Let’s get real for a second and talk about millennials. More specifically, let’s talk about how you can market to millennials, because they’re quite tricky to understand and elusive to reach.
Born between 1981 and 2000, they grew up just as the digital world was burgeoning. They’re tech-savvy and embrace social media, and regardless of whether they do or don’t have money, they’re spending – a lot.
Oh yeah – and they’re picky about the products they buy and the brands they follow. You can blast ads at them all day long to no avail. They won’t pay attention unless they see it at the right time and the right place.
As part of the millennial generation myself, I can understand the struggles of most advertisers: how do you reach millennials when it’s hard to pin down who they are, where they go, and what they like?
Luckily, a study was done to understand millennials.
Here are 5 important stats about millennials from the study that you need to know and tips on how you could use this information to better market to them.
68% are completely unfazed by celebrity endorsements or star-studded ads
Back then, getting a celebrity to publicly support your product was akin to hitting the jackpot, mostly because the sales and renown you received was well worth the amount you paid for the endorsement.
However, times have since changed.
Though it’s still nice to have a celebrity endorse your brand, it’s not wholly necessary. Our current startup culture, in addition to social media, have leveled the marketing playground, making it easier for smaller brands to contend with big corporations for the heart – and wallets – of the current generation.
From brands to cats, anyone can gain popularity on the Internet nowadays. All you really need is a brilliant idea and social media to spread the word.
Just take a look at GoldieBlox. It made its debut on Kickstarter in 2012, and without a celebrity endorsement or really any traditional marketing, it not only managed to raise double its fundraising goal but also attracted a lot of press.
How? Well, with a brilliant idea, brought to life in one viral YouTube video.
Now, GoldieBlox is competing with Legos to win over the female demographic. Not too shabby for a startup, and GoldieBlox is just one example. There are many other startups that have gained immense popularity, not because of a celeb endorsement or a huge advertising budget but as a result of an awesome social media marketing campaign.
18% live at home and are financially dependent on their parents
As greater importance is placed on a university degree, coupled with the rising cost of living and of education, many millennials are burdened with a lot of debt and end up moving back home after graduation.
However, that doesn’t mean that they’re not spending.
The fact that 55% believe their personal financial situation will improve within a year shows that millennials are optimistic about the future. They’re willing to spend, but only if it’s the right price and the right brand.
The proliferation of e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon, with their offers of big discounts and free shipping, have made the millennial generation more hesitant of buying products at full-price. Loyalty to brands only extends as far as the price goes; if they can find a different brand with the same product, more likely than not, they’ll go with that brand.
Therefore, offering discounts and loyalty programs are great ways to keep customers coming back for more.
71% browse online but do their actual shopping offline
If you’re a brick-and-mortar business that is still operating purely offline, then you’re missing out on a huge demographic.
Millennials rely on technology and the Internet for pretty much everything. With an estimated 80 million consumers in this generation who are expected to spend $200 billion annually by 2017, building an online presence in this day and age is absolutely integral if you want a chance at selling to these millennials.
Let me give you an example. I recently visited Washington D.C. over the holidays. Never having visited D.C. before, I looked to Yelp reviews and local listings on Google Maps to give me the scoop on the best restaurants, bars, and museums in D.C.
Would I have found these places if they didn’t have an online presence? Probably not. In fact, call me a snob, but I probably would have dismissed them as automatically bad if they weren’t online. However, the information I found online ultimately persuaded me to visit the places I did.
Remember that millennials grew up in the digital age, so they expect technology to simply work with little hassle on their part. Therefore, having an optimized online presence is the key to getting more foot traffic to your business.
Also, as more consumers do their research online before purchasing, it’s important to establish a cross-channel brand presence on web, mobile, social, and search. This way, no matter where consumers are looking online, your brand dominates their digital space.
60% said the consumer experience should be consistent across online, store, and mobile
In a similar vein, even though businesses need to be online, it doesn’t mean you should ignore everything offline either. In fact, online and offline strategies must work in tandem, nurturing consumers into becoming loyal customers. An integrated strategy can accomplish this.
Chipotle’s scarecrow campaign is a wildly successful example of this type of integrated brand strategy. They utilized online and offline strategies to promote their brand philosophy, generating both interest and sales. In one campaign, they created the following pieces:
A mobile app game…
Social media promotions…
And last, but most certainly not least, actual people coming in and buying their food with their buy-one, get-one free coupon deals when you complete certain levels in the game.
Aside from now really wanting a burrito, what did we learn from this campaign?
For one thing, they artfully conveyed the one thing about their brand that makes them unique – their brand story. Do a bit of soul searching and ask yourself this: what is it about your brand that makes you different from your competition and indispensable to your customers? That’s your marketing sweet spot.
The second lesson from the scarecrow campaign is the implementation of the campaign. Even though the campaign had a lot of moving pieces, they all complemented one another and added to the greater whole, which is their brand. This is integrated marketing at its finest: creating a unified brand presence across all channels.
58% want to have full control over how they engage with brands
As consumers become more empowered, brands must understand that their role in the business/consumer relationship must shift to adapt to their customers’ changing desires.
Consumers simply don’t want to be bombarded by ad after ad. Instead, they want to take a more active role in shaping their brand experience.
Think about GoPro. Most, if not all, of their ads are consumer-driven, showing people all the cool and memorable things their customers capture with their product. Their latest video is just one example of this.
With their slogans “Be a Hero” and “Capture + share your world,” they show that the customers not only own the brand – they are the brand.
Therefore, allowing consumers to shape your brand not only fosters loyalty but also encourages them to share their experiences on social media, which has the added benefit of essentially being free advertising.
What’s your marketing plan for millennials?
In the end, a good marketing campaign is all about understanding your audience and having the ability to deliver what they want. Isn't it time you give it to them?