The following is a guest blog post by Dan Peel. Dan Peel is a UCLA graduate with a degree in journalism who, as a part of the Millenial generation, knows it well.
The Millennial generation, also known as “Generation Y,” is often referred to as “hip,” “tech-savvy,” and “plugged-in.” Like all stereotypes, these do hold some truth. However, if you want to successfully market to today’s 18-29 year olds, basing your strategies off of these labels will not get you far. Nor will assuming you know how to market to the Millennials because your son or niece is one of them. Instead, look to the trends and preferences of these young men and women in order to understand the characteristics of their generation, and then begin your marketing campaign.
Who Are The Millennials?
A vital aspect of successful marketing is knowing your audience. Therefore, you should familiarize yourself with the distinctive characteristics of the Millennials. You probably already know that they have largely fused their social lives to technology. They are more racially accepting than previous generations, and with their thirst for information, they will become the most educated generation in our country’s history. Here are some other facts you should take into account when planning to market to the Millennials:
- 75% of them have Facebook profiles.
- 1 in 5 Millennials have posted a video of themselves online.
- 40% of them were not raised by both parents.
- Although only 1/5 of the Millennials are married today, surveys have shown that they value marriage and parenthood.
- They believe their parent’s generation has a greater work ethic than their own.
- The Millennials are less religious than previous generations.
- Many Millennials think of themselves as confident and capable of reaching their lifelong goals.
- They are more openly liberal than previous generations.
- They work well in teams.
- The Millennials have adapted to making purchases online using shopping cart software.
- 37% of the Millennials are unemployed.
How to Adapt Your Marketing Techniques for the Millennials
Now that you know a bit more about your target audience and their values, here are some strategies that can help you create a more successful marketing campaigns:
1) Engage in Social Media
This may go without saying, but marketing successfully to a generation that spends much of its time on the Internet requires good social media tactics. Create an online presence for your company that goes beyond your website. Make a Facebook account or fan page for your company, tweet news and promotions, and post informational videos on YouTube. Offer special incentives or promotional perks to your fans and followers, and keep all of your social media outlets updated and alive. Remember, your websites should incorporate a hosted shopping cart and plugins. Also check out Flickr, Four Square, Delicious, and other social media sites, and make use of the ones that are relevant to your company or cause.
2) Gain Their Trust Quickly and Never Betray It
Be real. Communicate your values and your company’s story with honesty. If your messages are too flashy or commercial, the Millennials will see through them, and will quickly discredit your company. Do not have too many banners pushing traffic to your online shopping cart or gimmicky coupons. Remember, with the high supply of online traders and merchants, the Millennials know they have options and are not afraid to use them.
Also, it is important to communicate your message frequently, and to make them consistent. Whether you are using tweets, email list serves, or Facebook posts, be consistent in your messaging. Straying from this will tarnish the Millennials’ trust, and your company will be remembered as one that will say anything for a buck.
3) The Millennials Value Expression
Various forms of expression are valued by the Millennials. Why else would so many of them post pictures and videos online? Make sure that your online outlets allow for the Millennials to have a voice. Give customers the ability to rate products and provide comments. A good place to ask for ratings and reviews is on the page that follows ecommerce shopping cart software checkouts. Create forums, and monitor them with diligence as well. What the Millennials say online about your product and services will either make or break your customer base.
Photo by Fred Miller on Flickr