As marketing is becoming more and more personalized, there has been an increased focus on one target group in particular—the infamous millennials. Millennials make up 25% of the current population—giving them the distinction of being the largest single audience ever.
So how do you reach 80 million prospective customers who have more than $200 billion in buying power? By connecting with each and every one of them on an individual level. This may sound like an ominous task, but it’s actually a lot easier than you may think.
While the exact age range of millennials can vary from source to source, there are certain characteristics that many of them share. Below are eight of the most common traits across this broad range of individuals.
Since most, if not all, millennials have never known an Internet-free world, they rely heavily on it for just about every decision they make—where, when and why to engage with a particular brand is no exception.
A higher percentage of millennials own smartphones than any other generation, with 97% of millennials aged 25-34 having a smartphone and using it regularly.
Into Experiences Over Objects
Millennials spend a large percentage of their money on eating out, entertainment, transportation services, vacations and other social experiences over material goods. More than two-thirds said attending live experiences helps them connect with family, friends and the world.
Socially and Environmentally Responsible
Millennials like to take a stand on social and environmental issues and are more likely to gravitate towards brands that do as well. According to a recent study, 87% of millennials are willing to purchase products that provide a social or environmental benefit.
Millennials are super savvy when it comes to a number of things, including their money. Many list savings as a priority, and according to a recent study, 75% of millennials track their expenses very carefully.
The millennial population is more connected than any previous generation with 89% of them using social media to stay in touch with family, friends and co-workers.
Millennials appreciate people and brands that are true to who they are. To take it a step further, they will consciously avoid anyone or anything they deem as inauthentic.
This group has the most formal education of any single group in history, with one-third of older millennials having earned a bachelor’s degree.
So…How Do We Market to Them?
Now that we know a little more about what makes millennials tick, it’s time to think about the best ways to not only turn them into customers, but also make them ambassadors for your brand.
1. Optimize for Mobile
We already know that millennials are attached to their phones and that they use them to research products and services they are considering. Ensuring that your website, emails and all of your digital marketing efforts are mobile optimized isn’t just smart, it’s essential if you have any shot of winning over this audience. A poor mobile experience is a sure-fire way of sending your prospects into the waiting arms of an anxious competitor.
2. Engage With Them.
Millennials don’t want brands that just tell them why their products or services are great, they want to be part of the conversation. Engagement is definitely key in creating brand loyalty among this group. In fact, 62% of millennials said they would be more likely to make a purchase from a company that has engaged with them on social media. And 42% said they are interested in helping companies develop their products and services. Invite millennials to share videos, images, reviews and blogs and use this user-generated content (UGC) to help build your brand—together.
3. Keep it Real
One way to earn the respect and trust of any customer, but especially millennials, is to ensure your brand stays true to its values at every touchpoint. This generation isn’t fooled by empty promises and flashy sales gimmicks. Use real words, show real people, tell real stories. In other words be authentic. Always. Customer reviews, testimonials and user-generated content will help make your brand more relatable to this audience.
4. Make Content Key
One-third of all millennials use blogs as a significant source of information. If your company isn’t posting content, they’ll find another one that is. And guess who will win their business. Blogs, podcasts, whitepapers and other content-rich communications are a great way to educate your customers and prospects on industry trends, new products and service offerings, while also positioning your company as a thought leader.
5. Appeal to their Wallet
Millennials love discounts. And they especially love to share discounts with their families, friends and colleagues. Refer-a-Friend types of incentives are typically appealing to this group, especially if they can share via social media.
6. Pay it Forward
Millennials are a deeply caring group. They want to make a difference in everything they do—and they align themselves with others who feel the same way. If your brand is aligned with a cause they believe in, you’re golden—as long as it’s genuine (see #3). 37% of millennials said they will even pay more for a product or service from a company that supports a cause they believe in.
The Bottom Line
While not all millennials are exactly the same, there are many characteristics that can help you market to a large portion of them. One thing we know for sure is that millennials have a tremendous amount of purchasing power on their own—and even more influence over the purchases of others. So however you can gain their trust and their business, it will surely pay off.