Millennials — an entire generation of individuals who have not known a world without constant connectivity. Their phones have always been smart and Facebook had already connected everything around them. The internet isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity and anything they want—from information to products–are no more than a click away.
They are born into a time where access to digital technology is a given, as opposed to older generations who had to grapple and adjust to these technological advancements. They crave immediacy, with technology responding to them at the speed of need. So it’s safe to assume that what makes an impression on the Gen Ys, Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers, barely registers a blip on a Millennial’s mind.
With their smartphones, tablets and laptops in tow, the Millennials are exposed to an unending barrage of ads, pitches and catchy headlines daily. There is hardly anything new or different, which they have not been conditioned to see — this makes them particularly unsusceptible to marketing messages that don’t engage.
Bottomline – Millennials could arguably be the hardest demographic to market to today. And for those who have been tasked to do so, whether it’s through ads or events, activations or digital content, the need to transcend traditional methods of marketing in order to deliver something that will make Millennials relate and ultimately feel better about themselves is essential.
The question now is: how does one do that?
In our years of business marketing, we’ve come to recognize the nuances and differences of marketing across various generations and demographics. We thought we’d share some of our key insights on how to reach out and engage Millennials today —
Authenticity is key
Gone are the days when people would be watching their favorite TV program and be required to sit through commercials that basically tell them they have to take their word for everything they’re trying to sell.
Look at this from the perspective of a Millennial consuming media—browsing through their favorite blogs, visiting their preferred websites, sharing stories on their Facebook pages, retweeting tweets that share their ideas, pinning image they like, Instagramming a moment of their day, commenting their thoughts on everyone else’s pages. What’s the common denominator for all this engagement? It’s backed by what they know, they like—which guarantees the authenticity.
For Millennials, authenticity is tied back to a strong, user-centric environment; the job of marketers now is to tap into those users so that it can engage them. Take a look at a Millennial’s shopping habits. More than a product itself, a Millennial shopper will make their decision based on the reviews left by others who have purchased the same product; opinions on a relevant topic are formed by asking questions and engaging in public discourse on social media; trends are supported by users who feel empowered enough to share their lives online.
Which leads us to the second insight…
There is a need to re-imagine traditional methods of marketing
This isn’t to say that traditional, long-standing marketing initiatives are out; rather it’s all about finding a way to seamlessly combine tried-and-true methods with modern, technology-based ways to reach out and engage.
Outbound marketing, typically defined by print ads, TV commercials and radio spots are here to stay; but to gain results, they have to be complemented with a more interactive way to engage the target audience.
So for example, if a print ad for a specific event you’re promoting runs on the paper, why not tie it back to a social media platform so that Millennial participants can easily share the experience via a photo or a video—thus allowing them to create the kind of authentic content that they are craving for?
Get them to trust you
Resist the urge to make it all about the brand or service that you are selling. Ask yourself what the benefit is and drill down on that.
Beyond branding, how can what you’re selling move your target audience’s lives? Millennials are very focused on the end result, delivered by personalities that they can trust. They seek guidance, sure—but a Millennial won’t seek it out from people that can’t rely on.
Set aside time in your campaign to address a Millennial’s need to consume valuable information—whether it’s through an informative blog post, a video tutorial or any platform you choose.
Whether you’re doing it through events, experiences or content, emotional engagement today is defined by how you can make Millennials feel better about themselves by identifying them with something positive.
It’s almost a bit like building their egos—but by effectively doing so, this can elevate a brand into something beyond just a physical product or an actual service; it turns a brand into something worth sharing and telling other people about.
Know your statistics
While governed by certain predictable behaviours, it still pays to stay ahead of the game by keeping yourself up-to-date with the latest statistics. A recent article published towards the latter end of last year gave us this rundown of relevant numbers that will give you a clearer picture of what it means to speak to Millenials in this day and age.
Here are some key numbers to take note of—
- Highlighting the rising significance of the Millennial market, advertisers are spending 500 percent more on digital media to reach Millennials than on media to reach all other consumer groups.
- A huge chunk of smartphone or tablet using Millennials will abandon a site if the app or site is buggy—putting into focus the importance of user experience.
- Fifty-one percent of 18 to 34 year olds are very likely to publicize their complaints about poor online shopping experience on social media.
- By 2018, a report notes that Millennials will have the highest spending power versus any other generation.
- 87% of Millennials use at least two gadgets everyday day—a reminder that sites have to be optimized to create a seamless user experience whether on mobile or desktop.
- 75% understand the concept of giving back—which makes corporate social responsibility a big part of a brand’s growth strategy in this day and age.
Is your brand reaching and effectively engaging this very powerful demographic that’s set to fundamentally shift the way you do business? If not, get in touch with us and give us a call so we can discuss how you can create a campaign that’s going to draw the attention and loyalty of this generation.