February 19, 2013
Marketing to millennials is a daunting task: in many ways, we’re the most diverse, least homogenous demographic ever. Plus, we’ve grown up so inundated in advertising that we’ve adapted by learning to ignore it. So let’s recap: millennials’ defining traits are that we’re incredibly diverse and ignore overt marketing messages. Piece of cake, right?
Ok, so we’re kind of a mystery, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect millenials. Don’t underestimate our spending power, for one. Businesses with veteran marketing managers make the mistake of ignoring us and trying to speak the language of their own generation. Communicating with an age group unlike your own doesn’t come naturally. But take heart–it can be learned.
Here are a few tips for marketing to millennials:
If you were to make up flashcards to remind you of millennials’ shopping and spending preferences, they’d surely include the following hallmarks of the 18 to 28 year old set.
To begin with, millennials expect to interact with their brands. The more you invite their input the more likely they’ll consider you one of “their” brands. Post questions on your social media properties, for example, and show them how you’ll implement changes based on their positive or negative feedback. Millennials are also immersed in digital culture—print and online marketing that doesn’t mesh will hurt your credibility.
Yes, marketing was simpler when there were fewer marketing channels. But it was a lot less interesting—and millennials agree with us.
Grip your millennial audience by diversifying your marketing plan. For example, print QR codes on marketing materials and direct individually minded millennials to a personalized landing page. This set grew up wired—to them technology is as natural as green grass or fresh eggs. So remember that from a millennial’s perspective you can’t have print marketing without technology to back it up (and vice versa).
Millennials are more informed as customers than any generation before them. Before they do business with you, they learn about you. Make sure that your online reputation recommends you. For example, downplay any negative online reviews by inviting happy customers to review you online (and highlight your good report). Sometimes all it takes is an invitation to make quiet customers more outspoken.
Knowing your audience is a classic marketing tip. And marketing to millennials is increasingly important. Don’t let the youngest and largest buying demographic pass you by—revise your marketing plan now to make it more millennial-friendly tomorrow.