Run a brief Internet search and you will find plenty of conflicting information regarding when the Millennial generation was actually born. The New York Times has reported the time frame as 1978 to 1998, while Newsweek magazine says millennials were born between 1977 and 1994.
Whatever the actual dates are, we know that millennials are eclipsing the current size of the Baby Boomer generation. In the United States, millennials now account for a quarter of the entire population with almost two-fifths making up the workforce.
Because the Millennial generation is such a large demographic, it’ll also become the biggest market. Naturally, businesses want to know how to capture their attention. In a survey by Accenture, Millennial shoppers spend an estimated $600 billion each year, and by 2020 that amount is expected to grow to $1.4 trillion — 30 percent of total retail sales.
But since millennials were born and raised in the information age, we know traditional marketing strategies don’t work on them. So how do you market to consumers who grew up around technology amidst the digital revolution?
Don’t Call Them Millennials
No one hates the moniker “millennials” more than millennials. In fact, a study from Pew Research found that only 40 percent of millennials even identify with the word “millennial,” compared to nearly 80 percent of those aged 51 to 69 who consider themselves part of the Baby Boomer generation. If you’re going to target millennials, don’t make the mistake of using copy like “especially for millennials” or “the brand millennials love!”
To reach millennials, you need to play where they play — social media. This means Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube — get social. However, you can’t just approach them on social media and try selling to them or leaving comments to check out your website.
Particularly when it comes to the Millennial generation, content is king. Develop effective content marketing strategies and show genuine interest in educating them and providing information that addresses their pain points. Or you can just captivate them with interesting content that puts you on their radar.
Collaborate with Influencers
Hard sells don’t work on millennials; they’re looking for meaningful relationships.
Millennials want to trust brands before purchasing from them. Here, peer-to-peer marketing is rather effective. Millennials are generally more willing to try a product when they know someone who has not only used it in the past, but approved of it as well. Remember: Millennials have a greater ability to relate to social media influencers. Thus, they trust them more than any traditional messaging through newspaper, radio, television, magazines, and so on.
Mobile matters. Millennials are digital natives, and 85 percent of them own a smartphone. They’re using their mobiles for everything from communicating through text and calling, to scrolling through their social media feeds, to researching.
According to Alliance Data, 84 percent of millennials use smartphones to assist with shopping in-store and about 34 percent use a smartphone to look at product reviews while they’re in a store shopping. They expect that their mobile devices can help them streamline and simplify their shopping process. If you want to market to millennials, make sure your brand has a mobile resource and that you’re leveraging mobile engagement in your marketing strategy.
In conclusion, to effectively market to the Millennial generation, you must make technology work for you. As a generation born around tech, you need to leverage the same innovations they’re leveraging. And the best way to get their attention is by identifying where they spend their time and recognizing which channels are most effective for your niche.
Think creatively and let go of traditional marketing strategies that simply don’t work on this generation.
Until the next time,