June 7, 2016
Marketing To Millennials
As a millennial, I get tired of reading articles about marketing to millennials written by people who are too old to be writing about millennials. I’m tired of the labels that get slapped on us and the speculation in regard to what we care about. I’m tired of being a buzzword.
As you can see from the graphic above, Millennials have the power to make or break a business, with $1.68T in buying power. So I’m here to set the record straight about appealing to the millennial generation.
- We’re going to do our research. And a lot of it. Be ready with relevant content.
- We’re not lazy or selfish, we just don’t subscribe to arbitrary rules we inherited from past generations. Most of us are hardworking members of society.
- BUZZWORD ALERT: Yes, we do value “experiences” over stuff. Sort of. But we still need to dress in the morning, we need laptops to work, phones for calling/texting and plenty of other stuff. We value experiences over unnecessary junk. Not every millennial is a minimalist who only owns one outfit, one pair of shoes and a bike.
- We love the convenience, not out of laziness but so that we can spend more time with family and friends. And we won’t apologize for it.
- We can be narcissistic, but find me a generation that wasn’t.
- What you call entitled, we call self-respect. We’ve seen our parents deal with issues that we won’t put up with.
- We like accessibility. We’d prefer supporting the brewery or coffee roaster that makes their product in our neighborhood and we like getting to know the owners. This relationship is part of the brand to us.
So now that I’ve got that out of the way, how do you go about marketing to millennials?
For starters, accept that “millennial” is a huge group and nothing you do is going to appeal to us all. Additionally, when marketing to millennials, you still have to be as specific as possible when defining your audience. Saying that your audience is millennials is just plain lazy. I have more in common with many 40-year-olds than most millennials that I know. So take the time to do the research and define your target audience in detail.
Second, we love interacting with brands via social media. Many times it will be to complain, but just as often it will be to compliment. RT’s and mentions on Twitter mean something to us. Keep that in mind.
Third, we are always looking for two basic things: 1) Products that make our lives easier 2) Products that make our lives more enjoyable. If you can solve one, or both, of these you are off to a great start.
Fourth, while we do prefer local brands to national, whichever you are: make sure that you give us an inside look at your company when you are marketing to millennials. Show us your process, share your brand story, make your owners and employees part of that story.
Millennials are just a huge group of human beings and effectively marketing to them means accepting that.
Whichever subset of millennials you choose, content won’t work on us unless there’s a relevant point to it. No matter how sentimental/funny/etc. commercials may be, if there is no benefit or no call to action, it is not a good commercial. You have to have both – entertainment value and a higher purpose. And you have to show us why we would want to follow your CTA.
Marketing to millennials is a widely covered topic. However, one that I think is sort of superfluous because it really is just marketing. Know your audience, figure out what works/what doesn’t, constantly evaluate ROI and please your customers. Generalize and stereotype at your own peril.