How to Market to Millennials
Why do we need to focus on Millennials and why should we adjust our marketing efforts to get their attention?
“Millennials, or America’s youth born between 1982 and 2000, now number 83.1 million and represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population. Their size exceeds that of the 75.4 million baby boomers, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today.” – US Census (June 2015)
Depending on your product, Millennials now could be up to 25% of your customer base and you could be losing sales if you are essentially ignoring how those aged 18-34 communicate. Because if you understand their media habits, you can determine where best to connect to them. If you understand what their values, you determine the content. If you understand millennials’ buying patterns, then you know how to market and sell your product.
Where Millennials Get Informed
“84 percent of Millennials don’t trust traditional advertising.” – Study by the McCarthy Group
“Just 19% of Millennials said they had paid for newspaper content in the 30 days leading up to the survey, lower than other age groups. And 29% of Millennials never read print newspapers.” – BizReport.
Gone are the days of traditional marketing of newspapers, radio or TV ads if you’re engaging millennials. Not only are they not engaged, they do not trust the sales pitch in typical ads.
“Outbound marketing methods, like magazine ads, direct mail campaigns, and radio spots, do not impress Millennials.” – Hubspot
Studies show that millennials are finding new ways to get their news, brand recommendations and general information like social media, blogs, and websites. They are spending an average of 25 hours per week online and they are more influenced by user-generated content and their friends’ feedback.
“Five out of six millennials in the US connect with companies on social media networks.” – SDL
Be consistent, original, entertaining and authentic on your social media platforms. Boost your posts to increase your audience and run ads that are unique and get attention on social media. For just a small percentage of the costs you’d spend on traditional marketing, you will get a much higher reach and increased traffic to your website or blog.
What Millennials Care About
They are more educated than any other generation, they are racially diverse (43% are nonwhite), they’re less likely to marry, and they wield about $1.3 trillion in annual buying power in the US. Tap into the differences of Generation Y when writing content, so you can appeal to their interests, their values and their concerns. Showcase your Gen Y staff members, show diversity in your customer base by using models of different racial backgrounds on your website and ads, and address the needs of single working professionals or full-time college students in your content.
“43 percent of Millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news.” – Forbes.com
“Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts, who happen to be strangers, than advertisements and 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites.” – Hubspot
They are more likely to read, share and make a purchase based on authentic content, rather than brand ads. Content marketing written with a unique perspective, an authentic voice and on topics that millennials care about is going to accomplish so much more than an commercialized ad that you may spend $1000’s to advertise. There are marketing companies spewing out blogs, emails and social media posts that has very little real readable content, but is more focused on keyword promotion. So you want to hire a content writer that authors unique and personalized articles rather than content factories.
“61% of millennials are worried about the state of the world and feel personally responsible to make a difference. – Huffington Post
Showcase the charitable side of your business, the affiliations you have with local non-profits, and promote their cause. If you are a good corporate citizen, you will make customers of any generation feel good about buying your products. Choose a cause close to your heart, donate a portion of your proceeds, bring awareness to the cause, or host fundraising events. Use your content marketing channels to promote your company’s involvement, as this will enhance your brand as a business not just focused on profits but on helping those in need.
Millennials’ Buying Patterns
“For 95% of millennials in the US, friends are the most credible source of product information.” – SocialChorus
When it comes to buying decisions, they are more likely to make decisions based on their friends’ posts, pins, tweets and are 84% of millennials are more influenced by user-generated content (your customers’ reviews, testimonials or comments). So make sure you offer multiple ways to have customers review your product on your website, social media accounts, and your store-front. When comments negative or positive are made, you must respond! Millennials want to see companies that care and are willing to make changes based on their interaction. They want to feel like co-creators in your products and services, as they often feel misunderstood by Generation X and prior generations so listen and be responsive.
Nearly half (44%) of millennials are willing to promote products or services through social media in exchange for rewards. –Aimia
Utilize their willingness to express their opinion by adding functionality to your website so you can offering dynamic user interaction. Make sure your blogs offer and encourage sharing. Ask for reviews on website social media as well as Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon, etc. reviews. Offering a drawing, giveaway or coupon for those who follow through and you’ll definitely see an increase in response. They want to be heard, you need reviews to encourage increase sales, and customers love free stuff, so its a win-win-win situation.
“40 percent of Millennials make wish lists of products they want to buy.” (The Intelligence Group).
Millennials are known as a generation of window-shoppers. They will spend hours of perusing Pinterest, and feel just as much satisfaction in pinning the item to their selected board than actually making the purchase. This is known as “Fauxsumerism”, where the challenge has increased converting browsers into buyers for companies. Why? This is a generation who has lived through a recession as well as being weighed down with student loans. So don’t just promote your product on Pinterest and other social media platforms, but offer limited-time discounts that even millennials can’t refuse. Once you’ve made the conversion to buyer, offer loyalty rewards to encourage repeat purchases. (77% of millennials participate in reward programs.)
Many of the above suggestions can be applied to consumers of all ages. So by adjusting your marketing strategy, without alienating other age groups, and you will see an overall improvement in your response, your engagement, your share-ability and your overall sales. By being responsive to the changes in our world and the way we communicate, your brand’s value will improve as it shows you care enough to change. And we all know, change is hard but with it comes growth and better understanding.