5 Tips for Marketing to this Remarkably Different Generation
Millennials are more than “Okay, Boomer” memes, fancy coffees, and hipster clothes.
So if you are only marketing to these traits, you are really missing the mark.
You probably know this generation as the one that has been “killing” things valued by older generations, such as ushering in the fall of broadcast TV in favor of streaming services, or the hit that fast food chains have taken by this health-conscious generation.
But despite this reputation of killing the past, Millennials are nostalgic in preserving other aspects of previous generations, like polaroid cameras, needlepoint, home gardening and the revival of vinyl records.
Successfully marketing to them means realizing this generation is very different from previous ones as well as accommodating how they think and consume.
So who are Millennials really? Millennials, or Generation Y as they are sometimes called, are generally defined as those born between 1981 and 1996. This means that Millennials aren’t kids anymore, with the youngest being in their mid-20s and the oldest in their early 40s.
Beyond the year designation, there is much more to this generation. They have been described as the first global generation, having grown up in the age of the internet (though some of the oldest Millennials will have known a time before dial up became a household thing). Growing up with quickly evolving technology, society has dubbed them “digital natives,” meaning they are very familiar with technology.
It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses for Millennials. September 11th played a big part in their worldview as well as the Great Recession. Many of them were graduating from high school and college during significant economic disruption, leaving many to take low wage jobs or deal with unemployment and mounds of college debt.
Furthermore, many of the commonly held beliefs on traits of this group largely apply to affluent, white Millennials, despite the fact that this group is more racially and ethnically diverse than previous generations.
But despite the hardships Millennials have faced, they are willing to spend money on things they find important or are of value to them.
How to Effectively Market to Millennials
1 | Optimize for Mobile
This on-the-go generation loves to use their phones and tablets to view content, find information, and shop. So make sure that your landing pages are mobile friendly and load quickly. If you don’t, you’ll lose this group before you even get a chance to court them. Even on a small phone screen, there should be a clear call to action.
2 | Go Where They Are
Millennials spend quite a bit of time online, using social media and streaming services. In fact, this generation watches on average nearly six hours of online video per week. Some of the biggest platforms you’ll find Millennials using include YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. TikTok is also quickly becoming a favorite social platform of this generation. Don’t forget that email is also a great marketing tool to reach this generation. No matter the digital platform that is best for your brand to reach Millennials, there is one thing that is clear–don’t waste your time or money on traditional marketing methods to reach this generation. Your postcard via snail mail will end up right in their recycle bin without a second glance.
3 | Create Authentic Content
Millennials are endlessly scrolling online; this generation feels empowered by all the remarkable content they routinely discover and crave content-driven media. When they find something empowering or of value, you can bet they will share it online. What makes this type of content resonate so well with Millennials? They trust what they feel is authentic content.
What they find particularly authentic are user-centric environments that engage them. They also trust relevant and authentic opinions from real product users, making user-generated content (UGC) key to marketing effectively to this value-conscious generation. It also means marketing with intention, and not gimmicks.
4 | Collaborate
In the past, marketers would develop a product or service and hope that their target market would be interested in it enough to consume it. But when it comes to Millennials, they want to play a bigger part. How? They want to be involved with how products get created or how services are offered. In order to be successful, your brand will need to be willing to build relationships with your Millennial consumers by fueling their self-expression or by collaborating with them in some way. For example, Coca-Cola used online co-creation to gather expressions of its brand promise. This brings us back to UGC, but it was done in a way that allowed Millennials to be creative and pour a bit of themselves into the product. This gave Millennials the feeling of collaborating while also building authenticity.
5 | Be Socially Conscious
Finally, being socially conscious, charitable, and environmentally friendly goes a long way with Millennials. They are more willing to buy from companies where their purchase supports a cause they believe in and even willing to pay more for their purchase. For them, it is about values. So don’t be afraid to take a stand on issues that are important to them.