Millennials are perhaps one of the most fascinating generations in recent history. They were raised parallel to the rapid advancement of technology and the internet.
They were really the first generation to grow up with access to practically all the information in the world literally at their fingertips. With a lifetime spending power of around $10 trillion, brands everywhere need to be finding innovative ways to reach this age group.
That being said, businesses need to start looking to the future and creating their messaging in a way that sparks Millennials’ interests. Let’s talk about a few approaches to consider when trying to reach this unique generation.
Be Transparent and Authentic
In a world dominated by Google searches and Facebook updates, it’s safe to assume that every piece of brand messaging, product information, or presentation you publish will be thoroughly fact-checked.
Millennials are perhaps one of the most skeptical generations in history and for that reason, it is crucial for brands to do their best to be both transparent and authentic in every move they make.
Millennials spend an average of 25 hours per week on the web. Content-driven media reigns supreme as younger consumers are constantly scouring through things like social networking platforms, blog posts, websites, and forums while tweeting, commenting, snapping, and sharing everything they see.
In order to appease a millennial audience, there are a few key factors to keep in mind when producing brand material.
Open communication – the beauty of social media is that allows for immediate and convenient communication between brands and consumers. It truly gives everyone a voice that can be heard by the masses. One of the best ways to exhibit authenticity is by using this opportunity to interact and engage with your audience on a personal level. While you don’t have to respond to every single notification you receive, you must do your best to convey your values as well as brand persona. Take a look at Oreo. They are famously interactive with their followers on Twitter.
Relevancy – take Bernie Sanders for example in his 2016 presidential campaign. Millennials preferred him over every other candidate. This wasn’t because most millennials are socialists, but because he was the only one passionately speaking about issues that were directly tied to them. To appeal to the younger generation, your business has to speak their language and address relevant issues they face. With each piece of content or brand material you produce, ask yourself: what problems does this fix for the younger audience?
Show that you care – This applies to more than just a millennial audience. Showing that your business truly cares about making a difference is a phenomenal way to exhibit authenticity. In terms of millennials, supporting a social cause is one the best ways to gain their respect. In fact, 70% say they will spend more on brands supporting causes they care about. Patagonia is a quintessential example of a brand built around a social cause. Throughout their operations, they remain a strong catalyst for eliminating waste and are 100% transparent about how their products are made from A to Z without causing harm to the environment.
Millennials are taking over control of the consumer market. As authenticity and transparency are strong values amongst this group, brands must adhere to this concept for the sake of their future.
Find and Use Influencers
There’s no denying that the traditional marketing techniques that worked magic on older generations have little to no effect on the millennials.
Being raised in a world dominated by social media, millennials tend to trust bloggers and YouTubers more than brands themselves.
Enter influencer marketing for brands. Influencer marketing is the concept of finding popular figures within a certain community to speak on behalf of your brand to their respective audience. In most cases, the influencer’s word means a lot to audience because they already trust them.
The key is finding someone with a large following pertaining to your industry. This can be a blogger, politician, journalist, or even another business owner.
For example, Loot Crate, a gaming brand, collaborated with a YouTuber named PewDiePie, who has over 52 million subscribers.
This YouTuber promoted their products and even offered a $10 discount off a Loot Crate subscription. As you can see, the video got over 9 million views!
Using influencer marketing in your content strategy can be a game changer for your brand as 92% of consumers rely on referrals from people they know and trust over anything else when making purchases.
Invest in Mobile
This should be a no-brainer. Millennials are a very mobile-focused generation. 87% of them admit to having their smartphones by their side every second of every day. In fact, over two-thirds say they check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning and nearly a third admit they actually get “anxious” when they don’t have their phone on them.
Over the last few years, mobile browsing has become the preferred method over desktop. This trend appears to be here to stay.
Everything from your mobile layout, blogging platform, to your shopping cart should be seamlessly made to adhere to a mobile landscape.
While building or redesigning your site with a mobile-first focus, consider a platform such as Shopify, which combines app integration, ecommerce and web hosting functions into one readymade solution.
When it comes to a mobile interface, there are a lot of factors that play into its success. Loading time is a big one. One of the unfortunate side effects that comes with the vast amounts of information users are constantly subjected to is an extreme lack of patience.
Slow loading times can be a huge culprit to losing valuable leads. Investing in a good mobile platform could very well be one of the most important things you can do to attract and maintain a millennial audience.
Embrace User-Generated Content
As previously mentioned, Millennials are very receptive to like-minded users. Overall, 93% of consumers find user-generated content (UGC) helpful when making purchasing decisions.
Like influencer marketing, UGC does a lot to provide a sense of social proofing for brands. Encouraging your customers to share their unique experiences with your product or service is a very effective way to build trust. YouTube and Instagram are phenomenal tools to promote UGC.
Perhaps one of the best examples of strong UGC is done by GoPro.
Here is the “Watch Channel” section of their website. They encourage customers to capture and share their most exciting moments to be posted on the website. By doing this, they have basically turned their customers into their own content marketing team.
There are many other brands out there that sell cameras. However, none of them are able to market their product in the same way as GoPro.
The reason this strategy is so effective is that it touches on more than just owning a video camera. It gets down to the root cause of why people want to buy cameras in the first place.
That reason is to share their life’s precious experiences. When a visitor sees all these amazing stories captured on a GoPro, they are encouraged to go out and create their own.
Currently, there are almost 5 million GoPro subscribers on YouTube and over 6,000 GoPro tagged videos uploaded every day.
86% of Millennials believe that UGC is a good indicator of brand or product’s quality. If you have not hopped on the bandwagon yet, don’t waste any more and start brainstorming some creative ways to harness the power of your customers to drive conversions.
Always Reward Loyalty
Everyone likes to be rewarded. Perhaps one of the biggest knocks on the millennials is that they grew up in a world that rewarded them for just about everything. Say what you will about this generation.
As they get older, this mindset has become about a lot more than just participation trophies.
As a rapidly emerging force to be reckoned with in terms of spending power, properly rewarding customer loyalty, or “participation,” might be the one of the smartest moves you will ever make.
Starbucks’ rewards program does a great job in communicating its benefits with simplicity. There are entry-level perks which include things like a free drink and Wi-Fi on your birthday. Then, there’s gold-level which comes with a wide variety of free items.
Putting a rewards program in motion is a great move to attract millennial consumers. It's the first step in customer retention, which is far more profitable and trackable as compared to customer acquisition. Get creative and think outside the box!
The Millennials are coming. They are flooding the workplace and will soon have a spending power than cannot be ignored.
With a population of nearly 80 million in the United States alone, it can be difficult to speak to their values and habits.
Keep in mind, they are highly social and skeptical beings that love their smartphones. Use these ideas to help draw their attention and maintain it into the future.
About - Ankit Panchal is an SEO Analyst and Strategist at E2M - a full service digital marketing agency based out of India. He's always in search of new link building & content marketing strategies. He makes sure his defined strategies work well for all the clients and is always ready to help anyone in the team. Catch him on Twitter – ankit_panchal20.