Marketing to millennials (those born roughly between the late 70s to the late 90s) can be difficult because they’ve grown up surrounded by heavy advertising and marketing. They’ve built up an immunity to ordinary advertising, and are cynical about what they see as marketers’ attempts to exploit them. Successfully marketing to millennials, therefore, requires a willingness to abandon traditional strategies and an understanding of millennials’ desires and how they communicate in order to successfully engage with them.
Branding is one tactic that doesn’t work as well on millennials. Millennials have very little loyalty to brands or companies and will switch instantly if they feel they can get better value or a better price elsewhere. To build loyalty with them, you’ll have to engage them directly. If they feel they know and can trust the people who work at your company, they’re much more likely to be repeat customers.
To reach millennials, you must use social media. Web sites are yesterday’s technology as far as millennials are concerned. They communicate through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. To reach them, you’ll have to create your own accounts there and make yourself part of the ongoing conversation.
Try to avoid corporatespeak and marketing language, and be honest as possible on social media. Don’t try tactics like posting fake glowing reviews of your own products. It will blow up in your face. If millennials feel you’re just being a shill, they’ll stop listening. Be consistent in your messaging, and make sure the message you put out is also consistent with how your company conducts itself; millennials have a keen nose, and little tolerance, for hypocrisy. And it’s important to listen as well as talk on social media. Answer their questions and engage their concerns, and you’ll get a better response.
Another online outlet for reaching millennials is content sharing sites such as Flickr, YouTube, Tumblr, and others. Millennials are always looking for fun and interesting new images, videos, and games to recommend and share. It’s not easy, but if you can produce content that captures their attention, you may find them even doing your work for you by circulating the material themselves.
Millennials are also extremely concerned about value. They like to think of themselves as savvy consumers who can look past marketing, hype, and packaging to get the best value. Offering special discounts or loyalty rewards can be a great way to attract and keep their attention. This extends to more than just price. Millennials are well aware of how valuable their personal and demographic information and their attention span can be to a marketer, and are willing to give it up as long as they receive some kind of rewards or other benefit in return.
With so many companies competing for millenials’ attention, it can be difficult to stand out. But knowing who you’re dealing with and what their values are makes the job much easier. Be patient, be persistent, and be consistent, and you’ll begin to see results.