Today's marketing teams have a wide range of tools at their disposal. From traditional strategies like print or television advertisements to contemporary or guerilla marketing styles that employ social media and customer feedback campaigns, understanding how your target market responds to advertising is key. Millennials are a particularly important demographic to understand right now due to their buying power and total purchasing share of the market. To improve your Millennial marketing prowess, consider who they are and what they want in their advertising.
What Is Millennial Marketing?
Millennials, born roughly between 1980 and 1995, are the largest demographic in the country, edging out the long-reigning baby boomer generation. Marketers must choose strategies that appeal to the millennial demographic in order to successfully sell their products.
Millennials have unique advertising values when compared to previous generations, which makes some traditional marketing strategies ineffective for this group. Understanding what appeals to the millennial generation (and what they don't like) can help you create a successful marketing strategy.
Benefits of Marketing Strategies
Establishing a marketing strategy can offer a variety of benefits. One of the primary goals of using a marketing strategy is to help you focus your ideas and keep your messaging consistent across a variety of mediums. A few benefits of creating and implementing a marketing strategy include:
- Establishing a target audience: Establishing a target audience helps you narrow your potential buyers and create a strategy with their specific likes and dislikes in mind.
- Promoting demographic understanding: Once you've determined your target market, it's easier to do extensive research into effective strategies and tools to help market your product.
- Aligning goals with marketing: You can align your marketing strategy with your business goals to ensure every measure the company takes supports short- and long-term business objectives.
Characteristics of the Millennial Buyer
Millennials, also called Generation Y, or even sometimes divided into smaller subgroups of Generation Y.1 or Generation Y.2, were shaped dramatically by the turn of the century and the Great Recession. These life-altering events, along with a substantial increase in student debt as compared to previous generations, created a demographic of people generally concerned about transparency from companies. They're also wary of large purchases, preferring to make do with what they have rather than taking on more debt.
While millennials span a wide age range, they do have a few common characteristics that define them. First, millennials are known for their technical abilities and reliance on internet-connected devices. On average, millennials are better educated than previous generations, with one-third of older millennials holding at least a bachelor's degree. Millennials appreciate honesty, transparency, and quality. Generally, they're less brand-loyal than previous generations and will do far more research into the quality of a product before purchasing than other demographics.
Why Demographics Matter
The events that shaped millennials’ spending patterns differ greatly from those of other generations. For example, Gen X, or the generation just before the millennials, were mostly already adults when the Great Recession hit, which may have impacted their lives, but didn't shape their initial relationships to and patterns of spending. Many members of Gen X benefited from economic stability before entering the labor market, unlike most of the millennial generation. It's imperative that marketers understand how the millennial target market relates to purchasing and what caused them to form these patterns.
Millennial Marketing Strategies
Luckily, many marketers have already established a variety of effective marketing strategies designed for millennials. Consider a few of these tactics the next time you need to create a marketing or advertising strategy specifically for the millennial market:
1. Optimize for Mobile and Tablet
While some millennials prefer to shop on their desktop or laptop computers, many use smartphones or tablets for shopping. It's essential that you optimize your website for mobile devices.
2. Create Authentic Content
Millennials do not respond well to traditional marketing strategies with catchy phrases and gleaming, picture-perfect images. Instead, they prefer to learn about products through well-researched, content-heavy marketing that offers substantial background information rather than slogans.
3. Highlight User-Generated Content
Related to authenticity, millennials like to see how actual people use and rate products before deciding to purchase. Asking customers to post photos of products or share thoughts shows millennials how your products actually and how real people like them.
4. Leverage Social Media
Most millennials are on at least one, if not more, social media sites. Social media marketing is an excellent way to grab millennials' attention. Use your social media channels to engage with customers. Answer questions, respond to comments and ask for feedback.
5. Target Social Groups Instead of Stages of Life
Millennials are a widespread group. Some are just out of college, while others are established adults in their 40s. For this reason, it's best to target social groups rather than life stages. Consider creating a marketing strategy for pet owners or people who volunteer rather than assuming all millennials are in the same stage of life.
6. Use Influencers
It takes a while for a company to earn a millennial's trust. It's helpful to use influencer marketing to guide your messaging. Work with celebrities, authors, YouTube stars, or other media figures who already have the trust of your demographic to share information about your product.
7. Be a Socially Conscious Brand
Millennials want to support companies that share their values. Be open about the charity or support work your company does. Show that behind the branding there's a group of people interested in helping their community. This messaging appeals to many millennials.
8. Employ Their Creativity
Many millennials want to interact with brands and companies. Consider a campaign in which your company asks for feedback or input on a product. Your millennial customer base will love the opportunity to get creative and appreciate your willingness to try new things.
It's vital that you understand what your millennial customers respond to before creating a marketing campaign or strategy. Learn as much as you can about your target market and employ these useful tips to optimize your message for your buyers.