Millennials, the generation of individuals born between 1980 and 2000, wield tremendous buying power. As such, this generation holds massive influence when it comes to marketing. If your marketing department is not focused on developing a millennial-based marketing strategy, you may already be behind the competition. By number, millennials represent the largest generation, at approximately 79 million, according to Digiday. Together, the millennial generation has combined purchasing power of about $170 billion annually.
Just as the baby boomer generation became associated with certain characteristics and marketers learned to adjust their marketing strategies accordingly, so do millennials. Many of the tactics that worked with previous generations have proven to be ineffective with millennials. This means that most companies now must redefine their strategies in order to reach millennials.
Among the most common misconceptions about marketing to millennials is that online ads are the best strategy for reaching this generation. While it is true that millennials are often online, that does not mean that online ads are an effective medium. In fact, eMarketer points out that online ads are often the worst medium for reaching out to millennials simply because they do not trust such ads and will even ignore them. Therefore, should you allocate a significant portion of your marketing budget toward online ads, this is money that you may well be wasting. You are much better served by focusing your advertising dollars on a strategy that actually resonates with this generation.
One area that you can tap into is the tendency amongst millennials to share via social media. MarketingCharts found that they are quite comfortable with social media and frequently love to share interesting content. Leverage this by providing millennials with what they want: Content that is creative, entertaining, and shareable.
While millennials may be slow to trust ads from brands, a report published by Mashable found that they are surprisingly willing to trust recommendations made by their friends. In fact, millennials often view user-generated content as highly credible and trust it 50 percent more than any other type of content. This presents companies with tremendous opportunities to tweak their marketing techniques and allow millennials do their marketing for them rather than focusing on marketing to millennials. The goal here is to encourage your customer base to share reviews and purchases on social media. You can do this by making it easy for your followers to share their customer experiences and continually seeking input from customers. With that strategy, you can actually convert your customers into brand advocates.
Take the time to learn what makes millennials tick. This is a generation that tends to be socially conscious. Crain’s Chicago Business calls corporate social responsibility the new religion for millennials. They are much more likely to engage with brands and companies that share those same values, particularly firms that engage in philanthropic activities and provide opportunities for others to also take action. Crain’s Chicago Business went on to report that in 1 in 3 millennials will support or boycott a business based on the causes that are important to them. Furthermore, 4 in 5 millennials reported that they were more likely to purchase from a brand that supports a cause that is important to them.
Consider the communication style that your brand projects. With most millennials coming of age during a time of economic uncertainty, they tend to highly value transparency. They also often have a natural distrust of businesses that appear to be secretive and do not respond to feedback. It is a well-known fact that succeeding in business means establishing trust with your customer base. When it comes to millennials, it means engaging them on social media, responding to feedback (both negative and positive), and sharing company news. A study published by Marketing Land found that 72 percent of consumers expect a response to a complaint tweet within 60 minutes.
One of the great features of social media, and the ability to interact with and engage customers using that platform, is the wealth of data your organization can reap. Such data can easily be deployed for improving customer experience. Despite the fact that privacy issues frequently make the headlines, millennials are surprising willing to share personal information, especially in exchange for perks. This willingness presents a golden marketing opportunity for collecting, mining, and applying social data.
From workplace design to the products offered, millennials are rapidly transforming the world around them. In order to remain competitive and not only reach but also engage millennials, it is imperative that you create a marketing strategy specifically designed to get past the noise to capture their attention.