The hype around marketing to Millennials is so abundant that it's on the verge of tiresome. But marketers who don't take this tactic seriously will hurt their brands for years to come.
Millennials, or people ranging from ages 23 to 38, are now estimated to be the nation’s largest living generation. They not only make up the largest share of the American workforce, but they also hold major spending power — they are projected to spend $1.4 billion annually in the U.S and represent 30 percent of total retail sales. Despite Millennials' influence, though, some marketers have been slow to understand their habits and preferences.
Millennials are different from other generations because they've grown up in a world where technology is infused in every aspect of life. It delivers an unprecedented level of access to information, people, and brands. This has shaped their worldviews, social structures, entertainment needs, and how they travel, work, and buy.
Many marketers are scrambling to catch up to them, especially in industries that don't yet offer what Millennials are interested in. Inevitably, though, Millennials have different tastes than other generations. For instance, they often prefer beverages like White Claw and Truly to traditional beer and wine. The alcohol industry has felt this impact. The wine industry saw the biggest drop in sales in a quarter of a century. Millennials don't seem interested in cruising down the open road on motorcycles either, which is one of the reasons sales have dropped considerably over the past decade.
Millennials' buying habits are also changing the market itself, leading once-big brands like Macy's and Sears to close stores across the country. According to a survey by CouponFollow, Millennials now make 60 percent of purchases online, up 47 percent from its 2017 survey. They also tend to spend their money on experiences — seeing the world and attending concerts, for example, are valued more than accumulating "things." Despite their unique habits, it’s important to keep up with Millennials. It may be only way to stay relevant in the current and future markets.
Appealing to Millennial Buyers
While Millennial habits are certainly changing in some industries, such change can be positive. For instance, Millennials, who were once thought to be harbingers of death for the auto industry, actually caused recent sales growth.
The best way to ensure your business thrives in the current market is to appeal to Millennials in real, authentic ways. The following four strategies will help you create marketing campaigns that truly resonate with Millennial consumers:
Build environmental appeal.
Millennials are highly concerned about the current and future state of our planet. According to The Shelton Group, 90 percent of Millennials will buy from a brand if they trust its social and environmental practices. What's more, 95 percent would recommend the brand to a friend. So if your company is not already working toward eco-friendly solutions and practices, it's time to start. Then, let consumers know about your efforts through your marketing campaigns.
The auto industry, for instance, has been known to leave a big carbon footprint. Now, though, hybrid and electric cars have become popular with Millennials because they're more sustainable options that require minimal (if any) changes in lifestyle.
Donate to charity.
Similarly, Millennials are concerned with the impact their purchases make on others. Because of that, they expect brands to give back to communities and non-profit organizations. And, according to Business Insider, brands that have a sense of purpose outside of profits grow almost twice as fast as those that do not.
Giving back can also give you free marketing and publicity to reach new audiences. When you sponsor an event for a charity, for example, your logo will be on banners, shirts, social media, and more. And if you post on your own social media accounts when you volunteer, you'll garner more support from your customers — and maybe gain some new ones.
Create personalized campaigns.
Despite the generalizations about Millennials, this generation is made up of unique individuals with their own preferences and personal habits. Because of this, they seek out custom, one-on-one relationships with brands. Show them your business knows them and understands their interests and online behavior. Look at the personal styling services offered by Stitch Fix, for example. Stylists interact directly with customers to gain insight. They also leverage data, which helps them make even more personal selections for customers.
Mobile-first strategies are excellent for delivering personalization. Just about every Millennial has a smartphone, which allows brands to deliver targeted messages or reminders that a favorite store is nearby (and here's a coupon!). You can also use the data collected from these devices to create a customer experience adapted to each individual's preferences, much like Stitch Fix does.
Enhance your digital presence.
Millennials were raised in the social media era. They use it as a source of news, entertainment, and to explore products and services. It's how they operate and interact with the world. So, if you don't exist online —especially on relevant social media channels — you may as well not exist at all.
Start building your social media presence by showing off your inventory or service specials across the channels Millennials love — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Then, take it a step further by showcasing your brand's personality on your social accounts and engaging with your audience through direct interactions. A study by Forbes and Elite Daily found that almost 72 percent of Millennials say they're more likely to become loyal customers if a brand engages on social networks.
So, is it really that important to target Millennials specifically? Absolutely. Their consumer presence will only continue to grow, and businesses that fail to connect with Millennials risk anonymity and their overall success.
Originally published on Target Marketing; February 21, 2020: https://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/4-ways-to-tailor-your-marketing-efforts-to-millennials/