Millennials have gotten a “bad rap.” Baby boomers and Gen Xer’s complain that they are self-absorbed, have no real work ethic, and make unreasonable demands of employers and businesses they patronize.
Let’s take a quick look at this generation and see what it faces.
- They have enormous student loan debt that previous generations have not had. This colors much of their finances, including making major purchases.
- They see their parents moving into retirement with financial uncertainty, despite having given their lives (and “souls”) to the companies they have worked for. They are not prone to such loyalty.
- The millennials inheriting a world where never-ending wars seem to be the norm, where a heavily damaged environment is not being addressed, where huge corporations control their democracy, and where justice and equality are still not achievable for many sub-populations. This is unacceptable to them (even though their perceptions can be somewhat exaggerated).
- Generation z are the most highly educated generation, in comparison with their elders.
- They have decided that life must be more than the daily grind of work, a house in the suburbs, 2.4 kids, and the accumulation of “things.”
- The new generation are wary of companies that bombard them with advertisements for products or services, even though they may want or need them. They do their research, rely on friends’ opinions, and demand meaningful connections with businesses they choose to patronize.
How Does All of This Impact Marketing to Millennials ?
Millennials have over $200 billion in buying power. That’s a hefty amount to compete for.
Content marketers must take heed if they are to “reach” this generation. Marketing to millennials (an even Gen Z coming forward) requires research, careful thought, and a much more subdued approach. Here are 14 tips for doing just that.
- At the age of marketing to millennials you must to dump any hard sell advertising you currently use. They see it as disingenuous, suspicious, and intrusive.
- Tell your story. How did you get started? What are your guiding principles and values? How are the people in your business just like them? What do happy customers have to say about you? (NOT traditional testimonials – real photos and videos of those customers – it’s known as social proof)
- Be social on social media. Facebook and Instagram are not the places for hard sells. They are the places where you will develop relationships, entertain, educate, and even inspire.
- Use your blog to provide value to your millennial audience. Address their interests, issues, problems, and pain points. If you sell grooming products, then speak to grooming in general, not your products.
- In marketing to millennials use humor in your content. If you want a great example of a company that demonstrates its humor and addresses a pain point, look no further than the explainer video of Dollar Shave Club. It’s hysterical, gets the point across, and solves a problem. And it’s all done in less than 90 seconds. Which brings us to the next tip.
- Get to the Point. Millennials are not interested in lengthy “spins”. When they search for information about products or services, they want short, simple responses.
- Demonstrate social responsibility. This is an abiding concern for millennials. They want to do business with companies that have a stake in their issues – the environment, diversity, equality, charitable causes. They like Toms Shoes because Toms Shoes focuses so much of its content on the growing number of causes it supports – shoes for needy children, eyeglasses, water, neonatal care.
- Use visuals far more than text. Millennials are on their phones, not their PC’s. And they don’t want to read, they want to see. Photos, infographics, videos that they can view on the go are the content they will access.
- Drop the academic tone. While millennials are the best-educated generation thus far, they have moved on from their academic lives. They have never been fans of formal English, and many even used academic writing services to produce their essays and papers. They want a style and tone that is informal, conversational, and may even include some curse words. Research studies are not as compelling as are the opinions of their peers.
- Be mindful of frequency. You may think that SMS messaging is the best thing since “sliced bread,” but if you bombard millennials with content, even though it might be quite entertaining, they will tire of you.
- Use Twitter to generate conversations and opinions. Ask questions, and respond to every response you get. When they see you as involved in their issues and opinions, they come to like you. And “like” builds trust.
- Psychological tricks are less effective. Millennials are not dummies. They recognize all of the propaganda and psychological tricks that advertisers have used for decades. Be genuine, transparent, and present your value honestly.
- Incorporate user-generated content whenever possible in marketing to millennials. This has been one of the major factors in the success of ModCloth, a clothier for millennial women. It has engaged it customers through contests, publishes the entries and the results; it openly solicits photos and videos of its customers sporting items they have happily purchased; engaging customers in these ways has created a following of hugely loyal audience.
- Never let a comment or a question go unanswered – on your blog, on your social media accounts, or your website. Lack of response tells your audience that you don’t care enough – a big turnoff for millennials.
Don’t Stop Here
These are 14 tips that are key for marketing to millennials today, at this moment. But things change. Technology evolves, and millennials evolve with it. Never think that you are totally on top of marketing to millennials. Do the research and gather the data that speaks to their purchasing behaviors, their pain points, and their needs. Look at new technologies (e.g., AR/VR) that they are embracing and find ways to incorporate that into your content. As millennials age, their needs may as well. Staying “current” will require continued work on your part.
Jerry Rhodes runs his own blog, Studyzone.xyz. He is also the editor of Studicus.com. Jerry is a very versatile writer, being able to write about almost anything, from finance to astronomy. He enjoys hiking and spending time with his family. Jerry’s favorite dessert is apple pie and he will always use any opportunity to write about gastronomy. Jerry shows his witty personality in his writing and this is something that his readers will recognize him for.