Many believe millennials are the wave of the future. In some regards, they are absolutely correct. That’s because this generation has the benefit of advancing technology as opposed to most generations before. Smartphones, social media and streaming video are only a few of the technologies millennials use more than any other age group. As a result, your millennial marketing tactics need to adapt.
According to Howe and Strauss, authors of the book “Millennials Rising,” the definition of millennials is individuals born between 1982 and 2004. During the revolution of online technology, these “millennials” were children. They were exposed to ongoing advancements and helped form much of the technology used today.
Now, they are a mix between teens and young adults. It is the largest generation in the history of the United States making up 92 million people.
What does this mean for marketing? Quite a bit. In fact, a lot of millennials are in the age group for most consumer markets. This means you need to address how these individuals consume products if you want a business to survive.
Millennials are the next generation of major contributors to almost every consumer market. The way you approach them needs to be in line with the outlets they find most appealing. Otherwise, you’ll be advertising to platforms that are void of the younger audience.
Today, I’m going to go over seven things you probably didn’t know about millennials and how you should market to them.
1. Focus On Mobile
Millennials spend more than 19 hours on their smartphones each week, nearly two hours longer than all other adults. They also spend almost half of the time watching TV, more than two hours less listening to the radio and less time sitting at a computer.
All of this together demonstrates how you need to focus on mobile technology if you want to fully engage millennials. This means you need to:
- Create responsive and mobile-friendly websites.
- Develop video content that is easy to absorb on a much smaller screen.
- Involve the business in mobile social media outlets.
- Consider creating apps for different smartphone operating systems.
Although many are aware of how important mobile technology is, a lot of companies are still coming up short when it comes to responsive design. Too many organizations don’t seem to understand just how vital this aspect is.
Consider how more than 52 percent of users access the Internet from mobile technology. That’s almost 10 percent higher than desktops and 13 times higher than tablets. With the majority of people accessing websites from the smaller screens of a smartphone, you’d think it would be a greater concern.
Although millennials are driving the need for mobile marketing, they are not the only ones. In fact, more of every age group are accessing content from smartphones every year. You can bet the competition is doing everything to engage these markets, so you should as well.
2. Social Engagement
There’s no doubt that social media plays an important role on the Internet. In 2015, 95 percent of millennials between 18 and 24-years old logged into a social network at least once every month. The primary platform was that of SnapChat.
It’s the engagement that drives many organizations to market on social platforms. Among the social media marketing tools you have accessible, you need to interact with the audience.
Although Facebook is more popular among other age groups, millennials also flock to the social hub. In reality, as many as 41 percent of 18 to 34-year old users access Facebook every day. That’s nearly half of the entire generation and why it’s beneficial to market on that platform.
Another social platform to watch is that of Instagram. As many as 90 percent of Instagram users are under 35. This demonstrates two very important things: Instagram is a major source for millennial marketing and visual marketing is far more of an engagement factor. This is because Instagram is photo-based. Instagram marketing centers purely around creating images.
Every business should already have some sort of social engagement plan in effect. However, not all of them have a good and solid millennial marketing strategy. This is because some businesses simply post a few things each week and move on to other venues.
It’s all about engagement. If you’re not responding to comments or connecting with your fans or followers, you are missing out on future sales and brand recognition. You have to add the “social” element when marketing on sites like Facebook and Instagram. After all, consumers are more likely to trust social posts over traditional ads by seven times.
3. Promoting Coupons and Discounts
Nearly two-thirds of millennials will link a brand on Facebook to receive coupons or other discounts. This is because the generation is one of the most frugal when it comes to saving money and finding alternatives to products and services.
Promoting a brand helps create brand recognition and trust. Since millennials are seven times more likely to give personal information to a brand they trust, it’s important to nurture this aspect.
Coupons and discounts aren’t really a new type of marketing. These elements are among many ways to boost online sales. Making people feel like they’re getting a “deal” has been around since the early days of consumerism. However, discounts are performing better today because of the impact they have on the younger audience. It’s all about saving money while buying goods, which is something millennials are quite proficient.
Coupons also work as a millennial marketing strategy for brick-and-mortar locations. In fact, 91 percent of millennials will use paper coupons to make purchases. This is more than the average of 88 percent of consumers. If you want to boost your offline platform, firing up the printer may be a wise course of action.
The beautiful thing about discounts is that they work for other age groups as well. Everyone likes the idea of saving money for a product, but millennials seem to put more effort into finding those deals. It’s a worthwhile marketing strategy no matter what age group your target market is.
4. Building Trust
In today’s market, advertising doesn’t really focus on building trust. In fact, 83 percent of consumers will trust recommendations of others over ads. This means you need to focus more on building a brand’s reputation than simply throwing out advertisements.
