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‘Significant shift’ in marketing to young people

Young people

Capturing the attention — and dollars — of young Australians is a key focus for many businesses, but a content marketing agency has said there is a “significant shift” in attitudes among this age group.

“Young Australians, unlike previous generations, can’t be neatly put into a demographic box like 18–25s and simply marketed to,” said Gorgia Brewer of Sydney-based agency The Media Precinct.

“We’ve consistently found in our research that young Australians consume media differently, have clearly defined expectations on diversity and sustainability, and we have uncovered some surprising insights in respect to digital technology use.

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“This is of clear interest to brands and advertisers looking to better connect with future leaders and change makers.”

Ms Brewer said her agency last month began presenting business clients with the findings of its research on marketing to young Australians, which she said relied on “a combination of qual[itative] and quant[itative] surveys, TMP online survey of Australian youth of 1,000, Nielsen CMV trends over a 10-year period, focus groups with 20 young people [and] research using multiple industry sources”.

“The intention of the presentation was to get clients thinking about how to evolve their brands for the future,” Ms Brewer told My Business.

“Where we saw common threads, we determined that these would be the key pillars we would cover in depth and make observations on.

“We only included key topics to showcase during the presentations. There were others we will look at in depth at a later date.

That initial research, she said, produced five key insights into how young Australians want and expect businesses to engage with them:

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  • Researching and speaking directly with your community is paramount to achieve success with this demographic.
  • Committing to one or more social causes must have achievable, short-term goals.
  • Businesses risk being “cancelled” en masse by Aussie youth unless they are honest and don’t resort to “smoke and mirrors” strategies.
  • A logo slapped on advertising material is not enough: businesses need to actively engage with young people.
  • Young people still use traditional media, meaning it is not redundant as a marketing channel — but they do so differently to older generations.

Asked to clarify how younger Australians are consuming traditional media “differently” from their predecessor generations, Ms Brewer suggested that it comes down to relevance.

“Generally speaking, they are consuming traditional media; however, they are very specific in their consumption patterns,” she replied.

“Taking news as an example, young people are consuming more news than previous generations at the same age, it’s just that they are using multiple platforms to consume this media based on time and access points.”

She suggested business models and marketing strategies built around two-way communication approach, and genuinely listening to feedback, will deliver the best results for businesses.

“We are recommending that businesses need to listen more closely to what these young people are saying to help shape their business models,” Ms Brewer said.

“Two-way dialogue is a strong example of understanding what customers want, and how they want it within their chosen category.”

Ms Brewer added: “We are seeing a significant shift in the attitudes and behaviours in young people.

“Their attitudes are significantly different than the average millennial. Not only are we seeing... younger Australians deliberately ‘switching off’ social media because of their privacy concerns, but we are also seeing the emerging side effects technology brings, including the need to protect themselves from cyber bullying and the effect it has on their mental health.”

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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