Forget What You Thought You Knew About Millennials
1. Millennials Are All Grown Up
The key thing businesses need to get used to in 2020 is that the Millennial generation is all grown up. They have jobs, everything from physicians and lawyers to clerks and mechanics. Some live on their own, while others are married with kids. Some rent or lease, while others are homeowners. This means marketing to Millennials is like marketing to any consumers: it requires segmenting, targeting, and positioning.
In short, Millennials are no longer teenagers and burgeoning adults, characterized by few worries and even less money. Marketers need to forget that outdated stereotype and adapt. – Tamara Marie Johnson, Senior Content Strategist, Smallpdf
2. Millennials Have Grown Up With a Diverse Mix of Media
As a customer persona, Millennials can be one of the more difficult audiences to truly capture. Having grown up with technology, the mix of media they consume is incredibly diverse and includes everything from traditional blogs & podcasts to social media & mobile apps. As a group, they are incredibly distracted and their media choices are incredibly fragmented. – Nate Nead, CEO, SEO.co
3. Millennials Hate Brands That Try Too Hard
Millennials are known as digital natives which means they have a good understanding of how the digital world works. Millennials also have a very self-deprecating, cynical sense of humor compared to other age groups. This combination means that Millennials not only understand how companies are marketing to them online, they’re also unenthusiastic about mostly everything they see. Trying too hard to impress is the least cool thing you can do in the eyes of a Millennial, so your marketing efforts need to be discreet and not overly aggressive. – Sam Williamson, Owner, CBDiablo
4. Millennials Are Sick of Marketing Speak and Crave Authenticity
I read in a recent survey that 63% of Millennials said the primary purpose of businesses should be improving society instead of generating profit. This may be the first generation driven more by purpose than profit even though terms like lazy, entitled, distracted, or worse are often used to describe Millennials in the workplace. Study after study shows that Millennials are the first generation to demand that their 40-hour a week jobs be more than just a place to work. So what are the best ways to reach them? In my experience, the top 3 tips for marketers are to:
Be authentic. Millennials are looking for straight talk, a sense of community, and a path to a better society. Tell your story so they can connect, be human when you share content that informs, educates, and entertains them, respond to comments to keep them engaged. They want the steak (or alternative meat) not the sizzle.
Go mobile. Millennials are tied to their phones, few use desktop computers so mobile ads and content are the way to go. Leverage multiple social media platforms to reach them where they are. If your messages are not optimized for a mobile-first or mobile-only environment you are at risk for a frustrating experience at best and potentially alienating them going forward.
Have a cause they can support and join. Millennials want to save the world so follow/partner with influencers/podcasters/YouTubers/bloggers who carry a lot of weight with them. The goal is for them to become fans of your brand that is when they turn into true champions and a successful business is built around a community of people who are bought into your mission and vision. – Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls
5. Millennials Expect You To Market With Them, Not At Them
With Millennials, a fundamental truth you must accept to be effective is to recognize they are adults with adult responsibilities. Marketing strategies that pander or only target surface level buzzwords about this group will quickly lose steam. They are also typically idealists, with strong convictions and alignment with causes. This means you need to give them agency by marketing with them, not at them. You need to make them feel involved in the process, highlight their narratives, and encourage their opinions. The more they are a part of the process, the stronger their loyalty.
While video is one of the best forms of content to use, content that has a narrative and is highly actionable is great for Millennials. They want stories, personal accounts, that educate and motivate. We have had a lot of success with spotlight pieces about our clients and are currently creating an archive of personal accounts from professionals during COVID-19. – Noelle Brooks, Choice Premiums
6. Millennials’ Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is Real
Millennials have grown immune to the pay-per-click ad placements and sponsored ad spots on Facebook and Instagram; however, content marketing and marketing via influencers remains an extremely popular and effective tactic to market to the Millennial generation.
At the core, Millennials have a fear of missing out (FOMO) and beyond that, have a fear of appearing to be missing out. From a young age, Millennials were exposed to the reality that they had to control how others viewed them. Starting with MySpace and transitioning to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, Millennials are professionals at creating a persona by which they expect to be perceived.
