Many brands are adjusting their marketing strategies to reach Millennials, now the largest generation in the U.S. There’s no shortage of jokes about Millennials but whether your business is a banking app or clothing line, Millennials are a powerful generation that has shown to have a large influence on dying and emerging industries. For this reason, it’s important to understand how to market to us millennials successfully.
While there’s no shortage of articles about marketing and selling to Millennials, not many of them are written by a Millennial to give a more accurate perspective. So, here is how to successfully market to millennials written by a Millennial.
What You Already Know
Millennials more than other generations interact, follow, and discover brands online. If Millennials are your target audience having an optimized digital presence is vital, as well as having the ability to shop for your service/product online.
What Millennials Value
But having an active presence isn’t everything. Millennials have strong values that drive their purchasing decisions. Each generation values different things that influence where they spend their time and money and some of the most successful industries and companies are hurting because of what Millennials value.
Millennials have been to blame for the decline of the housing market, along with hotels, designer bags, home improvement stores, diamonds, and the napkin industry among others.
While many people will scoff at these headlines, saying “Oh those darn Millennials!” it’s important to understand the real “why” behind these declines. Millennials are the largest generation incurring student loan debt, which influences their decision to make large purchases like homes, cars, and make life-changing decisions like getting married and having babies. And let’s face it, paper towels do the same job as napkins!
It’s Cool to Care
Additionally, what once was “cool” like high-priced luxury items for novelty sake, have gone down the totem pole of what millennials value. The rise in thrift shopping made popular by influencers and lack of income have made finding great trendy finds at low-cost stores a pretty sought after skill.
There are a ton of references to further this point, but let me re-introduce you to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” that is one of the most mainstream songs talking about saving money and making it look cool!
Warby Parker eyewear understands millennials’ conscious spending habits and markets itself as a reasonably priced fashionable online eyewear retailer. They allow the normally inconvenient experience of buying eyewear to be an at-home luxury experience. Millennials love things to be convenient, trendy, cost-effective, and if possible socially responsible. Warby Parker also donates a pair of glasses to a person in need every time someone buys one, which is important to Millennials more than any other generation.
Millennials are a self-subscribed “woke” generation, meaning they attempt to make environmentally and socially conscious decisions. This is in part because of the overwhelming fear of global warming, the ocean’s ecosystem going awry, and the social and economic impact of having fast fashion and ethically questionable technology created abroad. So when companies like Warby Parker or Toms donate a pair of glasses or shoes to someone in need, Millennials support because of the added value associated with the cause.
Unlike other generations, Millennials seek for a hefty sense of self and unity. While that might seem like an oxymoron, millennials love experiences that help them connect and bond with others, while also giving them a sense of individuality. Many people translate this as millennials needing bean bags at work to feel loved and participation trophies to feel part of a team but that’s not really the correct interpretation.
Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have given this generation a better way to connect with each other. The word “Influencer” is a direct result of the Millennial generation, where they put almost the same amount of weight on an internet personality as traditional celebrities. Businesses that use social media and influencer marketing as part of their marketing strategies are connecting with more people than ever before and gaining the loyalty of Millennials because similar to client testimonials and other methods of social proof, people truly feel connected with influencers online and believe their recommendations.
Companies that utilize personalization in their products and services are also thriving because Millennials enjoy getting products meant just for them. From clothing brands to vitamins, companies are allowing people to customize their shopping carts in unprecedented ways.
Many of these companies allow customers to personalize their products by implementing questionnaires in their process. Care Of Vitamins, Stitch Fix, and Blue Apron along with other customized subscription-based services, ask their customers about their preferences and needs, which makes it a no-brainer when choosing between a personalized product and a standard product.
How Businesses Successfully Connect with Millennials
While some companies blame Millennials for their failures rather than their lack of innovation, many companies have flourished out of the Millennial dustbowl and have become Millennial milestones. These companies tend to be unconventional, agile, and speak “online languages” fluently.
When it comes to media usage, millennials ARE the internet. They are the smallest population to read magazines and newspapers, and to listen to the radio but are the largest population using social media. Traditional media sources are less impactful to Millennials. We use phone applications to purchase food, order technology, and book rooms for vacations. It’s never been more important to have your business accessible through a mobile device and to be innovative to make experiences more convenient for the end user.
Businesses like Carvana, Postmates, and Amazon thrive off of the convenience of the internet. They are turning industries on their head by taking the usual inconvenient shopping experience and making it as easy as a few swipes on a phone and in the end, making it an enjoyable experience.
A great way to communicate your values in an authentic and entertaining way is through video. We may not think of celebrities as “businesses” but they are brands that actively try to connect with their fans to continue to be successful in the entertainment industry. In the last several months, we’ve seen celebrities jumping on YouTube to launch their own channels. Celebrities like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Will Smith, and Jennifer Lopez are making authentic content just for YouTube to reach their fans.
The most prolific celebrity on YouTube, Will Smith, is creating content regularly that renders millions of views and currently has 5 million subscribers to his channel. He tells stories, does challenges, and shows us the behind-the-scenes of his movies and music.
Millennials say that brands that actively engage them on social media are more likely to make them a loyal customer. But this doesn’t mean post as much content as you can and try to make it seem “youthful”. Actually, it’s the complete opposite. Millennials love when branded content is authentic. They dislike when advertising feels deceptive and prefer when brands show who they truly are and what their values are.
Many Millennials are opting out of the traditional 9-5 and are pursuing remote work, freelancing, and even starting their own businesses. WeWork is one of the first co-working spaces for these type of individuals. WeWork has a YouTube channel full of videos about their clients, their work, and mission. In this video, they show how at WeWork a sense of community is a priority and it’s a clear value of theirs, but is also a great selling point for Millennials.
As we tell young teenagers struggling to make friends, we tell companies struggling to get customers: BE YOURSELF.
Millennials move towards companies and brands that are authentic, accessible, socially conscious, affordable, and visible on channels that they spend their time on - like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. If your brand has a unique voice and solves a problem that Millennials are having, your next step is to communicate that solution. The easiest way to communicate to Millennials is online and through video. To get expert advice or get started on your video, request information here.
Thank you for reading this in-depth article about Millennials by a Millennial.