Millennials are the largest demographic by age in the United States.
Businesses simply can’t ignore that kind of spending power if they want to turn good profits.
But that brings companies to a difficult question: “How do we market to millennials?” Businesses have spent millions of dollars on market research to reach millennials.
They’re a complex group, but this article breaks down the top strategies when marketing to millennials:
1. Get on social media
There’s no secret that millennials are the most online generation in human history. They regularly check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat throughout the day. This is typically their source of news, information, and entertainment.
If a millennial wanted to tell her friend about a make-up item, she probably won’t hold up a magazine article. She’s more likely to share a YouTube tutorial or private message a link to an online blog.
Having a social media presence is crucial to building brand awareness, cultivating trust, and even closing sales. And companies are catching on. Two excellent examples are Nike’s Instagram account and DiGiorno’s Twitter account.
2. Inbound marketing > outbound marketing
Millennials distrust traditional marketing strategies, such as billboards, snail-mail, and email marketing.
These tactics feel impersonal, as though the company is only interested in making a sale. That’s why inbound marketing is significantly more attractive to millennials.
With inbound marketing, the focus is on providing relative content and adding value to potential customers before making a sale.
Companies can be tempted to forego this expenditure since it doesn’t necessarily increase immediate sales.
But this strategy is key in establishing a relationship with a generation that distrusts companies. It’s a long-term sales game, so to speak.
Millennials want companies that are genuinely interested in helping them. And they take note of companies producing free, helpful content.
3. Less advertising. More social proof
Millennials are not as impressed with ads as they are with social proof. They’re much more likely to purchase a product or service if their friends recommend it.
Whenever millennials investigate a company, they typically turn to reviews on Yelp or Google. It won’t matter how beautiful your ad is or affordable your product is if your reviews are in the gutter.
The better strategy is to invest time and money into acquiring good reviews, testimonials, and case studies. These should be displayed proudly on your business website.
When millennials see that other customers are satisfied with your company, they’ll be more likely to buy your services. Here are some other suggestions of social proof you can add to your website:
Counters of how many customers you’ve served
Logos of companies that you’ve serviced
Success stories of previous clients
4. Millennials love collaboration
Millennials are not as interested in a final product as they are in helping create the product.
They prefer to be part of the process and deeply value customization. For example, Oreo invited fans to suggest and ultimately create a new flavor of Oreos. The contest was a huge hit.
Millennials don’t want an insurance plan handed to them. They want access to a user-friendly website where they can easily change their policy as they see fit.
They want to be co-creators, whether it’s customizing their own emojis and video game characters or making suggestions on car designs and restaurant menus.
5. Be interested in the millennial, not the sale
Above all, businesses must convince millennials that they are customer first, sale second.
There’s an unspoken rule that companies must prove they have the customer’s best interest at heart before any sale takes place.
When a business produces a lot of great, helpful content, millennials become regular readers and trust the business. Ultimately, they convert to customers and are die-hard fans before their first purchase.
Marketing to millennials is about nurturing long-term leads. Companies should strive to build a trustworthy brand and become an authority in their industry.
This will generate more leads in the long run than trying to close sales early in the customer-company relationship.
The bottom line is millennials need more convincing that your company cares about them.
Companies cannot afford to ignore millennials. It may take time to understand this complex market, but it’s necessary for profits and growth.
The keys to winning millennials are to focus on adding value first, earning their trust, and then making a sale.
This is accomplished primarily through inbound marketing with a strong online presence.
Avoid traditional advertising and focus on social proof.
Implement these strategies today to better market to millennials.