Millennials have always been exposed to lavish lifestyles. Whether their parents provided them with luxurious perks or their Instagram idol teased them with images of Lamborghinis and Gulfstream private jets, Millennials have literally seen more and been shown more than previous generations. As such, Millennials often look to and follow those who have made it. – Ryan Vet, Author of Cracking the Millennial Code, RyanVet.com
7. Millennials Have Shorter Attention Spans, Like the Rest of Us
Millennials are no easy target audience. Some research has now shown that our attention spans have now declined to below 2 seconds. This is concerning, especially when it comes to marketing strategies. Even though marketing has always been about grabbing the attention of the consumer, it is now more important than ever.
The most effective way of marketing to Millennials is through visual aids such as videos and online graphics. These marketing methods should be used on social media where the majority of Millennials spend their days. – Andrew Roderick, CEO, Credit Repair Companies
8. Millennials Expect Your Brand to Interact with Popular Culture
The first thing that comes to mind when marketing to Millennials is to be relatable to them and the things they care about. Millennials appreciate and trust sources and people that seem like they get them, and this can really help your marketing stand out and really communicate a message well.
One simple example is to include popular online trends in your marketing, such as memes and GIFs. These are elements Millennials are very familiar with, and many of them feel they are an exclusive part of their generation. When they see marketing with memes and gifs, they can more easily get behind the message because it’s familiar territory.
Being relatable also means getting in touch with popular culture and the types of music, people, and lifestyles that Millennials look up to. Including aspects of these in your marketing is a way to communicate effectively with Millennials. – Chane Steiner, CEO, Crediful
Mobile Is Your Battleground
9. Millennials Are Almost Always on Their Phones
Go mobile and get on social media! 93% of Millennials own smartphones and spend more than 5 hours per day with their eyes glued to their phone screen, which is more than any other age group. They use their phones to communicate, compare prices, read reviews, but most importantly, Millennials use various apps. The most popular one is, of course, Facebook (84%), followed by Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and other platforms.
This is why it’s important to focus on social media marketing to generate sales. One of the best ways to increase engagement is by producing engaging content, e.g. polls. And since most Millenials are content creators, you can also share their user-generated content (UGC) and engage them in the co-creation of your products. – Valerie Frolova, Outbound Manager, Snov.io
10. Millennials Expect Mobile-Optimized Experiences
More than 90% of Millennials own smartphones, and they use them constantly. That means Millennial audiences usually interact with your brand on their mobile phones. Having that in mind, you should prioritize a mobile-optimized user experience across all touchpoints such as website and landing pages, social media, search, and display advertisements. – Alexandra Zelenko, Senior Marketing and Technical Writer, DDI Development Company
11. Millennials Want to Get Straight to the Point
Marketing to Millennials requires brief communication that conveys your message immediately. This generation doesn’t bother with marketing that is time-consuming to read, access, or utilize. Don’t bother with a lot of introduction, explanation, or description; simply get to the point on how your products and services will make their life easier. – Shelley Grieshop, Public Relations Director, Totally Promotional
Find Your Cause and Support It Like Crazy
12. Millennials Expect Brands to Support a Cause
Millennials are a different kind of buyer. They are intelligent and hungry for success; they want to change the system; instead of work 9 to 5, they’d prefer to create their own business, start something new, and change the world; they actually hold high levels of buying frequency and power. Just giving a good value proposition or offering an awesome product won’t be sufficient to close the deal. According to recent research, Millennials are more willing to make a purchase if your business supports some type of cause. – Ben Hartwig, Chief Security Officer and Head of Software Engineering, InfoTracer
13. Millennials Expect Brands to Take a Stance on Social and Political Issues
Millennials are dedicated to advancing social change, whether volunteering at community gardens or participating in political activities. Keeping this fact in mind, marketers should consider emphasizing the positive social and cultural attributes of their brands.
What steps is your brand taking to reduce its carbon footprint? How is your brand fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce? Do your employees volunteer at animal shelters or schools?
Chances are your business and employees are taking at least one step toward social change. Incorporate these steps into your mission statement and marketing messages to highlight your brand’s social responsibility. With 74% of Millennials saying that more brands should take public stands on important social values, Millennials will likely take notice and gravitate toward your brand over brands taking a more lax approach. Make sure to be genuine and authentic in your messaging, however, as Millennials are also perceptive.
