Have you mastered the art of marketing to millennials?

Get your marketing right

The ‘me, me, me’ generation.

The entitled, the lazy, and the oversensitive.

Millennials seem to have earned themselves a bad rep simply by speaking out about what’s important to them.

But if we take a closer look at the values and behaviours of this cohort, we’ll see that they are in fact purpose-driven, altruistic and ambitious by nature. And let’s not forget this is the only generation who grew up during the midst of the digital revolution.

They witnessed first-hand the proliferation of the digital world: e-commerce, mobile devices, instant messaging and AI. But they’ll also remember a time where landlines and payphones were the only way to reach distant friends and relatives.

As a result, this is a generation who have developed firm ideals and opinions about what they want and what they expect from the online world. As customers, they are far too valuable to disregard.

Millennials today range from ages 22-37, making up 50% of the workforce, and boasting immense buying power. Their presence across social media platforms is undeniable and engaging with them as a brand is paramount to your success. So, how does all of this translate into how they behave as customers? And what do millennials really want?

Financially savvy

Much of the talk about millennial behaviour is biased and speculative.

The common perception is that millennials are broke, ‘spend all of their money on avocados’ and have no interest in savings, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

While millennials do generally struggle to get a foot on the property ladder, they care about how and where they spend their money.

Sure, they might outspend other generations when it comes to things eating out, but when it comes to larger purchases they are otherwise focused on saving and investing their money wisely. This means it’s harder to get them to part with it. For brands, the opportunity lies with much they research before making a purchase.

Millennials peruse available content in the form of videos, blogs and podcasts before making a purchase. Positioning your content wisely across social media platforms – for example, high quality video and images for visual platforms and well-researched and curated content for blogging platforms, will ensure you’re covering all bases.

Peer recommendations

A staggering 91% of millennials buy based on recommendations from friends. But which platforms are they using? While Facebook is more popular with non-millennials, millennials are reticent about completely abandoning the platform. And while they may not be interacting with or posting on the platform as much, they turn to networks such as Facebook and Instagram to see what their peers have to say.

Gone are the days of celebrity endorsements. Marketing strategies today are being tailored towards the modern millennial who favours influencer recommendations and trusts their friend’s endorsements more than interruptive advertisements. According to KissMetrics, 89% of millennials will favour recommendations from their friends or family over claims made by the brand.

By using influencer marketing and UGC (user-generated content), you can begin to integrate this into your strategy. Placing a focus on generating brand advocates and encouraging user generated content by building a community of supporters, who can introduce new prospects and advocates to your brand.

They value authenticity

Having said that, millennials will see through the contrived. You must be authentic with all you do in marketing.

62% of millennials want brands to be authentic and interact with them, so you really need to build and adapt your marketing strategy so that it’s consistent with your brand personality and brand values and be active across your social channels.

Platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook can be used to present your personality in a way that is true to your brand. But if you have several members of the team operating across social accounts, be sure to have a set of brand guidelines in place which gently remind marketers of the brand tone, style and language to ensure consistency and ongoing authenticity.

Do good

Millennials want to be involved with brands that are aligned with their moral compass. Raising awareness of your business values, charity and community work that you do. And, you’ve probably heard this before, but 9 out of 10 millennials are willing take a pay cut to work with a brand which is aligned to their moral values.

But what sort of things do millennials prioritise?

Environmental advocacy is a biggie. Millennials are extremely cognisant of the environmental damage caused by the businesses and the general population, and they actively seek to do business with brands that demonstrate environmental responsibility. Sustainable products and supply chains are attractive to millennials, but if you can’t demonstrate environmental advocacy, explore corporate social responsibility or pair with a charity you genuinely care about. During this exploration stage, you’ll be helping those in need in the process.

They’re health nuts

They’re the ‘gym and green juice’ generation. But don’t worry, you don’t need to sell organic avocados to really connect.

A large part of the millennial mantra is health and wellness. It plays an important part in their lives and the brands they align themselves to. 

Simply being aware of this feature can help you steer your strategy in the right direction. So let’s say you’re a pizza brand. Pizza might be ‘demonised’ by the health and wellness community, but can you spin that on its head? Ok, pizza may not be so great for the body, but why not talk about how good pizza is for the soul on a Saturday night? Millennials still eat pizza, but they want to feel it’s in alignment with their values.

Just demonstrating that you’re aware of their thought processes is enough to get you noticed, as they appreciate you taking into account their values and ethos.

Overall, millennials value experiences. Rather than being focused on acquiring, they’re more drawn to the experience of using a product or service. Pizza with friends on a Saturday night? Sounds good to me.

Stay relevant

Millennials are always up to date on trending topics and relevant current affairs. If your content and promotion can be aligned to resonate and draw on current trends, you’ll be seen as more relatable.

Relatable content is said to resonate and engage more with the millennial and tech-savvy generations since they are consistently in touch with the latest information. If they can see live news and events from behind their smart phone screens, they expect brands to be in the know too.

Social media consumes 24% of millennials’ time, so creating a mrketing strategy that attracts, engages and resonates is essential.

Whilst it would be wrong to pigeon-hole an entire generation, especially one as large as the millennial gen, we can use trends and stats to build an accurate picture of what satisfies the millennial appetite. With this knowledge, brands have the capacity to build and nurture relationships with some of the savviest and more powerful buyers of our time.  Adjust your marketing strategy to correctly target your customers.

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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright
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