How To Market To Millennials From The Millennials Who Know Marketing

Millennials make up 25% of the country. That means 1 out of 4 Americans were born between 1980 and 2000.

…That’s a lot of people.

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This quarter of the population also happens to make up the largest percentage of the work force and adapt to new technology 2.5x faster than other generations, making their influence the most impactful in history.

In the words of WordStream, “You can love us or hate us, but you certainly can’t afford to ignore us.”

So how do you reach them? This question drives many executives to rock silently back and forth in their offices or form a special task force to decide if “on fleek” is still a thing (and what it even means?!).

Don’t worry. We’re here to help. Marketing to millennials is not as scary as it sounds. In fact, it’s kind of awesome…

Three Millennial Myths

There are some alarming rumors floating around that young people can’t stand ads. But before you pack up your desk, allow us to debunk a few myths:

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>>Myth #1: They HATE advertising.

Millennials are advertised to constantly. This has led them to fine-tune their “bull” radars and block out some of the noise. However, when a brand’s message is relevant, millennials are actually more open to receiving it than older generations. To get their attention, stop marketing “to” people, and start marketing “for” people.

>>Myth #2: The only thing they’d ever use print for is a Pinterest-inspired DIY project.

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Digital media is a serious competitor to print media. But millennials aren’t giving up on print just yet. 95% of adults under 25 read an average of 9 magazine issues per month.

>>Myth #3: They are NOT loyal, so like, good luck.

Millennials are actually very loyal to companies they love . . . once they’ve earned it. Big brands can no longer rely on their familiar name, they have to establish a relationship. Think “courtship” vs. “campaign” to make the love last.

Why Millennials Are Good For Business

Focusing on the challenge of millennials can distract you from the benefits. These digitally savvy kids are not only vital to the success of your brand, they can be a huge asset.

>>They are influencers.

Nearly half of millennials have 200+ Facebook friends, and 70% give product feedback on social media. This makes them word-of mouth machines. And since 89% say they trust what their friends say more than what a brand says, it matters.

>>They spend money.

21% of consumer discretionary purchases (an estimated 1 trillion in direct buying power) comes from millennials, meaning what they do inside the sales funnel affects the purchasing patterns of older generations.

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>>They are the kings of content creation.

User. Generated. Content. (UGC) Find it, love it, use it. 46% of millennials post original content and videos to social platforms to build their personal brands. Share the benefits of your brand through reviews, tweets, and suggestions from consumers. 85% say that UGC influences what they buy.

How To Speak Millennial

At this point, you’re probably saying, “We get it, millennials are the beessssttt. But how do we reach them??”

You’ve got to speak their language. Not just literally (for that we direct you to UrbanDictionary.com); we mean you have to think and act like a millennial.

>>Be Where They Are

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Where are the millennials? Here’s a taste:

  • 86% own a smart phone.
  • 37% watch Hulu (and, unless they pay more, they watch all their mandatory commercials).
  • They’re on social media an average of 2.3 hours a day.
  • Email is still one of the best ways to reach them.
  • They go out, and then share their experiences on social channels.
  • They take the time to watch videos.

We also know that millennials are the most diverse generation, well, ever. So don’t put them in a box. If you think your target market is simply “millennials,” you’re doing it wrong.

Get personal and targeted within this demographic to reach the millennials that match your mission. For example, if your audience includes young professionals commuting in NYC, you may want to snag an ad in the free Time Out New York magazines that are passed out each Wednesday by the train. If your audience includes young music lovers, you may want to get a spot going on Spotify.

Remember to not go too broad. Just because you are on every social media platform, doesn’t mean your audience is. And don’t go too small. You’ll need to rack up quite a few impressions to get the attention of this plugged-in cohort.

>>Be Authentic and Original

It’s not what you sell, it’s who you are. Social media has empowered millennials to seek relationships over goods. Millennials value authenticity, and will be the first to tell you (and all their friends) when you aren’t keeping it real. Turn your brand’s story into the story of the consumer and join the conversation they are already having in a new and exciting way.

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Think mission vs. position. How does your company make lives better? What does your brand care about? 50% of Gen Y are more willing to purchase from a company that supports a cause they believe in; 37% would even pay more.

Important note about authenticity: you cannot force a viral moment. We repeat, you cannot force a viral moment. It has to happen organically.

>>Be Partners

The best thing “old media” can do to compete with millennial-reaching “new media,” is to partner together. People still watch TV. Print isn’t dead. However, the way the world is consuming these media platforms is changing.

Keep up by partnering with influencers, partnering with new platforms, and partnering with consumers through rewards programs and incentives (44% of millennials are willing to promote products via social media for rewards).

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If you need help doing it, hire some millennials! They are great to work with.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (Turn and Face the Strange)

Here’s the deal, it’s not just about millennials. The whole world is changing. We found a way to pocket all of human knowledge, so it was bound to happen.

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Millennials are just the quickest adapters. Don’t be afraid to grow with them.

And if you have questions, just ask. We’re all millennials here. Or better yet, tweet:)