Focus on sharing your message on interactive and highly-visual channels. Facebook and Instagram are popular social media channels for Millennials, so consider developing campaigns and content around these platforms. You should also consider adapting your website, content, and visuals to enhance mobile experiences, as 63% of Millennials shop on their smartphones every day. Millennials also value experiences, so sharing videos, interactive infographics and other types of engaging content can better connect your brand with this generation of consumers. – Jonathan Ochart, Founder & CEO, The Postcard Agency
14. Millennials Expect Brands to Give Back
We have found that Millennials are a unique generation when it comes to marketing. For example, we have found that Millennials are generally more socially conscious and interested in businesses that give back to the community. It is for this reason that we built a social enterprise component into our business whereby we donate 15% of our profit to several non-profit organizations that work to supply clean drinking water in developing countries. In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are offering a 15% discount to nurses and doctors on the front lines. In our experience, showing that your business cares about more than just the bottom line can greatly increase interest in your product or service among more socially conscious Millennials, and this has been true in our experience.
In addition, we find that marketing which talks up a product or service tends to be less effective with Millennials; however, marketing that provides real added value to their experience can be effective at creating greater interest and confidence in your business. One might argue that this difference comes about due to the fact that Millennials have spent much of their lives learning to block out relentless marketing on the internet. – Jessica Rose, CEO, Copper H2O
15. Millennials Expect Brands to Stand for Something
To market to Millennials, find out what they care about or identify with, and align your marketing strategy with it. A while back, a study noted that 76% of buyers in this generation would buy and be loyal to a brand if they like what the brand stands for.
Of course, every brand has its own guiding principles, so it is not about changing your brand’s foundational principles, but finding commonalities with what Millennials stand for. When you find that sweet spot where your interests and the interests of Millennials collide, then you have hit gold. – Reuben Yonatan, Founder & CEO, GetVoIP
16. Millennials Expect Brands to Be Transparent
Beyond meeting Millennials on the platform they’re using, it’s simply a matter of authenticity. Rather than trying to sell through social media platforms, we use it as an opportunity to give transparency into our company and the work we’re doing to help the homeless. If you create a great product and conduct your business with integrity, then your marketing efforts should be focused on building a meaningful relationship with your customers. – Sam Harper, Co-Founder, Hippy Feet
17. Millennials Gravitate Towards Brands that Align with Their Views
As Bigcommerce points out, the buying power of the Millennial generation is tremendous and it really cannot be ignored. Meeting a Millennial on their playing field is what it’s all about if a brand wants to target this generation successfully. While this generation is often labeled as lazy and entitled, their positive attributes include their higher-than-average levels of education, their commitment to charitable support, and their unprecedented drive to better our world.
To market correctly to this demographic, brands should consider what’s most effective to reach them. Research studying the Millennial generation indicates that many Millennials are influenced by brands that support charitable causes. Neil Patel points out that Millennials look for brands that support a cause, noting that up to 50% of Millennials will make a purchase if that purchase will support a cause. The more in-line charitable entities are with a Millennial buyer’s views, the more likely they are to purchase. In addition, Millennials tend to identify with brands that have a strong brand presence on social media, can showcase a wide variety of reviews, are adaptable and transparent.
Messaging on your website, through social media posts, email blasts, or utilized within paid advertising campaigns needs to be transparent and honest. Explaining who and what your brand is all about are most likely to nab the attention and earn the trust of a Millennial buyer. The more open and engaging the content, the more likely the message is to resonate with Millennial consumers. Because this demographic is so heavily influenced by social media, brands must be willing to interact with them there. Meeting them in spots where they most frequent is an important part of the overall strategy. – Rebecca Fairbanks, Director of Marketing, Coalition Technologies
Social Media Reigns Supreme
18. Millennials Use Social Media for a Variety of Reasons
A huge percentage of Millennials are not only on social media but use social media as a place to investigate potential purchases. Interestingly, it’s also the first place most Millennials go to contact a company about a customer service issue, so having a presence on social media is hugely important. – John Frigo, Digital Marketing Lead, My Supplement Store
19. Millennials Expect Content to Be Multi-Faceted
We create beautiful products, but Millennials don’t want to just see pretty pictures, they want to know how our products came to be and how their purchase can support the environment and the communities we work with.
