Millennials are a hard nut to crack and one of the biggest challenges businesses face in today’s market. Unpredictable, fickle, apathetic, lazy and difficult are just a few of the negative labels that come to mind when discussing millennials.
They are born out of the digital revolution. Technology is native to them and crucial to why it’s so hard to get them to listen to you. In this article, we will discuss the key characteristics of millennials and how you can enchant them with your marketing message.
Who are millennials?
There is a lot of debate about the specifics of the millennial profile. We decided to use the comprehensive report from Goldman Sachs to define them.
Millennials are born between 1980-2000. They are one of the biggest generations in history. They have less money to spend because of unemployment levels and higher costs of living; however, they are getting married less and delaying parenthood, which means more disposable income.
Now that we have the gist of things, let’s go into the details and how to win them over…
Enter their playground
Social media and technology are the playground of millennials. It’s where they spend the majority of their time. Millennials are spending more hour-by-hour time in the digital world than they do in the real world. Social media is the number one piece of that pie.
Social media has dramatically changed the way we communicate and consume information. News, entertainment and, yes, marketing are often consumed inside social media. If you aren’t in their playground, then they aren’t likely to be listening.
Millennials have tuned out the traditional advertising and marketing establishment. It still exists, but they aren’t listening. Your first order of business is to enter the race and build your presence where their attention is. Don’t just blindly jump on everything. Do the research and discover where YOUR industry’s millennials are on social media and focus your attention there.
Show that you share their values
In the golden era of 1950-60s advertising, all you had to do was interrupt a TV show with an ad telling people how great your product is and people would buy. Those days are long gone. Millennials aren’t easily sold, and they have a distrust of marketing and advertising. Once you have laid a firm foundation in their playground, you need to show that you share their values.
Again, nothing that is worth having comes without hard work. You need to do the research to discover what millennial values apply most to your segment and industry or offering.
One thing millennials value most is their time. You can show that you value this by packaging and positioning your marketing message in a way that doesn’t impact their time and flows into their general media experience.
Using native messaging on platforms like Facebook instead of pulling them away over to your website is an example. If you must bring them to your website, don’t dump an essay onto them. Be clear and concise.
Support a good cause
While they are often called selfish and narcissistic, millennials are extremely altruistic. They are heavily concerned with specific causes that have an emotional impact on them or wider causes like environmental sustainability. Their conscience is so affected by these causes that they will often steer clear of brands that aren’t doing enough, and they will spend more money with brands that care about their social impact. If you want to really capture millennials, align with a good cause.
Put a ring on their finger!
They might be getting married less, but when it comes to marketing, they want commitment. You have to put in the hard yards building a relationship with millennials to really get their attention and, more importantly, their permission. It starts with the points outlined above, but then it goes deeper.
You need to take them out on multiple dates before your marketing message will really cut through. Being on their social media platform of choice is just a start and showing that you share their values brings you closer.
Now, you need to amplify that with multiple touch points. These touch points come from content and interactions.
When you put out a piece of content that resonates with them, they engage (like, comment, share, etc.). A lot of people think that this is where the battle ends, but this is actually where it begins.
You need to leverage whatever engagement you get out of them to bring them in closer. If they comment on your content, this is your opportunity to start a conversation. This conversation can lead to the next date and eventually marriage!
But be authentic
All of the above tips have one extremely important caveat: you must BE AUTHENTIC. Millennials can sniff out inauthenticity a mile away. If your marketing message comes across as sleazy, fake and manipulative, you could be in for some trouble. They won’t just take their money elsewhere; they are likely to trash your brand online and to their social networks.
How do you follow the above while being authentic? Match these things with your natural cadence, your natural tone of voice and value proposition. Focus on mutual values and causes that align well with your business. Focus on communicating in a tone that tries to be on their level without moving too far away from your own voice. Try to always offer them value without shying away too much from your own agenda of wanting their business.
Millennials are a scary topic for many businesses, but they shouldn’t be. The main thing about millennials is that most basic human desire: to be understood. Show that you care, understand them and align with their interests. The rest will flow from there.