“You are such a millennial.”
“Don’t be such a millennial.”
I’ve heard this phrase, used in a negative way, on many occasions. It got me thinking:
- Why and how did being a “millennial” turn into a negative thing?
- Why are we grouping millions of people into one stereotype?
- What is it about millennials that irks people?
- How do millennials fit into the workforce?
- How are people marketing to millennials?
No matter how you feel about millennials, you need to market to them differently than other generations if you want to grab their attention, gain their trust and earn their business. In order to sell to millennials you need a good grasp of who they are and what makes them tick (with a grain of salt–don’t assume all millennials are exactly the same). The status quo of marketing needs to be thrown out the window for millennials. Here’s a quick guide on how millennial marketing is much different than marketing for past generations.
Optimize for mobile (like, yesterday)!
If you’re only focused on how your website looks on a desktop computer, you need to rethink this and optimize your website for mobile immediately. Millennials are constantly connected through their mobile devices. They expect what they see on a mobile device to be the exact same and look the exact same as it would on the computer, and be just as easy to use. If something doesn’t work, or is hard to navigate, that can be detrimental to your business. After getting turned off by your mobile site, they aren’t going to look it up on a computer later. At the end of the day, an unoptimized mobile site means you’re leaving money on the table.
This also relates to your website. Millennials grew up with the internet. The look of your website reflects the credibility of your business. In the mind of a millennial, having a quality website (appearance, visuals, navigation) is an easy feat and the norm. To them, if you can’t create a quality site, then there’s no way your business is good. You’ll earn a millennial’s business when your site is:
- Clear with its message
- Easy to navigate
It's all about the content.
In order to gain loyalty, you need to go beyond just selling. Create valuable content that your target audience needs and wants. Value needs to be added to almost everything you do. Millennials are all about meaning and they want that meaning to coincide with what their buying. They want to know they’re making an impact with their purchase.
Create videos, blogs, events and any kind of content your target audience consumes. You need to stir emotion with the content you're creating, otherwise it will just get lost in the crowd. Don’t use content to sell—create it to provide value. That’s why Accelity practices inbound marketing. People consume our content not only for marketing help, but because they know that they will learn something new every time they come to our site.
Boost your brand.
These days everyone is their own walking brand. Using social media, people can brand themselves with the click of a button—whether they know it or not. Millennials want to identify with a brand or company whose mission aligns with their personal beliefs. This means you should:
- Take a stance on something
- Make what you stand for as a company known
- Donate to a certain organization
- Participate in events that align with what you believe in
Living your mission in these ways allows your millennial buyers to see you’re more than just talk.
Be approachable and connected.
With social media, texting and the internet, millennials expect responses… fast. When it comes to customer service, they need to be able to reach you easily, whether this is through the phone or by tweeting at you on social media. To connect with millennials, make sure you have a social presence and are responding to your audience. Make sure your contact information is easy to find on your website, via a Google search and on your social sites. Be approachable and conversational.
Don't focus on traditional life cycles.
Generalizations won’t work anymore (and probably never did). Instead, focus on a niche and hone into that. Unlike previous generations, there isn’t a general traditional path that millennials take (i.e., graduating, marriage, kids and moving to the suburbs by 30).
Each millennial is at a different stage, choosing to do different things. Some move in with their parents, some move into apartments. Some millennials buy homes and some want to buy condos in their 20s instead of waiting until their 60s. Some want kids, some hate kids and some think their pets are their kids. Many millennials love social media, but many also hate it and are unplugging. Therefore, the more you drill down into your niche, the better.
Segment! Don’t overgeneralize because your marketing won’t hit home. This generation is more diverse than ever before.
What do you think makes millennials different? How is your business changing up its strategy to appeal to millennials? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below! If you need help marketing to millennials, let’s connect.