4 Ways to Tailor Your Marketing Efforts to Millennials
The hype about marketing to Millennials is so abundant that it’s borderline tiresome. But marketers who don’t take this trend seriously will hurt their brands for years to come.
Millennials, or people ranging from ages 23 to 38, are estimated to be the nation’s largest living generation. They not only make up the largest share of the American workforce, but they also hold major spending power — they are projected to spend $1.4 billion annually in the U.S. and represent 30% of total retail sales. Despite this influence, however, some marketers have been slow to understand Millennial habits and preferences.
Millennials are different from other generations because they’ve grown up in a world where technology is infused in every aspect of life; they have access to an unprecedented level of access to information, people, and brands. This has shaped everything from their worldviews and social structures to their entertainment needs and how they travel, work, and buy.
Many marketers are scrambling to catch up — especially in industries that don’t yet offer what Millennials are interested in. Inevitably, though, Millennials have different tastes than other generations. For instance, they often prefer beverages like White Claw and Truly to traditional beer and wine. The alcohol industry has felt this impact: The wine industry saw the biggest drop in sales in a quarter of a century. Millennials don’t seem interested in cruising down the open road on motorcycles, either; which is why sales have dropped considerably over the past decade.
Millennials’ buying habits are also changing the market itself, leading household names like Macy’s and Sears to shutter stores across the country. According to a survey by CouponFollow, Millennials make 60% of their purchases online, which is a big jump from the 47% reported in its 2017 survey. They also tend to spend their money on experiences — seeing the world and attending concerts — rather than accumulating “things.”
Despite their unique habits, it’s important to keep up with Millennials. It may be the only way to stay relevant, moving forward. As Baby Boomers lose buying power, businesses must cater to the Millennial audience — especially because Millennials have more spending power than Boomers ever did.
Appealing to Millennial Buyers
While Millennial habits are certainly changing some industries, change can cause growth. Industry analysts might have once claimed Millennials would be harbingers of death for the auto industry, but they actually caused recent sales growth.
The best way to ensure your business thrives in the current market is to appeal to Millennials in real, authentic ways. The following four strategies will help you create marketing campaigns that truly resonate with Millennial consumers:
Build Environmental Appeal
Millennials are highly concerned about the state of our planet. According to the Shelton Group, 90% of Millennials will buy from a brand if they trust its social and environmental practices. Additionally, 95% would recommend the brand to a friend. If your company is not already working toward eco-friendly solutions and practices, it’s time to start. Then, use marketing campaigns to let consumers know about your efforts.
The auto industry, for instance, has a history of leaving a big carbon footprint. More recently, however, hybrid and electric cars have become popular with Millennials, because they’re more sustainable options that require minimal (if any) lifestyle changes.
Find Ways to Give Back
Similarly, Millennials are concerned with how their purchases affect others. As a result, they expect brands to give back to communities and nonprofit organizations. It’s a win-win scenario, though: According to Business Insider, brands that have a sense of purpose beyond profits grow almost twice as fast as those that do not.
Giving back can also give you free marketing and publicity that reaches new audiences. When you sponsor an event for a charity, for example, your logo will be on banners, T-shirts, social media, and more. And if you post on your own social media accounts when you volunteer, you’ll garner more support from your customers — and maybe gain a few new supporters in the process.
Create Personalized Campaigns
Despite countless generalizations about Millennials, this generation includes many unique individuals who have their own preferences and personal habits. Because of this, they seek out custom, one-on-one relationships with brands.
Show these young consumers that your business knows them and understands their interests and online behavior. Look at the personalized buying recommendations on Amazon, for example. Each person’s homepage is customized to show them items relevant to their past searches, purchases, and more.
Mobile-first strategies are excellent for delivering personalization. Just about every Millennial has a smartphone, which allows brands to deliver targeted messages or reminders that a favorite store is nearby (and here’s a coupon!). You can also use the data collected from these devices to create a customer experience adapted to each individual’s preferences, much like Stitch Fix does.
Enhance Your Digital Presence
Millennials were raised in the age of social media. They use it as a source of news, entertainment, and to explore products and services. It’s how they operate and interact with the world. If you don’t exist online — especially on relevant social media channels — you may as well not exist at all.
Start building your social media presence by showing off your inventory or service specials across the channels Millennials love, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Take things a step further by showcasing your brand’s personality on your social accounts and engaging with your audience through direct interactions. A study by TELUS International and Harris Insight found that nearly 72% of Millennials are more likely to become loyal customers if a brand engages with them on social networks.
Before You Concentrate on Gen Z
Is it really that important to target Millennials specifically? Absolutely. Their consumer presence will continue to grow with time, and businesses that fail to connect with Millennials risk anonymity — and their overall success.