For us, when marketing to Millennials, Pinterest and Instagram lead the way. We know that Millennials hang out on these platforms. We recently stepped up our ad spend on Pinterest for business and Instagram story ads and saw a huge growth in our Millennial conversion rate. Infographics worked particularly well with CTR’s of over 20% in some instances. Once on our site, they get a wealth of content ranging from blogs about going zero-waste, recipe ideas, and videos showing how our products are made. That way, they get a visual plus some new information. – Chris Chalk, Co-Founder, Jungle Straws
20. Millennials Are Constantly Adapting to New Social Media Trends
More and more influencers and companies are marketing to Millennials on TikTok. Many companies are paying TikTok to advertise directly from the app itself and seeing success; others are using their own accounts to upload viral videos that help them gain a following or paying TikTok influencers to advertise for them. These accounts do best when they create funny or informative videos and make sure to mention their offer in the video itself. – Jason Davis, CEO, Inspire360
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Blogging
21. Millennials Read Blogs to Research Products Prior to Buying
Engage with Millennials through blog posts. Millennials enjoy reading blogs, especially those written with a voice that resonates well. They read blogs before making a purchase. They use these pieces of content as research materials, so it would be best to use this as leverage.
Be authentic with your brand message. Millennials identify well with content, and they prefer content that bears an honest message. You can’t fool this younger generation, and they would immediately tune out if something comes across as inauthentic even for the slightest bit.
Make use of testimonials. First-hand accounts of other people matter to Millennials. These stories are a way for them to prove the authenticity of a product or service. Like blogs, you can also utilize this to your advantage and move forward. – Jack Wang, CEO, Amazing Beauty Hair
22. Millennials Relate to Brands Through Storytelling
Creating content for the sake of creating content is not enough anymore. Millennial consumers want to connect with a brand through the content they produce. Storytelling helps to enable this connection. – Maksym Babych, CEO, SpdLoad
23. Millennials Use Blog Content to Forge a Deeper Connection with Brands
Millennials are jaded by mainstream social advertising because they have seen the transition of existing social media channels like Instagram and Snapchat from social sharing with friends to thinly veiled advertising platforms.
Successful marketing requires a deeper connection through storytelling of the product, the brand, or the person behind the marketing. – Denis O’Flynn O’Brien, Co-Founder & COO, LivePitch
24. Millennials Love Brands Whose Blog Posts Provide Real Value
In my experience, effective marketing to Millennials requires a bit of effort. They’re smart buyers and they’re skeptic consumers, so brands must concentrate on giving value rather than putting out sales content.
It’s quite obvious that social media platforms are where Millennials are, so it might be surprising that one in three Millennials will actually refer to blogs before making a purchase. That being said, it’s extremely important to post useful content on your blog and to get featured on other blogs as well. – Tom De Spiegelaere, Founder, Tom Spicky
25. Millennials Expect Consistent High-Quality Posts
Most Millennials read blog content to get the information they need before deciding on the purchase. Ensure that you are publishing consistently in your blog and you add value to your blog readers by sharing tips and other useful information. This will help you establish relationships with your customers and build a loyal customer base. – David Morneau, inBeat
Testimonials and Reviews Win Over Millennials’ Hearts
26. Millennials Love to Be Part of the Content
When marketing to Millennials, it’s critical to remember that they want and love to be a part of the content: they want to be included in the brand they love. In other words, user-generated content is huge with Millennials. They don’t just want their favorite brands to interact with them, they expect it.
