I remember the day I found out…
I was hunched over my typewriter drinking an Ethiopean blend in my favorite ripped flannel, non-prescription, wide-framed glasses askew on my face. My favorite Queen vinal was playing in the background making perfect time with the tapping of my fingers on keys. I began mouthing the lyrics to “Don’t Stop Me Now,” I was in my element.
That is….until my father walked in.
“Seriously??” he laughed. “You freakin’ hipster Millenials! Get a job and get out of my basement!”
I took the news hard…I could handle the hipster part (chicks dig the scrawny, sensative poet type), but a Millennial..? Me? I knew I would have to confront the fact eventually…I mean I was born in the 90’s so I guess I always knew…I just never thought I would have to face the truth so soon.
I. Am. A Millennial.
Millennials make up 1/4 of the nation’s population outnumbering Baby Boomers by roughly 7.5 million, which has marketers asking themselves: “Just how can we reach this generation.” Being a Millennial myself, I thought I would share some of my personal insights on the topic. Here are a few things you can do to reach Millennials through digital marketing.
1. Give Your Brand a Unique Personality
Whether it’s the cars they drive, the foods they eat, the clothes they wear, the insurance they have; Millennials believe that the brands they choose mean something. They believe that a brand directly reflects an individual’s personality, and as such they use brands to express themselves.
Millennials grew up with technology. I don’t mean they grew up with cell phones in hand and tablets in lap (though many did), I mean technology has been growing with them. And as technology has changed so has digital marketing. Millennials have been interacting with brands online since they were old enough to have an online presence and they have been buying online since they had money in their pockets.
What does this mean? They are aware of their options. They can order from any company anywhere, at anytime. So why wouldn’t they choose a brand that fits them?
It isn’t about the product or the quality for Millennials, it’s about brand personality. If you can’t show Millennials a brand that matches their “individual” personality they won’t buy from you.
2. Improve Your Digital Interaction.
It shouldn’t be a suprise to anyone that Millenials demand high forms of interaction to hold their attention. Whether it’s through vlogging, podcasting, or gamification, you are going to need to flood your social media streams with more than just words and images if you want to reach this demographic.
It’s rare that a Millennial isn’t multi-tasking. So how do you avoid becomng just more noise in their feed?
Interaction isn’t all about your ability to beat out the competition’s content on social media, or your commercial’s ability to rip audiences away from their phones, it is about human engagement. Millennials want to feel like the company they have chosen cares. They are exposed to ads 24 hours a day 7 days a week. They need you to interact with them on a personal level. In a digital world, they need a form of engagement that feels real.
3. Sell an Experience Not a Product
Now more than ever, companies are focused on selling an experience, not a product. In fact, 52% of consumers 18 to 34 are spending their money on experience related activities, an increase of 13% when compared with older shoppers.
Millennials are comfortable with all forms of online buying, and many companies are realizing this, creating apps and programs that make the online buying experience even easier. This means that with the click of a button, a product can be theirs.
What they don’t have is an experience. The life schedule Millennials bleakly imagine for themselves goes something like this.
- Graduate from High School
- Graduate from College
- Start a Career
- Start a Family
- Continue Career until retirement
You’ll notice there isn’t a lot of room for fun or experience in that schedule. Millennials want to take a break from a life of paying off college loans to live life to the fullest. You have to sell them that with your product or service.
4. Give Millennials a Revolution
Millennials grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. They grew up hearing about World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War and the peaceful protests surrounding it . Their parents lived through Roe Vs. Wade, the Watergate Scandal, the Rodney King Riots, and (on a lighter note) the best era of music there ever was. Millennials feel like they have missed out on something. They want their revolution. They want something to fight for!
You have to give them that something.
How? Align yourself with a cause. When marketing to Millennials one of the best things you can do is give them something to support. Make your company stand for something.
Target is one company that has done this well. With various ads featuring same-sex couples, they have aligned themselves with what many Millennials consider to be the civil rights movement of their era, marriage equality. Regardless of your feelings on the “political moves” the company has made, there is no denying that they have brilliantly appealed to the younger generation’s more liberal beliefs.
You don’t have to be as bold as Target when aligning yourself with a cause. In fact, you shouldn’t be unless you know your company can take the hit from those that oppose your cause. Choose something less political. No one is going to boycott you donating a tenth of your proceeds to a local animal shelter or soup kitchen.
5. Millennials Love Inbound:
Millennials do not like to be marketed to in the traditional way. That is, Millennials are used to holding all the power in seller-buyer interactions. They do not want to be bogged down by a constant stream of ads interupting their daily lives. Millennials find traditional marketing tactics obstructive and abbrasive. They want the choice of interacting with your company, they do not want to be forced into it. And that is why Millennials love Inbound Marketing.
It isn’t enough to have a hand in the digital marketing world. Everyone is doing digital marketing now, you have to go the extra step. Make Millennials come to you. They will love you for not interferring with their daily desires, and if you have the right product/service/content for them, they will continue visiting your company and interacting with your brand.
With these things in mind, you should have no problem reaching Millennials (I should know). But if you want help nailing down this demographic, download our worksheet below!