As the largest living generation, born 1981-1996, Generation Y or “Millennials,” are the demographic every brand wants to attract.
But charming this generation is no small task. Millennials have short attention spans and aren’t as likely to respond to traditional marketing tactics as their predecessors.
What’s Different About Millennials?
They don’t have the disposable income that GenXers or Boomers have, and many of them carry the burden of student loans and small children at home. Nevertheless, as the largest percentage of the living population at 25%, they have an annual buying power of more than a trillion dollars, according to MillenialMarketing.com.
Another difference between Millennials and older generations is that they lack the brand loyalty of their forefathers. This means brands must be innovative in their approach to attract and maintain Millennial interest.
Having grown up in the dawn of the Internet, Millennials are the first generation to fully embrace technology. According to Pew Research, 9 out of 10 Millennials have a smart phone and rely heavily on other tech devices like tablets and laptops.
How to Market to Millennials
Now that you know some of the key differences between this generation and others, we’ve compiled a list of 7 ways to reach Millennials through marketing.
1. Create authentic, personalized content.
Millennials spend a lot of time online consuming content. They trust what they feel is authentic content, and when they find something valuable, they feel empowered to share it share it, like it, pin it, tweet it and so on.
According to Social Media Today, 90% of Millennials say authenticity is important to them when deciding which brands to support.
What is authentic content? Authentic content is content that tries to genuinely be of service to its audience without trying to manipulate them. If the reader feels tricked by the messaging or forced to do something, they are likely to be turned off from the brand altogether.
Similarly, Millennials are drawn to personalized content (as opposed to impersonal direct mail campaigns or radio spots.) Avoid impersonal and company-focused messaging – instead make the consumer (the Millennial) the focus of your marketing campaign.
2. Collaborate with them.
Millennials want to be involved in how products get created and sold. Consider building relationships with Millennial consumers by allowing for self-expression and customization.
Ask your consumers to submit ideas for new patterns or colors of your product. Solicit ideas for creative new ways to use your product. Allow consumers to personalize your product with a name or phrase.
Collaborating with your customers will boost engagement with your brand and keep your product line fresh.
3. Offer your product for rent.
If you sell a product that lends itself to being rented, leased or shared, consider this – Forbes says Millennials prefer use over ownership, saying they would rather pay full price to access an item when they need it as opposed to owning it.
Look at the popularity of brands like Rent the Runway, Airbnb and Red Carpet Rocks. These sites all allow the user rent, borrow or barter products as an alternative to purchasing them.
According to Inc., capitalizing on this “sharing” mentality is a smart move for modern businesses, especially those targeting Millennials. Offer more creative and feasible options so that, in case consumers can’t yet buy, they can at least try.
4. Give them an instant response.
It’s a fact, Millennials hate making phone calls (just ask their grandparents who never get a phone call returned!)
According to Forbes, Millennials prefer digital communication like email or social messaging over using the telephone because they feel digital communication is more efficient and allows for correspondence to be recorded in writing.
Your Millennial consumers will ask questions on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and expect an instant response, so be prepared to answer.
If you are advertising or posting regularly on social media platforms, expect consumers to want to interact with your brand through that platform.
5. Establish sincere relationships with influencers.
Millennials aren’t likely to believe your marketing director when she touts the advantages of your Best-Ever Widget. But they are likely to believe a real-life mom who is taking the time out of her busy day to tell her blog followers about a new product she swears by.
Millennials put extreme trust into the recommendations of influencers. Make it a priority to seek out and establish relationships with social media influencers who can become advocates for your brand.
6. Provide an interactive experience.
Millennials love live experiences. Use technology like Augmented Reality (AR) to bring catalog pages or print advertisements to life.
7. Listen to them.
Millennials tend to be very vocal about what they love and what they hate. You might be tempted to roll your eyes and walk away – instead, put their feedback to good use. This goes back to our first suggestion – collaborate with them. Ask consumers how they want to receive your product – in a kit? In a subscription? In a value pack? As a standalone item?
They will feel more invested in your products if they are being heard, and more likely to remain loyal to your brand.