Millennials are hitting the headlines constantly it seems. Whether it’s frittering away house deposits on avocados or being internet obsessed couch potatoes, millennials are never out of (mostly ridiculous) news bulletins. However, as it turns out, millennials are now the largest generational demographic, meaning, they are most likely who you should be marketing to.
Generally speaking, it would appear that the public opinion of millennials is low, with many people believing them to be lazy, lacking in ambition and demanding a trophy just for showing up. However, millennials are actually working longer hours than any generation before them, earning less (and spending more) and with less of a likelihood of enjoying future retirement plans. In short, millennials seem to be workaholics, and they are now coming into their financial maturity. Making marketing to millennials every companies' main priority, with several businesses already ditching former marketing plans to focus entirely on what the millennial wants.
Reshaping the market
It's not a stretch to say that millennials are really making waves in many elements of the world, from politics to how we shop. With 80% of them agreeing that a smartphone is an essential life tool, they are pushing us all, and have been for a while, into a fully digital direction, with mobile accessibility at the forefront (seriously if your website isn't mobile-friendly by now you are in big trouble!). For the companies that refuse to embrace an online life, millennials could be your undoing. Overall, millennials are the most online generation there has ever been, they shop, buy food, watch television and get their news online. So, if your marketing is going to reel them in anywhere, it's going to be online. In fact, social media is a great place to start, with over 47% claiming to check their accounts over 4 times a day and 75% admitting to multitasking, checking their social media while they partake in other things like watching television.
Luckily, social media is one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising. Not only can businesses (big and small) create audiences based on people who visit their website, they can also do it based on the people they want to target on various different levels, from location to interests. Meaning ads are getting specifically seen by people who are more likely to engage with them, whether that's conversion or liking and sharing the content. 72% of millennials like hearing from brands on social media (specifically Facebook) and 55% of them also follow brands on social media just to keep up with their news and content. If marketing to millennials is a direction you are going in, social media should be a key component of that. However, don’t just hop into social media promote mode with no plan, get a social media strategy ready first. Outline your audience, get brand guidelines together that are suitable for this medium, plan what kind of content you will be promoting and ensure you are consistent throughout. Then you will be ready to meet millennials in their territory!
We’ve all heard the term ‘snowflake’ being thrown around when people discuss millennials. They are reportedly the most socially aware generation so far, more liberal leaning, but overall believing that politics is ‘broken’ and unfair. They are more likely to embrace new ideas, are generally more accepting and more concerned with creating a positive landscape for the future, with 25% believing that world peace is a key and pressing issue for the future. Long story short, millennials know who they are and what they believe in and they believe that there are big strides to take in order to create a fair environment for everyone. A ‘down with the kids’ term for this would be being ‘woke’, and companies have been attempting to monopolise on this for some time now, sometimes to their detriment. You can read about this here. If you recall Pepsi’s horrendous attempt at being ‘woke’ with their ad featuring Kendall Jenner stopping a potential riot situation, between protesters and the police, in its tracks by offering them a can of Pepsi.
This ad was not received well and had millennials up in arms calling it insensitive and claimed it was trivialising important marches. The moral of the story, don’t be ‘faux-woke’. If social conscience is something you want to showcase in your company, make sure it’s something your company upholds and will continue to uphold even after the hype dies down. Otherwise, you can rest assured it will be noticed.
Companies who have done well with campaigns featuring a social angle are MAC with their Viva Glam ranges (money goes to those affected by HIV and aids), Newman’s Own (full profit goes to the Newman’s Foundation who disperses it amongst charities and organisations) and even Scotland’s very own ‘Social Bite’, who are aiming to end homelessness in Scotland and even now have high-end restaurants that feed diners as well as homeless people. These are just a small selection of companies who have realised the importance of maintaining a corporate social responsibility for a long time and it would appear that they will continue to do so for a long time yet.
Good service goes a long way
You would think this suits anyone, however, around 56% of millennials would leave their loyalty at the door if they receive bad customer service. In fact, there is a growing trend for brands becoming more personal, and 77% of millennials think it makes a brand more attractive to buy from. So, think about your company’s customer service. Is it good for those on the go? Easy and quick to use? Accessible? If you’re answering no to any of these, you might need to reconfigure things. Well over half the population of millennials prefer features like live chat and emailing to contacting customer service over the phone. Actually, 40% of millennials use Facebook specifically to reach out to brands when they need to. If you can’t answer them on the go, it’s likely they’ll just go elsewhere.
This brings us right back round to social media. Millennials are constantly on the go with busy working and social lives, they get married and settle down later, opting instead to have more experiences while they’re young. Getting them when they’re on the go is your best shot! They’ve given a big green light too, with 69% of them claiming they would prefer to put up with ads if it means they might get something they want. Marketing to millennials might seem like an arduous task, especially when they are portrayed as such a difficult and changeable generation by the media, however, by implementing online and social media advertising well (with relevant content and offerings), you might instead find that they are the most receptive to it…
Things to remember when marketing to millennials
- Get online. Take your advertising online, while 71% admit to still using newspapers and magazines, with the majority of millennials using social media and emails to keep up with their favourite brands, sticking to traditional methods alone is an easy option. Take the leap and put some budget into online advertising.
- Put the social in social media. Don’t only use it as an advertising tool. Use it to communicate with the people who love your products and use social media as a customer service tool. Look at ASOS, who have their here to help Twitter account, making it as easy as possible for their customers to get in touch at the drop of a DM. However, their Facebook customer service leaves a little more to be desired with the wide opinion being that it is run by bots, with customer service answers being repetitive and unable to perform simple requests.
- Good service is key. Following on from the above point, work to get a great customer service experience, it’s one of the things that will keep millennials coming back. It’s all well and good to put tons of money into advertising but if you don’t have the team to keep them keen, why bother?
- Don’t be fake. Don’t try and create an angle for your company that doesn’t exist, be genuine or don’t do it at all. A fake company is worse than one that is honest about its intentions to sell to its customers.
- Think about your audience. Create content that reflects the audience, don’t force content that doesn’t work for your brand. Instead, create meaningful and useful content for your audiences. Afterall, what’s the point in targeting people you know will never want to engage or purchase from you?
Millennials aren’t the lazy and contrary beings that are lambasted in the media. They are headstrong and media savvy, by in large. If advertising is done well, they are very receptive to it and if promises are kept and service is conducted well you are likely to have a long and loyal customer. Take it from the millennial who wrote this article!