Marketing to Millennials: How to Get in With the Cool Crowd

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Did you see that snap? Have you checked your Insta today? Are you and bae texting right now? If you’re a millennial, this jargon is all too familiar. But if you feel lost or uncertain, then you need to learn more about marketing to millennials.

Not to worry, we’re here to help! First, let’s cover a few basics.

What is a millennial?

Also known as “Generation Y,” millennials are individuals born between 1980 and 2000.

Why are millennials always on their phone?

Contrary to popular belief, millennials aren’t constantly taking selfies. As early social media adopters, millennials stay connected to their friends, family, and peers through social media giants, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Formerly favored modes of marketing and advertising, like TV commercials, are not as effective for reaching millennial consumers. Only 46 percent of millennials have a cable subscription.

Why is it important to market to millennials?

By 2017, millennials are projected to spend over $200 billion annually and more than $10 trillion in their lifetimes, which means they will have more purchasing power than any other generation and are bound to reshape the global economy.

Marketing to millennials is not only trendy, but a smart financial decision that is essential to your bottom line. Here are three tips to help you better market to the rising generation of consumers.

1. Keep it customizable and personal

Remember when Coca-Cola released its customizable “Share a Coke” campaign? Well, their personal approach led to an additional 25 million Facebook fans and a 2 percent annual increase in sales by the end of 2014. And it was a hit among millennials. Coca-Cola is among one of the top ten favorite brands of millennials; Apple, Nike, and Target also make the top ten list.

Nike has been a popular brand among millennials due to its customizable nature. A whopping 40 percent of millennials want to be involved in the co-creation of both brands and products. When you first visit the Nike website, you’ll see that their shopping tabs are labeled “Men,” “Women,” “Boys,” “Girls,” and “Customize.” They have a whole section dedicated to customization for their products. This is especially important for millennials because more than half of them want a brand to reflect their personality.

2. When marketing to millennials, intent matters. Be loyal.

Even if you have top tier content, it’s possible that your lagging social responsibility, or your brand’s obligation toward the welfare of the society in which it operates is driving millennials away from your brand. Social responsibility is among the top five reasons a millennial chooses certain brands. In fact, about 75 percent of millennials believe it’s fairly important or very important that their favorite brands give back to their community or their customers. Millennials want their brands to be good and make them feel good too.


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Additionally, brands with a corporate social responsibility (CSR) plan receive the benefit of millennial conscious consumerism; 64 percent of millennials base their stock and mutual fund purchasing based on whether or not a brand invests in CSR. If your brand is loyal, millennials will be too. Millennials have strong brand loyalty, 70 percent of them will continue to support brands that they adore.

3. Provide excellent customer feedback and service options

When deciding which brand or product to support, millennials turn to their friends, social networks, and online customer feedback for advice. However, more than half of millennials will turn to recommendations from “strangers” on the Internet, and turn to those recommendations more than they turn to their friends’ recommendations. Compare this to only 34 percent of baby boomers who are willing to turn to online feedback recommendations.

Your brand’s social media presence is also a customer service hub that millennials depend on. Millennials especially trust brands with a strong social media presence — 62 percent of millennials are more loyal to brands with a social media presence that engages directly with its customers. Millennials expect an authentic relationship with the brands they love and share their feedback with. This makes sense, given that nearly 70 percent believe their feedback, whether negative or positive, holds value.

Main takeaway

With 92 million millennials in the United States, better marketing to millennials will not only set you apart from your competitors, but it will also increase your brand’s value and bottom line.

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