Marketing and the Millennial
There are 80 million Millennials in America, making up 25% of the entire population. With an annual buying power of $200 billion, it’s safe to say this generation dominates today’s marketplace. So it’s no surprise that such a lucrative demographic has caught the attention of marketers everywhere. But catching the attention of these 19-36 year olds is another story. Companies have struggled to connect with a generation unlike any other. While Millennials might present a challenge to marketers, understanding what makes them tick is the first step in a successful marketing campaign.
Who are Millennials? Millennials grew up with caller ID and they’ve been screening your calls ever since. They know the power of the Junk email folder and they use it often, with zero remorse. Commercials are optional, having long forgotten what it means to watch live TV. If they don’t know something? “Google it!” Give them a bad experience? It’ll be all over the internet tomorrow. Millennials grew up in an expanding world of choice and options, allowing them to tune in or out at their discretion. Inundating them with advertisements will no longer work…at least not in the traditional sense.
Millennials don’t trust typical advertising – they trust what they feel is authentic. Gone are the days of sweet talking your way into consumers’ wallets. This generation wants to be wooed by authenticity. And the best way to separate fact from fiction is research. Millennials are fact-checking pros who will hold you accountable. They aren’t going to be swayed by a sales pitch, instead they’re going to search for engaging and resourceful content that will feed their thirst for information. They’re content-driven creatures who don’t want to be told about your brand – they want to discover it on their own. They spend an average of 25 hours online per week, engaging with content-driven media – sharing, snapping, forwarding, liking, commenting, and tweeting. Educational content is a great way of introducing your product or service to this generation, giving an authentic feel. It makes the millennial feel like your content was created for their interest, not their wallet. Millennials expect a more personalized and engaged experience in order to solve their problems. A great way to do this is to speak their language. Make them feel like they are talking with peers. Not only is this tactic engaging, it also builds comfort and trust within your consumer because now you are relatable.
One of the biggest differences between this generation and past generations is that Millennials want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be active consumers, not passive. They like sharing their opinions and they like it even better when brands listen those opinions. The most successful brands today invite their consumers to be a part of their brand, fueling Millennials self-expression. Nike lets its consumers design and create personal footwear, Oreo invites its consumers to design their very own Oreo packaging, and Coca-Cola created the “Share a Coke” campaign, complete with individual names.
While they may be unlike any other generation before them, Millennials are not impossible to understand. You just need to take the time to get to know them. This group is authentic, content-driven, engaged and hungry for information. If you can create a brand that offers consumers an authentic and engaging experience, you will catch the attention of Millennials. They are so much more than the “selfie” generation they’ve so often been labeled.