Millennials are the largest living generation in the United States, and it’s also one of the most important generations for marketers to understand. With every new piece of research comes a new slew of tips and tricks on how best to market to them. And yet, with all of this advice out there, it can feel like you still don't have a grasp on what millennials actually want.
It's easy to lump an entire generation together, but millennials aren't a monolith. They're not all avocado-toast-eating Instagrammers who live at home with their parents. Some are over 30 and married with kids. Some are tech-savvy early adopters while others avoid social media altogether. So really, what do millennials want? How can you make marketing work for you if your audience isn't singular? Here are 6 tips for marketing to millennials that actually work:
1. Make sure you create authentic content.
You have heard before that millennials are a different breed — and that's especially true when it comes to marketing to them. They are more likely than any other generation to unfollow brands on social media, and they are twice as likely to have unsubscribed from emails in the last year. That's because millennial audiences have higher standards for content. They won't tolerate the same bland, corporate-speak content that older generations will; they want real, authentic stories from brands they trust. The good news is, millennials still want to hear from brands — as long as what you're saying is authentic and original. In fact, 86 percent of millennials say that authenticity is a key factor in which brand they support.
- Consider alternatives to outbound marketing methods.
When you think of a marketing campaign, what comes to mind? Chances are it’s not a social media post, a slick hashtag, or an Instagram photo. Although these tactics may seem trivial compared to traditional marketing methods, they are the key to reaching Millennials. In today’s world of Instagram and Twitter, traditional marketing simply does not work on this demographic. Millennials seek to establish close relationships with the brands they use by getting involved in the purchase decision-making process and establishing a connection with the product. That is why they are turned off by traditional outbound marketing methods such as TV ads and direct mail pieces.
3. Get your message across with inbound marketing.
Millennials are fans of inbound marketing. They were raised on social media and are accustomed to doing their own research online. They don’t want to be “sold to” or receive forceful advertising messages like the generation before them did. Rather, they want to access information, browse products and services, and make up their own minds about what they need and whether or not they are going to buy. This means a business that offers informative content is more likely to succeed than one that relies on push advertising. Millennials look for businesses that are focused on helping customers with content that informs and educates them. They don’t want product lists or coupons. Instead, they search for eBooks, whitepapers, blog posts, videos, and other helpful resources – or in other words, inbound marketing.
4. Treat your audience as you would a friend and try to connect organically.
Millennials are after meaningful connections with people and brands, so treat them as you would a friend and try to connect organically. They want to feel like they are important and are valued by a company; so make sure they know they are an integral part of your brand’s success. Millennials are looking for a brand that will be there for them through thick and thin. They’re loyal customers if you’re loyal to them. They want to know that you stand for something more than just the product or service you are selling to them. They want to experience your brand on every level, so be sure to engage with them in person through conferences, events, or meetups. As a digital native generation, it is important not to neglect social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat as well as their online review websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.
5. Be intentional about your marketing.
The most important thing you can do when it comes to marketing is to be intentional about it. This means that you should have a marketing plan in place, and that you should revisit it regularly. As your business grows, so will your marketing needs, so it’s important to keep an eye on the big picture and make sure that your efforts are going towards the right things. Write down all the ways you can think of to market your products or services. You don't have to spend a lot of money on any one strategy, but you do need some sort of plan for moving forward and tracking your results. Don't be afraid to change tactics if you're not getting anywhere with your initial plan. For example, if one social media platform is underperforming while another is taking off, focus more of your efforts on the platform where people are engaging with your content.
6. Be open to collaboration.
Millennials have a unique perspective on life, and they are going to bring it with them to the workplace. They will also see things that you don't. And they will listen to you when you speak. It is important to be open to collaboration and let your millennial employees suggest ideas for marketing. If their ideas seem foolish, ask them why they think it will work first. Maybe there's something about your target market that you haven't considered. It doesn't hurt to get a second opinion from someone who has been watching this generation closely for decades. You may find yourself surprised at how often an unconventional idea ends up working out in the