creating an effective pitch video is that it needs to be comprehensive enough to tell your story, but short enough to encourage prospective customers to watch it, even if they’re pressed for time or distracted. You need to convey the value you can deliver quickly while speaking directly to your prospective customer’s individual needs.

That’s a balancing act, but it can be done successfully with the right approach. For startups seeking new customers among Millennials or any other generation, crafting and delivering the right video pitch is vitally important. Here are some tips:

1. Use a video platform that can be viewed across multiple device types: Millennials tend to own multiple screens and use their smartphones the most. To effectively deliver your online pitch, publish it on a platform that automatically optimizes the screen size for viewing on any type of device, including PCs, tablets, and smartphones.

2. Craft your pitch with care: Companies in general—and startups in particular—need to send a consistent message. When developing your video pitch, make sure key decision-makers are on board with the messaging strategy, and use your most persuasive presenter. Remember that today’s consumers prefer to do business with companies that cut to the chase, so stay focused.

3. Give each viewer a personalized presentation: Of course, you can’t shoot a unique video for each individual prospect—you don’t know who they are or what specific interests they have yet. But you can deliver a highly interactive experience by breaking longer-form videos down into bite-sized modules, each addressing a specific aspect of your product or service. This lets viewers pursue their personal pathways of interest.

4. Keep an eye on the data: Whether targeting Millennials or any other group, the more you know about your prospect, the more likely you are to make a sale. If you present your pitch online in a way that allows customers to choose the order in which they view your presentation and provide calls to action in each clip, you’ll get valuable data by tracking their selections and quickly build a pipeline of highly-qualified leads.

5. Post your video on Facebook and make it easy to share via social media: About 75 percent of Millennials are on Facebook—and many of their parents and grandparents are too. If your startup doesn’t have a Facebook page, now is a good time to create one to house, among other things, your interactive video pitch. Make sure you use a platform that allows you to easily embed your video directly into Facebook and enable viewers to share it instantly.

Embracing the Online/Mobile Video Pitch

Given Generation Y’s digital consumption habits and passion for online video, startups and established businesses that market to Millennials need to embrace the online/mobile video pitch. It’s a valuable marketing tool that also helps the company deliver a consistent, focused message. An interactive pitch video can free up your sales team’s time by providing a basic overview of your products and services.

It’s a good idea to break the presentation down into video bursts and provide viewers with choices in how they interact: by allowing customers to view segments in whichever order they choose, and offering calls to action at the conclusion of each segment, your business can create a virtual conversation and let viewers zero in on the information that matters to them the most—all while using analytics to generate a steady stream of qualified leads.

Millennials are a force to be reckoned with in the marketplace—there are approximately 80 million of them in the U.S. alone. Digital video is a highly effective communication tool that has been fully embraced by Generation Y, and the more interactive you can make the experience, the more likely you are to see strong sales and branding results. By following these tips, you can create a pitch that resonates with Millennials, and every other generation.

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Michael Castellano is the founder and CEO of engajer, a sophisticated online platform that communicates complex and rich content in a personal, easily digestible way. By offering interactive, bite-sized video bursts, only engajer leads customers down their personal pathway of interest, allowing them to quickly zero in on content that is most relevant to them.