Consumer stereotypes would have you believe that millennials are cheap, fickle customers who only make purchases online. If your goal is to market to them, you’re better off not buying into these myths.
Pew Research Center considers millennials the generation born between 1981 and 1996. They’re highly educated — almost 50 percent have either attended or are currently attending a higher-education institution. Millennials are also an extremely tech-savvy generation, having grown up during the advent of household computers and the internet.
The reality is that millennials are willing to spend money, and in areas such as eating out, they outspend other generations by a fair margin. However, because of the sheer number of products available to them, they tend to do research before buying; Goldman Sachs reports that 57 percent of millennials will compare prices in store before making a purchase.
Marketers looking to sell to this generation will need to find ways to stand out from the competition. These are some of the best practices for attracting the attention of skeptical Millennials.
1. Focus on producing high-quality video.
Video is no longer optional for marketers, as evidenced by an Animoto study that found 80 percent of surveyed Millennials use videos to conduct research before making a purchase. Still, that doesn’t mean video needs to be present in every step of your marketing strategy. It’s more about producing high-quality content than churning out as many videos as you can.
Well-crafted video appeals to potential customers on an emotional level, and it helps you separate yourself from the rest of the crowd. That differentiation can also help increase your conversion rate and encourage repeat customers. The key is in the execution, so focus on making a few great videos instead of scads of videos that nobody wants to watch.
2. Get creative with your advertising.
Innovative marketing strategies will generally perform better with millennials than your standard push marketing techniques. Millennials are largely fed up with traditional methods of advertising, and while they want information, they want to select it instead of having it forced upon them.
According to a study from the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, millennials have filtered out advertising on social media and turned to other reference points. “Born and raised in the age of technology,” the study states, “millennials consume information when and how they want to.”
So, whom do they trust? Primarily people in their social networks, which is why word of mouth appears to be driving the greatest returns, according to a WOMMA report. Instead of focusing most of your efforts on traditional outbound marketing, try a new tack. Use the buzz surrounding your new product or service and tap into millennials’ propensity to share things they find interesting on social media.
3. Segment your millennial markets.
Not all Millennials respond to the same messaging. Grouping an entire generation of people into one marketing demographic likely won’t give you the results you seek. Instead, segmenting different campaigns for the customers most likely to respond to them will go a long way toward making your message resonate.
Erik Huberman elaborates in an Entrepreneur article: “Certainly, you’ll want to target age demographics to a certain extent, but your targeting should also be more granular. Instead, go right to the actual attributes of the real customer.”
Rather than thinking about which generation you’re targeting, think about which person you’re trying to reach. Knowing what your specific customers watch and where they consume their media is much more useful than using an assumption based on how long they’ve been alive.
4. Support a worthy cause with your business.
There are numerous benefits that come from finding a cause to champion. Most business owners think about the potential boon in terms of employee recruitment and retention, but customers — especially millennials — also appreciate a worthy cause.
Supporting a good cause is a perfect way to provide an additional incentive to your buyers and make the world a better place in the process.
If your marketing strategy involves generalizing an entire generation of people, you’re going to want to get a little more specific. Millennials have common threads and similarities in behavior, but ultimately, they’re unique individuals who will respond to your messages in a variety of ways. General practices such as supporting a cause and using creative advertising methods will certainly help, but you’ll also need to segment your audience and then create high-quality messaging in the mediums that most resonate with those segments.
Millennials are set to become the largest living generation by 2019, so take these strategies to heart, and you’ll earn their business and their loyalty as well.