If there’s one generation continuously getting the short end of the stick when it comes to public perception, it’s Millennials. You know who I mean; the generation that’s labeled as "jobless" or "entitled" as they suck away at bottomless PSLs while selfie-sticking themselves into self-absorbed oblivion. While the last sentence was pure sarcasm, many don’t think highly of Millennials, therefore discounting their influence in a brand’s marketing initiatives. Well, this may come as a surprise, but Millennials make up 44% of the current workforce and collectively spend $600 billion per year, which means your marketing strategy needs to take them seriously. So how do you market to this emoji-obsessed generation? It really isn’t too difficult; it just needs a different approach than what traditional marketing offers.
- Be Authentic, Simple and Honest – Millennials won’t buy based off of BS. They go for brands who aren’t riddled with gimmicky sales pitch campaigns. Instead, they want to see the faces behind the brand/products. They want your offerings to be presented in a simple and easily digestible format. More importantly, they want you to evoke honesty. You might be saying "Hey! My brand is honest!" But if online reviews (by the way, Millennials tend to read at least 10 online reviews before making a purchase) say otherwise, you need to work hard to get credibility back, which takes making some noise in their world.
- Engage Them Through Social Media – We know you get beaten over the head with how important social media is, but we’re going to do it again anyway. The difference here is that we’re going to tell you interaction is the entire point of social media, and companies who talk to customers through it have great results. Studies show 64% of Millennials say companies should offer more ways to share their opinions online, meaning they want to talk about what you’re doing! If they want to talk about your offerings, why not engage in the conversation with them? This is a great way to build trust and show an audience you’re not another soulless organization foaming at the mouth for their dollar. Use social media to address questions and concerns, but also say thanks to customers singing your praises; it can go a long way. Social media influencers (people who have a massive following on social media) can also help your cause, but be warned, they give their honest truth about what you’re offering. Casey Neistat, an avid vlogger, is a perfect example.
- Create Personalized Experiences – Millennials also don’t appreciate "one size fits all." They want to feel that every product they buy or every brand they enjoy fits into their lifestyle. They also want to feel you’re making a vested interest in them since they’re purchasing from you. So how do you do that? A simple way is to curate product offerings specific to a customer’s buying habits. Doing this sends a signal to your Millennials showing you care about their wants and needs. Show them relevant products through a strategic email campaign for example. Or even send them a check up email if they haven’t purchased from you recently. These small gestures can create a customer for life without the appearance of a weak sales pitch.
Millennials aren’t a bad generation by any means; they simply don’t want the brand experiences of yesterday. Traditional marketing and advertising channels are something they don’t identify with, however, the principles still hold true. They want to be wanted and their spending habits go to those who make them feel that way. You can capture some of this market by presenting an honest brand identity, proper social media engagement and personalized shopping experiences. If you can provide these three areas, you’ll keep it 100 with a generation who isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.