One of the most common questions I get asked by clients these days is how to properly target millennials. For the past 35 years, the corporate world’s DNA was programmed to focus on the needs of the Baby Boomer Generation (those born from 1946-1964). While this group has made up of much of America’s core spending power over the past three decades, they are now being supplanted by a new demographic group who are now the new darlings of the business and marketing world…the Millennials.
So just who are these millennials, how are they different than baby boomers, what do they want, and how can you, as a marketer (B2C or B2B), get their attention and profit from them?
We’ll try and answer these questions in this article.
So Exactly Who Are the Millennials?
After Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) came Generation X or “Gen X”. Born 1965 to 1980, this was a much smaller generation. Those born from 1981 to 2000 (some say till as late as 2004) are the generation we call “Gen Y” or Millennials. This group is today between the ages of 15 and 37 and they represent an astounding 92 million Americans…who spend over $600 billion per year. And many of them are your own children, neighbors and fellow employees.
How Are They Different From Baby Boomers?
They’re different from baby boomers in many ways. For example, whereas baby boomers have long attention spans, millennials have almost no attention span. Baby boomers tend to generally follow the general rules of society, while millennials tend to be more rebellious and have more of a sense of entitlement. Finally, this group grew up on technology and social media vs. baby boomers who had to learn to embrace technology.
Ten Strategies to Engage With & Profit from Millennials
So how can grab a millennial’s attention? And once you engage them, how can you profit from them? Let’s explore 10 powerful strategies:
- Leverage Mobile – Since over 90% of millennials own a smartphone, marketing via mobile is a great way to reach a millennial consumer. The average Smartphone user in general checks their phone 221 times per day! And millennials are rarely seen without their mobile devices. In fact, 87% of this digital generation admits to never being without their phone.
- Find Influencers – Millennials put extreme trust in the recommendations and reviews of influencers. It’s for this reason that I often tell clients that one of their best investments is to find influential bloggers in their particular category (not just B2C, but B2B as well) who can play up the virtues of my client’s products or services, In fact, 40% of millennials say that they relate to online influencers more than they do their friends. Now that’s powerful!
- Optimize Content For Social Media and Make it “Post Worthy” – As mentioned, Millennials have short/no attention spans, so you’ve got to capture their attention in ten seconds or less. Keep key attention-grabbing parts of written and video content brief and punchy. And remember that customer-generated content such as product reviews can have huge positive impact as well.
- Leverage Video as it continues to be the most influential form of digital content in general, but especially for Millennials – Per Forbes, this is because as our attention spans decrease, marketers are relying more on creating short video content to get people’s attention, boost search engine rankings, increase engagement, and website traffic. And no wonder…With 5x higher recall than the written word, video is the most engaging media format and the most effective in assisting conversations. And videos really deliver for marketers. In fact, videos on landing pages increase conversion by86% and shopping cart sizes by 125%!
- Don’t Hard Sell – The old world of traditional advertising is starting to die as millennials focus on “experiences” and “participating” in the conversation, not a hard sell. Millennials do not respond well to hard-selling because they grew up in a culture of social media sharing (in fact, 84% of millennials do not generally trust traditional advertising).
- Don’t Just Sell Products; Sell Your “Purpose” as Well – Baby Boomers basically want to know a product’s hard benefits and features. Millennials also want to know how you’re impacting the world. So talk about purpose as well. I push clients to think charity, social responsibility, environmental consciousness, and the like.
- Make It Personal & Targeted – I’ve been pushing clients toward Facebook Boosted Posts, Instagram, and Remarketing (as well as Linked In for my B2B clients) where you can micro-target customers by age, geography and specific interest. Millennials expect messages that are tailor-made for them, not cookie cutter.
- Provide Instant Gratification – Millennials like instant gratification so make content short, instantly useful and impactful.
- Coupons and Discounts are Important to Them – In fact, 64% of millennials “like” a brand or company on social media just to get a coupon or discount. And they’re even willing to share their location on their mobile device in order to receive coupons from stores that are nearby.
- Explore What Your Competitors are Doing to Target Millennials – You don’t need to re-invent the wheel. Maybe they’re doing something successful that you can borrow from!
Transformational Brands That “Get It” Regarding Millennials
Dollar Shave Club is a brand that completely disrupted the male personal grooming market. For a small monthly fee, they deliver razors and related products to your mailbox, and you get to be part of their hip online social ‘community’.
Their humorous product content, revolutionary pricing model, potent selling lines and videos watched by tens of millions of consumers were transformational, especially for such an old, well-established category led by Gillette. Check out their website HERE (https://www.dollarshaveclub.com/) and peruse their highly innovative product offerings, community-like atmosphere and social mindedness…all of which really won over the hearts and minds of millennials, and revolutionized their category.