The very word strikes fear in the heart of marketing managers and analysts alike. Millennials consumers, ages 21-34, one third of whom hold college degrees, making them the most educated generation in the history of this country and 85 percent of whom own smartphones which they use them at least 45 times a day are poised to wield $1.3 trillion in buying power by 2018. Obviously reaching this group, born hooked on social media, with iPhones in their hands, is critical for the long term survival of most brands.
Yet most marketers fail to reach millennials consumers generation. Why?
Not only are they failing to reach them, they are completely off mark about what motivates and what speaks to this tech-savvy, socially-minded group of consumers. Many a digital marketing manager assumes that by slapping emojis on packaging and displaying a Twitter handle, they’ll come across as understanding what makes Gen Y tick. But they have got it all wrong.
Here is the other thing about this device obsessed group – they can smell empty messages mile away, a natural result of growing up in an over-exposed digital society. To really appeal to millennials, you have to deliver an authentic message, crafted with their interests, rather than your pocket, in mind. Here are some tips, culled from the experts about how to create a message that resonates with this ever-important demographic group.
So how can you win the millennial generation consumer?
- Millennial consumers love their tech – As we mentioned above, millennials are true digital natives. Many of them don’t remember what life was like before iPhones, let alone the Internet. As such, the fact that they are constantly connected, though it might seem overindulgent to other demographic groups, is totally warranted. And simply put, if you want to reach millennials, you MUST rock your digital marketing to millennials game. Their very lives are a digital experience. This group shops for clothing, gadgets and even groceries online. They communicate via text based apps like whatsapp and Facebook messenger. Know this above all when you think about creating your game plan to reach them.
- Millennials live to share and inform. Having grown up in a Facebook world, sharing information is simply second nature to millennials. In fact they do it all day, mostly without even thinking about it. They snap pictures to Instagram and Snapchat all day and they share their thoughts constantly via Facebook and Twitter. This urge to share can have huge ramifications for a brand. Delight them, they’ll tell their friends on all their networks ASAP. Make them angry, and well, their friend will know about it and so will all their friend’s friends… You get the picture. Remember this power of sharing with each interaction.
- Some love to become brand evangelists – Among this group of sharing-inclined consumers, an elite few are uber-sharers. These are the people with the potential to become brand evangelists. Not only do they sing praises from digital mountain tops for the brands they love, they get others charged as well. This authentic word of mouth marketing is worth it’s weight in gold. There isn’t any good way to sort out who among your customers has the potential to become the one who others will turn to regarding your brand – so treat them all as if they could be that “one” – soon enough that digital mountaintop will start getting pretty crowded.
- Their experience isn’t linear. As a matter of fact, our society and its values are not the same as they were 20 years ago. As such, today’s millennial isn’t necessarily thinking about settling down or making huge purchases like homes any time soon. Some look to spend their free time giving to causes and others want to spend their free time traveling and experiencing life hands on. The point is that while millennials generation might be all grown up, it’s not the same linear delve into adulthood that other demographic groups once apron a time experienced. Understand their reality when you try to reach them or you’ll be out of touch.
- They don’t have the same social groups – Speaking of their delve into adulthood, they tend to see themselves through different societal lenses then marketers might expect. Generation millennials dedicated to their own “causes” regardless of how lofty or mundane a cause it might be. They expect that the brands they give their hard-earned money to will also be socially-conscious as they want to be.
- They love to experience things first hand – Millennials are masters of testing the waters. While they love to hear about great experiences their friends have, what they really crave is jumping right into the thick of the action. Giving them an experience they can sink their teeth into speaks to this nuance of their collective personality.
- They need to control their experiences – Just as this generation love to experience things first hand, they really want to be the ones calling the shots while having their experience. They want to control how and where they find information and how it’s delivered to them. Giving them the self-service tools to control their experiences while they are on your site is exactly what the doctor ordered.
- Millennial will be paying off loans for a long time – Millennials have the dubious distinction of being one of the worst off demographic groups when it comes to gaining their financial independence. Recent studies show that the average college grad is $40,000 in the red, a full 10,000 bucks worse off than their elders were when they graduated university 10 years ago. Inevitably, this impacts their buying habits. Or at least it should. Though it might seem like Millennials don’t really give much thought to their buying habits, they don’t have the financial freedom to snap up every cool gadget that comes out. Make sure your offering is actually worth it to their limited budgets.
- They see through marketing, they don’t trust traditional advertising – Chalk it up to the fact that Millennials have been fed a strict diet of social media and blogs their entire lives – it’s really no wonder that traditional marketing tactics are pretty much useless when it comes to influencing Millennials. And very often, these interruptive tactics turn them off. They skip commercials with their TIVOs and block online ads on websites. In fact, studies show that a dwindling 1 percent of Millennials are influenced by TV and print ads. Don’t waste your millennial marketing bucks here.
- Millennials do trust their friends – While traditional means don’t grab them worth a dime. Millennials trust what they hear from their friends. Word of mouth recommendations from friends and positive reviews from trusted blogs means worlds more to them than banner ads, tv commercials and magazine spreads ever could. What real life messages are your customers passing on about your brand?
- They love gathering useful content that speaks to them. Another facet of this sharing obsessed culture is that they also love to pass on valuable content to their friends. They love passing on engaging relevant and original content in the form of blogs, articles, videos, games, you name it – as long as it’s something captivating and useful it can be shared. Creating shareable content is a great way to gain exposure in a way that resonates with this group in a real way.
- Millennials Generation spend more – More time and more money online, that is. On average, Millennials spend about $2000 more on online spending and on IRL spending than other demographic groups do. And just as you would imagine, they use their devices to check prices online as they shop and make purchasing decisions. Sure, hipster girl might love your pale blue vintage dress with the little pink flowers but she can and will look for it on other sites to make sure she is getting the very best deal. Make sure to bake value into each and every product to keep them focused on your brand.
When marketing to millennials, above all keep it real and show this generation who you really are. Get to know them personally and let them know about you and what your brand stands for.
And they will come back for more.