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How to Reach Millennials

Millennials – one word that creates a whirlwind of buzz, thoughts, and ideas around it.

Possibly never in today’s world has such a word had so much meaning behind it as Millennials. Otherwise known as Generation Y (general consensus: born 1980-2000).

Especially in the marketing world. Why is this?

Millennials think and buy differently. 

But in all honesty, it’s not just millennials. Every single generation thinks and buys differently from the previous. 

The reason millennials are such a hot topic is the fact that this generation is the biggest in US history – even bigger than the Baby Boomers – at 92 million. (Goldman Sachs) They’re a huge part of our future, and as businesses look to the future, the importance of millennials cannot be overlooked.

Distinguishing Factors

Here are a few things that make them different from previous generations:

  • Less disposable income to spend
  • Digital Natives
  • Increased Debt (and rising)
  • Highly Social and Connected 
  • Different priorities 
  • Interested in a Sharing Economy 
  • Turning to Brands that Offer Maximum Convenience at Lowest Cost

*For more detailed breakdown on the millennial generation, check out this comprehensive report by Goldman Sachs.*

It’s wise to keep in mind that these are for the generation in general. This is not to say that these words are perfect for every single millennial as we are all different. 

But with that said, as a marketer or business owner whose target market includes millennials, it’s important to utilize all of this information in order to have a better understanding of Gen Y before you market to them. 

And now here are some tips for marketing to millennials!

Be Genuine

Millennials tend to be pretty wary of brand and marketing tactics – thinking that brands only want their money. They also grew up in a time of recognizing ads and when they’re trying to be marketed to. This doesn’t mean you can’t advertise to millennials. But it does mean you need to be less money-focused and more consumer-focused in your promotions. 

Millennials are looking for brands they can trust—not pushy, over-salesy, insincere ones who are only out for their money. Being genuine and authentic are important for all consumers, but especially millennials! Be sincere and transparent, not only in business but also in what you’re doing about giving back to the community, making a difference, etc. (bonus tip: millennials love when businesses do these kinds of things!)

The more genuine and authentic your brand is in all aspects of interaction, communication, and action, the more millennials are likely to trust you and choose to do business with you. 

User Generated Content 

One huge tip for getting this generation to trust you is to utilize user generated content (UGC). Consumers tend to trust content from people more than brands, especially when that content is coming from people outside the organization. It adds an extra trust factor.

While you can still use firm generated content (FGC), get creative in the ways you can post, share, and use UGC to connect with this audience. Using brand ambassadors and influencers can be a huge step in acing this concept – the content from these users can help millennials make the decision to trust your brand more. But don’t just stop with the more “social celebrities”. Include content generated from ordinary, not famous people too as this will appear more real and trustworthy to millennials.

Mobile

While not all stereotypes are true (of any generation), the one of millennials being mobile-centric are. Millennials are more likely to engage with brands on mobile than anywhere else. It’s always with them, and they’re usually using it for almost everything—order food, directions, social media, make payments, check their calendar, send an email or a text…the list goes on.

So, what does this mean for marketers wishing to reach millennials? Mobile is no longer optional.

Your websites and landing pages should be mobile-friendly. Your promotions, communications and everything else you do should be optimized for mobile. Make things shareable. Millennials love to share things with their friends, family, coworkers, and even strangers on the Internet. And with the use of mobile, now they can easily do so. Last, but not least, taking advantage of digital marketing and paid search for mobile can be huge breakthroughs for brands trying to reach millennials at the right times. 

Social & Digital Connections

The “stereotype” mentioned above is good news for brands looking to connect with millennials as they can be reached far more regularly and often than any other generation! Millennials are a generation that wants to be connected—and now with mobile and social media platforms, they’re able to be!

Plus, according to Hootsuite, the average number of social media accounts per internet user is 8.9! Your brand should be on multiple social media platforms and utilizing the wide array of aspects of digital marketing to increase quality connection and interaction with millennials. 

Not only does this generation seek connection between themselves and the brand, but also between each other. This is one reason that online reviews are so popular with millennials. Brands that create a sense of community for both the brand to customer relationship as well as the consumer to consumer relationship are the ones that millennials are going to seek more and more.

Content Marketing 

Content marketing is huge with millennials. They are not interested and will likely not respond well to most traditional advertising. In fact, HubSpot reports that 84% of millennials do not trust traditional advertising. This generation trusts and connects more to content rather than blatant advertising messages.

Furthermore, millennials want to engage with authentic brand messages and stories to get to know a company and what they stand for better. In other words, content is king and will continue running the kingdom with this generation.

However, one myth with millennials is that due to their shortened attention spans, they won’t pay attention to content—especially lengthier formats. This is not true. Yes, the average attention span today has dropped to a mere 8 seconds, which creates a need for different content techniques.

But the truth is, if content is informative and useful to millennials, they’ll pay attention! Your brand’s goal should be to deliver content that provides incredible value and lots of information. This could consist of a number of different formats including informational blog posts, YouTube videos, Instagram posts, tweets, emails, and more.

While millennials may seem like the difficult-and-scary consumers to deal with, the truth is they are a huge part of the future of business and our economy. Once you understand more about what makes them different and these tips for reaching this generation, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a marketing-to-millennials master!