Millennials are an important and influential demographic but they can pose a challenge to companies who are unsure how to engage them.
Millennials are an incredibly important demographic for most businesses. They are the generation that has grown up with social media, but remember a time before the internet became a household necessity. This gives them a unique perspective, but can make them particularly challenging to engage with.
As the largest demographic, millennials hold around $170 billion of purchasing power. They're also among the most active users on social media platforms, meaning you could be losing a huge number of potential customers by not targeting them. These figures show that you can't afford to not market to millennials, but for many businesses this is far out of their comfort zone.
This crucial generation is more liberal than ever, want more from the businesses they buy from, and has a much higher level of digital and marketing understanding than their older counterparts. These factors alone mean that many brands have had to change their strategies to engage with this demographic.
Improving how your company targets millennials will help your business develop its marketing strategy and reach its goals. So what do you need to know?
Go to them
Millennials are on more social platforms than almost any other demographic but it's important to observe the different habits they have. For example, most people will use Twitter to talk to brands, while Facebook is used for communicating with family and friends. Other platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are normally used to find inspiration, whether for interiors, health or fashion. This aspirational marketing is a big part of targeting millennials and can be effective if you do your research.
You need to understand the millennials you want to target and find how they use social media. It may be that your design-based product will fare well on image-focused platforms like Instagram but you need to also maintain a presence on Twitter to address their complaints or queries.
They're not the same
Typical definitions have millennials as being born between 1980 and 2000. This means the oldest are in their late 20s/early 30s and the youngest are just about to leave their teens. There is a considerable divide between the two ends of the demographic and plenty of differences in between.
Millennials who were born in the 1980s or 1990s have likely been active on social media for most of their adult life, as well as a great portion of their teen years. Many have learned lessons about how to appropriately use social media platforms and what information they want to share online, while their younger counterparts are still eager to share their lives.
With many millennials feeling social media fatigue, they expect brands to offer them something genuinely interesting to engage them online. This may be finding ways to advertise your products in an Instagram-worthy manner or backing a social issue, what matters is that you find something the demographic will genuinely care about and drop the hard sell.
Personalization is key
Millennials don't want to feel like just another consumer to you, they want you to understand and address their pain points. Because of the great diversity in this group, your marketing approach can't be a one-size-fits-all model even for this single demographic. The key is to find a way to organically enter their lifestyle, whether by partnering with a blogger they value or championing a social justice campaign that's important to them.
Millennials grew up with product reviews and the social tools to share them. This is one of the reasons why influencer marketing has become such a significant way of engaging with this group. It can also be an effective way to raise brand awareness and build the relationships, which are so important to millennials, between consumer and company.
Loyalty is a constant process
Unlike the baby boomer generation who will stay with well-known brands for security, millennials are happy to try out new companies if they don't feel valued. The increasing importance of millennials has forced many brands to actively gain trust and eventual loyalty from consumers.
However, this doesn't mean that millennials are precious snowflakes that are impossible to please. Although their loyalty may be harder to earn in the first place, once you have their trust, millennials are likely to stick with you and even advocate you.
It's not just technology
Millennials are the last generation who remember playing outside as a child, as well as spending time on a games console. Most marketers make a big mistake by dismissing this demographic as completely tech-obsessed. Millennials are able to understand and use tech, but only up to the point where it makes their lives convenient. They are also aware of the dangers and - with many approaching parenthood or raising children - don't want to become absorbed by their devices.
For many millennials, the biggest advantage of technology is that it allows people to connect, which is perhaps one of the most simple and oldest of human traits.
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