Millennials are one of marketers’ biggest challenges. They have tremendous buying power but are skeptical of traditional marketing. This presents a unique challenge, as marketers will need to prioritize the values that matter most to millennials—such as authenticity, individualism, and brand experience—in order to connect with this elusive audience.
Here, we offer five concrete steps to improve your brand’s Millennial marketing strategy:
1. Tap into Social Networks
In the past, advertising was consumed through traditional marketing channels such as print and television. But Millennials are the most digitally connected generation, consuming content across multiple online channels. One way to market to Millennials is to evoke a multi-platform approach through social media. A total of 71% of Millennials are daily users of social networks and are spending a daily average of 5.4 hours on social platforms (Ipsos, 2014.) The best way to access Millennials is through the platforms they trust and are already active on.
2. Leverage Mass-Individualism
While Millennials still enjoy and value brands, they no longer want a logo to define them. They want to be the trendsetters, trailblazers, and nonconformists. Along those lines, Millennials also love being recognized for how they use your products post-purchase. The key is to bolster the bearer. Highlight the innovative ways Millennials are using your products by reposting their photos on your owned media. It’s a symbiotic relationship—you validate your Millennials as individuals andthey validate your brand.
3. Use Peer-to-Peer Word-of-Mouth
Millennials are selective in who they trust. However, studies show that they exhibit high levels of trust for content generated by their peers (The McCarthy Group, 2014.) In response, marketers should prompt dialogue between current and perspective millennial customers. There are many ways to leverage the content generated by your consumers-- but the first step is to identify your brand influencers. If you can develop good relationships with your social influencers, you might be able to get them to share your brand message with their followers. Word-of-mouth marketing is not dead—rather, it is as powerful as ever due to the prevalence of social network use.
4. Start a Two-Way Conversation
Millennials are the first generation to be truly open to engaging and sharing your brand’s advertisements. Consequently, traditional one-way marketing is an ineffective tactic for driving brand messaging to a generation that has unprecedented access to finding and sharing information online. Engaging in a two-way conversation on social platforms fosters genuine relationships with Millennial customers and helps to win their loyalty. Pay close attention to brand mentions from your customers on social media and try to make an effort to “like” and “comment” on all positive submissions. Remember that social engagement converts customers into brand loyalists, creating a peer-to-peer megaphone of online brand endorsement.
5. Create a Seamless Omni-Channel Experience
In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s essential to streamline your brand experience across multiple devices. Millennials are digital natives and 87% use two to three devices at least once a day (Elite Daily, 2014.) Your brand also needs to find innovative ways to bridge the physical and digital divide. The path to purchase (regardless if it’s offline, offline, and across multiple devices) needs to be made easy. Millennials have high standards for their purchasing experience, and making your website mobile friendly, creating a great native mobile shopping app, and offering in-store pick up—are just a few ways to bridge the chasm.
Millennials are ready to spend money and to advocate for your brand-- if you play by their rules. This generation is looking for brands that have evolved past traditional marketing and understand the nuances of advertising in the digital space. Marketing to Millennials isn't rocket science, but marketers need to take steps to grow their trust by adapting both channel and message.