About 43 percent of millennials will judge authenticity over content when it comes to news. This is especially true in the recent trends of some content being “fake.” Unfortunately, you can’t simply say you’re trustworthy when dealing with the younger audience. You have to prove it.
Reviews and comments are often some of the most affluent aspects of marketing. While some experts don’t think they have any control over how others share information, this isn’t entirely accurate. In reality, you have several options when it comes to promoting your brand and building trust.
- Superior Customer Service and Experience
If you deliver the best service possible, it will show in the comments and ratings of others. Peer reviews are vital, so you need to give the best experience you can.
- Inspiring Reviews and Testimonials
Dedicate an area to your website specifically for consumers to review the business. Digital word-of-mouth is often more effective than the best pay-per-click ad campaign.
- Receptiveness to Feedback
Feedback not only gives you a platform millennials can browse, but it also gives you the ability to correct common problems people experience. It’s easy to turn negative feedback into a positive form of marketing.
One of the major contributors to the importance of trust is competition. Because everyone has access to competing companies online, it’s of utmost importance to solidify trust in your brand. Otherwise, millennials and other consumers alike will simply find a new supplier with a simple Google search.
5. Evolve with Trends
Every business and marketer needs to evolve as trends develop. Otherwise, you could be on the wrong side of evolution. A good example of this is the online streaming service of Netflix. As technology and requirements changed, the company followed suit to meet the demands of millennials.
What works well today doesn’t mean it’s going to be ideal tomorrow. Whether it’s new iPhone features or live streaming services, it all plays into how a consumer is going to interact with your brand. For example, mobile evolution all but demands websites to be responsive…otherwise you lose a large portion of potential income.
Here’s another example. As the technology powering the Internet evolves, so does its ability to process imagery. In the 1990s, it could take computers several minutes to render high quality imagery. Today, it’s as simple as hitting the “Post” button on Twitter. Because color visuals increase a person’s willingness to read content by 80 percent, it’s vastly important to include images in posts.
Your thumb needs to be on the pulse of trends, especially when it comes to millennials. Think about how quickly these people moved from the social platform Vine to more interactive hubs like SnapChat and Instagram. Millennials are constantly looking for the next great thing, and so should you.
6. Make Millennials Part of the Business
One of the reasons social media works so well with millennials is because it gives them the sense they are communicating directly with the brand. Instead of being a faceless corporation, there is more of a personal connection there. And that’s one of the keys to engaging consumers.
Take a look at some of the most popular YouTube creators today. They not only deliver content to their viewers, but they also inspire conversation. They ask for feedback from the viewers and often respond to them in kind. This gives the viewer a sense of being part of the show. The same effect can be done in virtually any platform.
You’ll see variations of engagement when brands such as Mountain Dew or Lay’s run a campaign to pick a new flavor or when websites launch a survey to determine content development. Another example is that of Coca-Cola making its products personal and customizable. The point is to make the consumer part of the brand.
It’s all about delivering an experience. In fact, 98 percent of millennials participating in an experiential campaign are more likely to make a purchase of the product. Things like live presentations, direct interaction, voting and other elements easily draw a younger crowd.
This is why a lot of streamers make a decent amount of money broadcasting video game play on Twitch. It’s the engagement millennials enjoy as they feel part of the bigger picture by being included. As most streamers directly interact with the audience, people are more likely to make “donations.”
7. Support Digital Payments
About 25 percent of millennials use mobile devices to make at least one purchase every day. This includes things like NFC payment abilities at cash registers, making a purchase through eCommerce or simply making a payment through an online gateway.
Even though I’m not a millennial, a company that offers online pay is more attractive to me. It’s the convenience factor companies need to be focusing on. People are less likely to fill out checks today than they were 20 years ago. And simplifying the payment experience by having an online method or a scan of a smartphone enhances that convenience.
It’s flexibility such as self-checkout kiosks and tap-to-pay platforms that score well with millennials. They want quick and easy transactions. This may have to do with living in a world where instant gratification is the norm. For instance, almost everything a millennial could want is literally at his or her fingertips thanks to the technological hand-held wonder that is the smartphone.
As many as 90 percent of millennials have made a digital purchase in the past year. However, this doesn’t merely stop on the Internet. In reality, a lot of retailers allow for digital purchases in the real world as they do online. Millennials are omnichannel shoppers, and it’s apparent in their actions when making purchases.
A prominent millennial marketing trend is that of mobile wallets. Things like Android Pay and Apple Pay are slowly replacing credit and debit cards. One example is that of Apple Pay reporting a growth rate of one million new users per week.
Different Strategies for Different Audiences
Some of the best marketing strategies involve covering your basis. This means you approach audiences differently depending on their needs and wants. Don’t assume that you can go in with a “one-size-fits-all” approach. What works for an older audience may fall short for the younger generations.