Many years ago, the agency I was working for at the time got invited to a new business pitch from Bu...
Key Strategies to Use When Marketing to Millennials
Millennials (aka people born between 1981 and 1996) are a unique generation. When compared to earlier and later generations, reaching them through digital marketing is an entirely different ballgame. They demand authenticity, they’re quick and efficient online researchers, they operate with skepticism, and they’re keenly aware of traditional marketing tricks and tactics.
If you want to create loyal brand followers from a millennial audience, these are the key strategies to employ with your digital marketing.
You can’t fake authenticity with millennials
Millennials are inherently skeptical, and they instinctively know when a brand or business is acting authentically. Being ‘digitally authentic’ is one way to win these consumers over, which includes being consistent in your messaging, creating meaningful connections, and delivering value.
Your main focus and intent may be to increase profits, but your digital marketing must move beyond that if you want to win over millennials. They grew up with marketing tricks and sleazy sales tactics, and they’re wise to those methods.
Many of their purchasing decisions have been shaped by the 2008 recession
Due to the economic downturn that hit its peak in 2008, many millennials got a slow start to adult life. Burdened by sky-high student loan debt and an unsettling job market, they’ve had to take care with their spending choices.
It’s had a big impact on their psychology, too. According Keith Niedermeier (director of the undergraduate marketing program at Wharton and adjunct professor), “The kind of psychological impact of the recession was that a lot of people graduated, got jobs or were a few years into their first job, starting to stock that 401k, and then boom, that value’s lost, layoffs, lost their job. The job market dried up. You have this touching-the-stove phenomenon where they were really burned with the economy ... What we initially started to see is millennial investors and millennial consumers became very, very conservative.”
Millennials care about the value of their purchases, and they want to feel confident that they’re spending their dollars wisely. Marketers can foster confidence by speaking to the benefits of a product or service, rather than its features, for example. These consumers also care about experiences more than stuff, so if you can tie your offering into a memorable experience, that’s even better.
Social proof is another powerful tool that you can use in digital marketing, and it also represents yet another way to demonstrate authenticity.
Testimonials, reviews, and other forms are social proof are powerful tools
Millennials rely heavily on recommendations from their social networks, and digital marketers can tap into this preference in a number of ways:
- If you have an eCommerce element to your business, make it easy for customers to leave reviews right on the product page.
- Highlight in-depth, candid case studies from satisfied customers on social media, the website, and elsewhere.
- Gather, and display, testimonials from happy clients.
Ask customers to post reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook, and elsewhere.
Millennials are also savvy to the fake review trend, and businesses should never opt into the short-term gratification of soliciting fake reviews. In fact, this is yet another way that millennial consumers demand authenticity from the brands they buy from. If you can infuse more authenticity into your marketing, millennials will notice.