Millennials (also known as Generation Y) were born roughly between 1980 and 2004 and received their name because most of them came of age in the Millennium. It’s become almost popular to make fun of Millennials, the first “digitally native” generation that grew up with the Internet, smartphones, and other personal tech devices. They have different values and priorities than the generations before them, especially when it comes to how and why they spend their money.
Millennials have posed a challenge to many marketers and advertisers who don’t know the best way to reach this audience — and who aren’t making them a priority. Millennials pride themselves on being connected and involved, especially on social media, but they also consider themselves smart enough to see through traditional advertising. If you want to reach Millennials, you need to convince them that your brand is worth their time and money.
Has your brand struggled with marketing to Millennials? Here are five ways to get their attention and earn their loyalty.
Create Branded Content With Personality: Millennials care about brands, but it’s not about the logo. Instead, Millennials use brands to reflect their personalities and as a mode of self-expression. They value brands that they want to resemble–or brands that are already like them. Brands should exhibit a personality that is relevant and appealing to Millennials. The focus should be on how their users interact in a unique way with their brand, rather than on the brand itself. Highlighting the individual gives them validation — and they respond by validating your brand. The content that reaches Millennials most effectively doesn’t demand that they buy a product — it shows how a product brings value. Compelling content shows a brand’s personality and unique voice while engaging the Millennial audience mentally or emotionally.
Make Mobile a Priority: Some of the stereotypes about Millennials are true. For the most part, they are more likely to engage with brands on mobile than anywhere else. Many brands treat mobile marketing as an afterthought when it should be at the forefront a brand’s outreach. It’s important to make sure that your brand’s online marketing is not only mobile friendly, but optimized for the mobile experience. A poorly designed mobile version of a website is a quick way to lose potential consumers. Millennials want engaging online experiences, especially if they can share them with friends and beyond. Millennials want to become part of a larger story and brands can create immersive experiences — whether it’s aggregated content on their website or on a social media platform like Instagram — that make their users part of something bigger.
Feature Real World Experiences: It seems like a contradiction, but Millennials are more likely to pursue “real world” experiences than other generations. Most of them pursue these experiences so that they can share them on social/digital platforms. Brands that feature the lifestyle their brand supports are more successful in reaching Millennials. Experiential marketing is another way to get Millennials’ attention. Showing how your product exists in everyday life builds the personality of a brand and makes Millennials want the lifestyle that brand promotes.
Be Genuine: Millennials are skeptical of brands — they know that marketing is driving them to spend money and they’re looking for a brand they can trust. They want transparency from companies — especially companies that focus on giving back to the community and the world. Brands benefit from listening to customers and showing that they care. Millennials want brands that have a clear mission statement and personality. They prefer meaningful content that focuses on them and their best interests rather than content that’s prompting them to spend their money.
Cultivate User Generated Content: Millennials value real user’s opinions when deciding whether or not to trust a brand. Brand ambassadors and influencers help build loyalty through user generated content. When Millennials fall in love with a product and get excited about it, they’ll share that online and in person. The people who care about your brand the most do more for promoting your brand than traditional marketing can. Interacting with your brand’s biggest fans shows that the company has a personality, that it values their input and opinion. Brand evangelists and influencers are evidence to potential consumers that a particular brand is genuine. User generated content shows customers how they can express their personality with a particular product and gives them another avenue to engage.
Marketing to Millennials can seem difficult, because Millennials know what they want and they don’t want to be “tricked.” Once a brand learns what Millennials value — trustworthiness, personality, and experience — they can leverage those ideas and engage with their audience through effective mobile marketing, creative, honest content, and user-generated content.