Millennials, Digital Natives, Echo Boomers – call them what you want; they are the generation of today. Even if they aren’t your target audience now, they soon will be. If you’re in the marketing space, the term is impossible to avoid.
Contrary to popular belief, millennials aren’t only those who are still in, or fresh off the university boat, or even those in their mid-twenties. They are all who were born in the early 80’s onwards – 1982 to be precise.
What sets the millennials apart from the rest is mostly their ideology.
Blessed with the privilege of growing up with the Internet, and unmatched tech as compared to their predecessors, they are altogether adamant to make a change and not follow the same line as previous generations.
This makes millennial views on personal, professional, and even political issues stand out in every way. In fact, when it comes to their purchasing habits, they have an acute BS filter when it comes to advertising noise and hence almost everything we learned from the Mad Men age of advertising goes out the window.
Obviously, there’s more to millennials than just the age range. With the internet at their fingertips, about 47% of millennials say they can be defined by their social media presence. They are also less concerned about “stuff”.
Here’s what we know about marketing to millennials so far –
1. Outbound marketing is dying
If you’re thinking about salesmen following this generation around and pitching for a sale, you’re bound to fail. Think more along the lines of them getting information via blogs, online reviews, influencers and the likes. In short, creative and engaging content is more likely to hook them than anything else.
2. They are ALWAYS online
Millennials are called the internet generation for a reason. Without access to it, they’re probably going to feel helpless. According to Google, 66% of Millennials are confident about the information they find with mobile devices, such as flight and hotel data. Facebook says that 55% of Millennials use only mobile devices to access profiles or brand pages. This tells us two things –
- Forget about the 9 to 5; seriously. Brands must always be connected to their potential customers.
- Influencers and reviews in general, can take you further than regular advertising.
3. Brand loyalty isn’t their thing
I know it plays into the stereotype that millennials are disloyal but unlike their parents, who saw sticking with one brand as the best thing ever, millennials are more open to experimenting. Surveys show that 58% of millennials prefer unique products than mass produced ones, up 13% in the last 2 years.
Marketers need to realize soon that millennials are going to be the bulk of their audience and they need to adapt their techniques to suit requirements. It might just be the deciding factor in who wins in the long run.
Tips on Marketing to Millennials –
Millennials think and behave differently because they are different, especially when it comes to online behavior. Even the most novice marketer can spot the fact that millennials are spending more time on social media than ever before.
1. They welcome instant gratification
Surveys show that 64% of millennials like a company or brand on Facebook with the sole purpose of getting a coupon or discount. Small incentives like these can set you above the rest. So chances are, if you advertise a sale or give out free shipping coupons, the clientele will follow.
2. They’re a shrewd lot
Don’t ever try to pull a fast one on a millennial. With their already finicky purchase habits, you’re risking losing a customer for life. They demand absolute transparency in their dealings with brands and will more often than not refer to online reviews, influencers and other collective forums like social media when making a purchase decision to ensure authenticity.
So work towards building a strong following. Perhaps offer a discount coupon to those who leave an online review after the purchase. Brilliant, no?
3. Two words – Easter Eggs
Research conducted by AdAge confirmed that millennials spend an average of 25 hrs per week online. Needless to say, they are online consuming content all the time. So how does your brand stand out? Easter Eggs! Holiday treat jokes aside, Internet Easter eggs are sometimes what we live for!
The subtle inside joke that creates a sense of belonging, the gamification aspect that drives engagement, or a reward – no matter how small- that lifts spirits; these surprises are what’ll keep them coming back for more.
4. They’d make Cyndi Lauper proud
Yeah, sometimes they just wanna have some fun. Researching and browsing is sometimes more compelling to them than actually making a purchase. The success of sites like Pinterest and Polyvore are proof of this. This idea of browsing through e-commerce sites just for entertainment’s sake has been coined ‘Fauxsumerism’. So an interesting site is definitely one way to get them on board.
5. Going social is your best bet
Although television advertising is still slightly ahead of the game with 70% influence, social media comes in a close second with 60% influence. But what makes this statistic even more credible is that 32% base their purchase decision on the information from social media. In other words, if your company or brand doesn’t have a social media account, you’re missing out.
6. Take advantage of the fact that they’re connected
We already know that millennials prefer the word of their buddies over what your creative director says. So why not tap into that resource? Given that millennials surpassed Gen-X’ers as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force back in 2015, it’s safe to assume that your employees have some serious convincing power.
In conclusion, marketing to millennials is a fairly new concept. Setting aside age-old notions in marketing and advertising, brands should now look towards adapting to the new “in’s” to get ahead in the game.