Millennials can be your most loyal customers if you give them what they want, and they will not shy away from sharing how they feel about your brand to others. Whether they write positive reviews about your brand, share your videos, or take pictures with your products, they spread your brand’s name. In many ways, your Millennial customers can turn into your brand advocates, or if you don’t meet their expectations, they’ll leave you for your competitors who do meet their demands. The trickiest part of all of this, however, is that Millennials’ desires can change on a dime. If brands want to stay competitive, it’s all about keeping up with the trends. Know what’s popular and develop a strategy around that. – Brock Murray, COO, seoplus+
27. Millennials Want Proof
Most Millennials don’t trust traditional advertising; they want proof and a good way to give them what they want is through reviews. Many people would rather gauge a product or service on consumer feedback over price so placing reviews on display will gain the trust of Millennials.
Another thing they look for is a story behind the product. Adding a short bio of the company founder or having short stories from people who have purchased the product will all be useful.
Getting Millennials on board couldn’t be easier: they just want a truthful guarantee behind the product. – Michael Lowe, CEO, Car Passionate
28. Millennials Will Always Find Your Negative Reviews
Millennials don’t take your word for it. They look for third-party assurance, such as reviews, testimonials or the like. Be creative in how you do this: if you sell a lot of products, consider a rolling tab of the most frequent reviews, positive or not. They will source out the negative reviews anyway, so best be fresh about them, – Andrew Taylor, Director, Net Lawman
29. Millennials Hate False Testimonials and Inauthentic Storytelling
The best way to market to Millennials is to use authentic, user-generated content instead of trying to come up with clever marketing strategies. Millennials have seen it all and trying to dupe them with false testimonials and made-up stories just won’t work. Instead, be authentic in your messaging, point out your core values and why you do what you do, show some genuine social proof and you’ll do much more than your competition. Focus on social media networks like Instagram and Facebook and don’t worry too much about the content on your own website. – Jane Kovalkova, CMO, Chanty
30. Millennials Value the Art of Good Customer Service
Never has it been more important to limit your word count than when marketing to Millennials. As a generation that grew up during the rise of social media, they are a generation that is split between spending their time on the Internet but also values real-life experiences and scenarios (like purchasing in person). Because of this, Millennials might be the toughest group to effectively market to in history.
But, if you can grab a Millennial’s attention and prove your value, you might just find a customer for life. And it may lead to much more business. A recent study showed 89% of Millennials trust recommendations from friends and family more than claims by a brand.
My tip: Make sure you really cater to your Millennial audience and go that extra mile to communicate with them. If you can provide quality customer service, respond to their comments, and listen to their feedback, you can gain a client that continues to come back over and over, as well as share your company with others.
Millennials still appreciate the art of good customer service, while also enjoying the speed and convenience of social media. If you can provide great customer service through your online business, Millennials will respect it and even spend more on it. – Bernie Wong, Founder and Owner, Social Stand Limited
Video Will Help You Stand Out from the Crowd
31. Millennials React to Controversial Topics
The best channels through which to market to Millennials are Facebook/Instagram and YouTube. These are used the most by Millennials and offer very powerful paid advertising services. As of April 2020, Facebook had nearly 2.5 billion users alone, while YouTube has a user base of 2 billion and Instagram behind them with 1 billion users. Additionally, it is reported that 84% of 25-30-year-olds use Facebook, and 79% of 30-49-year-olds use Facebook also. The numbers are astounding and are exactly why Facebook is one of the best platforms to market to Millennials.
The content that seemingly works best is videos. These videos should be somewhat controversial so it entices the viewers to comment and engage with the post and other people in the comment section. Make sure not to cross the line of controversy and harm, but if done properly your video can prosper and will outperform competitors. – Will Cartwright, Owner, GetKnownPros
32. Millennials Love to Consume Short-Form Video
Any kind of short-form video (less than 1 minute) is what’s thriving right now. Our attention is constantly being pulled in different directions and since social media is so on demand, Millennials are looking for quick information while still being entertained. If you can create an entertaining, short-form video while still highlighting the pain and pleasure points of your product/service, you’ll win them over. Bonus points if you can include your business/product into a relevant meme/online trend.
Instagram will always be a relevant and great option to market to Millennials. You have the visuals, you’re able to post longer-form captions for the people who do like to read, you have Instagram stories where you’re able to teach and give people an insider view on you and your business, you also have the close friends and group chat DMs to build closer relationships with your audience. – Julia Piccoli, Founder, Julia Piccoli Coaching
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