What comes to mind when you think of the word millennial?
Some people might think entitled or impatient. I know of certain parents who may consider a certain millennial ‘lazy’ (sorry if my 5 classes and part-time job leaves me needing a nap). Some people think that millennials can’t hold down a job because they’re too busy travelling the world and documenting it on Instagram. Others think that we’re happy laying on our parent’s couches until we’re older twenty-somethings (I’m only 21 so I still have some couch time left), while telling ourselves that 20 bucks a month is sufficient savings.
Moving from a society where you’re expected to be out of the house, hitched, and working a 9-5 by the age of 25, many people are opting to stay home to reduce costs, or help them through post-secondary. This contributes to a higher disposable income compared to earlier generations, and more buying power. It’s estimated that by 2017, millennials will spend upwards to $200 billion – which is ironic, because I’d spend a lot less moving out of my parent’s place.
The combination of all of this means that millennial marketing could go several ways. It’s easy enough to assume that because millennials spend so much time looking at a screen – whether that be a phone, tablet, laptop – that as long as your brand is on the major platforms, you’re golden. Unfortunately, not so much the case.
So, coming from a millennial, here’s how to market to me.
Authenticity wins big
If these dodgey dating apps have taught us millennials anything, it’s how to have a keen eye for insincere, fake intentions. We don’t trust traditional, profit-driven advertisements – we know you’re a brand, so we can connect those dots ourselves. Why would I want to spend my money on a brand that’s traditionally salesy, when there are brands out there being honest and open about their product and pricing? Though some people may not think so, millennials still want to make well informed purchase decisions – and brands that give me the resources to do so are a lot more likely to get my business than a brand that uses billboards or pop-up ads. This authenticity also helps build a relationship of trust. If you wanna check out one brand that prides themselves on transparency, visit Everlane, by far one of the coolest brands, and Instagram accounts, I’ve seen.
Like I mentioned before, just because your brand may be on every platform for every device that millennials are using, doesn’t mean we’re necessarily listening. If you want millennials to notice you and your brand, your content strategy should include:
Visual content is a power-house approach to engage, promote brand awareness, and get millennials to share your branded content via social platforms. Our attention spans may not always be the longest, and we always seem to be multitasking. Visual mediums like images, videos, or live-streaming events is a great way to get our attention, with minimal effort on our end (unlike reading, yuck). This form of content can also be easily shared and viewed on any major social platform, and can also be either be static or in real-time.
The most infamous word millennials have contributed to the English language is the ‘Selfie’. What can we conclude from that? Millennials see no problem focusing time on themselves – and even more so when they upload these pictures to Instagram or Facebook. So if given the chance to create their own content for a certain promotion or event, they dive in head first. Whether it be contributing snaps to a Snapchat Story, sending in videos of tips and tricks for different products, or capturing how they use a certain item – millennials love creating this kind of content on their own. Actually, around 46% of us. We love the creative freedom it gives us, and the opportunity for brands to share the authentic experiences (both good and bad) that their audiences have encountered.
Up to date technology
Agencies aiming millennials target both on, and with, the latest in technology. It shows that you as a brand are up to trend, are relevant, and can share a common interest with millennials. 56% of us are among the first to try out new technology, and are 2.5x more likely to adopt new technology compared to other generations. Mercedes Benz hoped on the 360 degree video-bandwagon when promoting their latest SUV. Streaming on YouTube (notice, not television), the video features Instagram sensation Loki the Wolf Dog adventuring in the great outdoors, alongside their favourite Mercedes. Apart from the great combination of influencer marketing and storytelling going on, this shows that Mercedes is up to date and that they can create value using the latest technology.
Beyond the bottom line
Even though some people associate millennials with being entitled, we’re actually much more inclined to do business with brands whose bottom line isn’t their only concern. Brands who consistently exercise corporate social responsibility can even charge higher prices to an extent – 37% of millennials will pay more if a brand supports a cause that they care about. Additionally, brands who are driven by more than just profit get more ‘millennial love’. Brand loyalty and helping others – honestly though, what’s NOT to love?
Millennials – we’re really not all that hard to figure out. We like being creative, expressing ourselves, and being heard. As long as your brand can engage with us, and give us the opportunity to do so, you’ll have us eating out of your hands (and not because we spent all our money on plane tickets instead of groceries).