June 5, 2017 Terry Lynn Campbell

Millennial Marketing: the mystery.

A beginner’s course.

It’s a hot-button subject that nearly every client hastily approaching advertising seems to want to address. What’s the trick to millennial marketing? How do we catch that elusive fox?

In the digital age, it seems like the whims of the generation change from day to day—if not more often. Pinpointing what appeals to millennials is almost impossible. But, we can’t afford to not try. Millenials are on the brink of middle-age, thus representing the majority of the money-spending market. Furthermore, they’re the largest generation on the planet to date—even surpassing the baby boomers.

So, how do we market to millennials?

millennial pink by Boddy Doherty

Image by Boddy Doherty c/o New York Magazine

Get to know them.

First things first: get to know your audience.
Or, at least try to. Millennial trends tend to contradict themselves. Millenials are smart consumers, often educating themselves how to get the lowest price for something. However, they’re also more interested in quality than previous generations. This means they’re likely to spend a little extra if a brand aligns with their personal beliefs. This is a complicated bunch of people.

Let them get to know you.

Since millennials are more careful about how they spend their money, having trust in a brand is really important. How do you establish that trust? Let them get to know you. Have a brand story on your website that explains why you do what you do. Even better? A branded culture video gives consumers an insider-perspective of how you operate. Or, tell your story in pieces. Create a strategic social media campaign that gives viewers small snippets into your company culture. Use the video feature on Instagram to feature :15 of branded content. This helps break up the monotony of static imagery in feeds and gives the viewer more opportunity to inteact with your brand.

According to a 2014 study done by Goldman Sachs, 45% of the millennials surveyed said that they didn’t purchase products because they were branded. However, 34% agreed that when a brand uses social media, they like it more. Allow your social media to reflect who your company is. Have a dog in the office? ‘Gram that ish.

Be genuine

This should really go without saying, but it bears repeating. If you’re letting your consumer get to know you, make sure they’re actually getting to know you. Millenials are all about authenticity: knowing where things come from is important to aligning their personal brands.

It’s important that your brand doesn’t fall prey to social fads, either. Notice how I said, “Gram that ish” in that last paragraph? That’s just how I write. If you’re a bank talking about using mobile check processing, “ish” is not the term for you. Don’t get too caught up in the zeitgeist. Your customers aren’t going to care about your company’s views on the gold/white versus blue/black dress debate if it seems out of character.

Respond to reviews

Notice how everyone is seemingly obsessed with Trader Joe’s products? Notice how they don’t actually advertise? That’s because the majority of TJ’s marketing is consumer review-driven. Trader Joe’s relies on their shoppers to share their favorite products and, thus, the word-of-mouth drives sales. Statistics show that 70% of millennials feel it’s their responsibility to share both positive and negative feedback on products to companies.

If a consumer takes the time to review one of your products or services, you should acknowledge it. Share their review, send them a “thank-you,” or simply “like” it on social media. After all, it’s basically free advertising.

And, what do you do if you get a bad review? Respond! Be apologetic and try to identify the real problem. Your consumer might be alerting you to a serious issue in your business. Of course, there is always going to be that one customer that gives you an unfairly negative review. Still, you should thank them for their time to write the review. Google, Facebook, and Yelp all offer businesses tools to help control their public image and limit unfair reviews. If warranted, you can always submit a request to have the review hidden from the public.

Be efficient

There’s always an easier way to order something. Don’t make it too difficult for your consumer to get your product. Having an app, or at least a mobile-friendly website ensures that your potential customer or client can connect with you at all times. And I mean at all times. Consumers want to have access when they’re procrastinating at work, waiting at the doctor’s office, or in the bathroom. Don’t limit them.

If you run an online store, make the process as streamlined as possible. Make ordering easier by implementing plugins to store credit card and/or contact information. Free shipping isn’t a bad idea, either. Remember, you can find almost anything on Amazon.

Sometimes it seems the Generation Y is just like that popular girl you had a crush on in high school—unattainable and constantly sending mixed signals. However, millennials don’t know what they’re doing, either. This elusive generation doesn’t have it all figured out. Thus, they’re still marketable. But first, we need to accept that the market is changing. And, we might need to change (at least a little) to keep up. If worse comes to worst, just make it millennial pink.