Marketing to Millennials 101

Updated: Feb 26

Millennials have come of age. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials – defined as those born between 1980 - 2000 -- have surpassed Baby Boomers and are the nation’s largest living generation. They are moving into their prime spending years. So how do you spend your marketing budget to tap into their annual household spend of $47,113?

Here are three marketing keys to reaching this first generation of digital natives:

1) Be smart about smart phones

Millennials make up 28% of the population but account for 41% of its smartphone usage. (Experian research)

  • Millennials are quick to do research prior to spending. Ensure easy mobile access to important information that buyers want to know about your products.

  • Optimize your content to enable Millennials to share what they value on social media. Make it possible for them to spread the good word about your products and services.

  • Consider text message marketing. SMS (Short Message Service) allows your customers and prospects to opt in to receive your messages, especially for discounts and promotions. Text messages have a 98% read rate in the first two minutes. Compare that to email open and read rates that are under 20% and you get the sense of marketing magnitude. FYI…57% of Millennials responded that they prefer to receive texts for appointment reminders, tech tips, contests and surveys.

2) Connect with their values

According to Harvard Business Review, Millennials want to make a positive difference in the world. They tend to associate with causes and organizations that align with their values. Be sure that your organization’s values, practices and philanthropies are clear and demonstrable. From sustainability to diversity to community contributions, make sure that the ways your organization operates and gives back are clear to your customers and prospects. These may be powerful, meaningful marketing hooks.

EXAMPLE

I Will What I Want

Check out this award winning, values-based ad by Under Armour featuring Gisele Bundchen. Under Armour focused on tapping into consumers’ emotions and core values. Here, Gisele displays physical stamina and willpower to achieve her goals.

3) Be authentic

Authenticity is a term used frequently in describing Millennials. To be authentic …genuine, dependable, true… is important to this group. It is also important to Millennials to associate with authentic companies and organizations.

  • To be viewed as authentic, your behavior and messaging must be consistent.

  • Your brand voice must match the way Millennials experience your brand every day.

  • Millennials want to see themselves in your marketing.

  • Testimonials from Millennials about their experiences with your company have much more weight than traditional advertising.


EXAMPLE

Ray-Ban Never Hide Campaign

This campaign initiated in 2007 and was re-launched in 2014. The goal: Identify with Ray-Ban in being naturally authentic. “Never pretend. Never be afraid. Never give up. Never hide.” This ground-breaking campaign encouraged people to break free from social norms and courageously strive to be unique.

Millennials become brand loyal when they decide that a company is reputable and worthy of respect. So ensure your information is easily accessible via mobile devices, connect with Millennials’ values and be authentic to move up the loyalty curve with this large and powerful generation.

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