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Marketing to Millennials

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It may come as a shock to you, but Millennials make up a substantial portion of the U.S. population, and with such varied hobbies, values, and social views, it’s no wonder that millennials are one of the hardest groups to market products and services to. So just how large is this demographic? To date, millennials make up 25% of the U.S. population, identifying them as a very crucial customer base in today’s market. But how do traditional marketing practices measure up to this tech-savvy, socially conscious customer base? First, let’s take a closer look at who millennials are.

Who Are Millennials?

While the age range of millennials is widely debated, according to the U.S Census Bureau, millennials are identified as individuals born between 1982 and 2000 (ages 20-38), which currently makes up 83.1 million people of the U.S. population, exceeding the 75.4 million of Baby Boomers and making them the largest generation in the country’s history. 

In general, millennials don’t exactly have the best reputation, often being labeled as lazy, entitled, and coddled. While this may sound harsh, it likely comes from the fact that about 23% of millennials still live at home with their parents. Because so many of them still live at home, this has pushed back the average age of marriage and family planning. Millennials are getting married and starting families much later than the baby boomer generation. This can be attributed to a number of factors, including student loan debt, housing costs, etc. So how does one market to this complicated yet unique demographic of consumers? Perhaps the better question is, what motivates millennials to spend?

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Customer Reviews Vs Celebrity Endorsements 

Gone are the days of trying to entice customers with a celebrity spokesperson. Today, it’s all about customer reviews and ratings. Millennials love doing their research before committing to a product or service and with so many social platforms that allow individuals to leave comments and reviews, making sure your company generates positive feedback is a must. Tying your messaging with a top celebrity doesn’t hurt, but it certainly doesn’t seal the deal. More and more marketers are observing that millennials turn to reviews from friends, family, or real-life consumers to make a decision on weather or not to purchase a product or service. 

In today’s digital world where anyone can easily take to social media and broadcast their dissatisfaction to thousands of people, how can you ensure great things are being said about your brand? Consider running a “secret shopper” program to best examine your company. This will give you deeper insight into any struggles your customers may be facing with your product, service, or with the purchasing processes. You want to make sure you’re doing all you can to give your customers the best experience possible. 

Despite doing all you can to ensure the best experience for your customers, you’re bound to experience a disgruntled customer at some point. So how do you handle situations like this? It’s important to be actively engaged with your customers and address these issues immediately in a transparent manner. Sometimes dealing with these matters the right way may even transform your disgruntled customer into becoming an advocate for your brand.

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Social Corporate Responsibility  

According to Forbes, 75% of millennials consider it fairly important for companies to give back to society in some form instead of just making a profit. Simply put, millennials recognize the value in companies that put focus on local sourcing, ethical production, and supporting a cause all while creating a great shopping experience. Providing them with an additional incentive can give you a leg up on the competition while also giving your business model an added edge to drive more sales and become a household name amongst this demographic. 

Millennials are a different kind of consumer and offering a great value or an astonishing product sometimes isn’t enough to seal the deal. Why, you ask? Market saturation; Millions of products exist today and the options are endless. The difference between choosing one brand over another for the same product is dependent on how you decide to set yourself apart. Motivation behind a purchase is much higher if your company has a strong mission and supports an important cause. Millennials are more invested in your brand’s “why” and like to understand your story and how you intend to give back to the greater good. 

A perfect example of this is the footwear brand, TOMS, who was one of the first companies to showcase and win over customers through corporate social responsibility. The “One for One” motto developed by TOMS was built around a business model that donates a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchased. TOMS isn’t alone in this lucrative marketing tactic, Warby Parker, another brand that successfully markets to millennials with its unbeatable pricing on stylish prescription eyewear, uses the same philosophy, claiming that, “For every pair purchased, a pair is distributed to someone in need”.

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Strong Social Media Presence   

It’s no secret that millennials love social media. It’s becoming more important than ever for brand building, cultivating trust, and even driving sales. An easy-to-find, visually appealing digital presence is no longer an option for growing brands, but a full-fledged necessity.

As the generation that uses smartphones more than any other age group, millennials turn to social media to get an overall “feel” for your brand and your product. This also allows for more engagement between you, the brand, and your customers. This demographic values genuine conversation and interaction so posting and sharing engaging content such as polls on Instagram stories  to see what your next product should be or contests that allow followers to submit their opinions or maybe designs for your brand’s packaging for a chance to be featured, allows them to take part in your brand and influence the outcome of certain decisions. What millennial consumer doesn’t love a company with an announcement along the lines of “you asked, and we listened”.

 Aside from being another channel to visually articulate your brand’s mission, social media has almost become an extension of a brand’s website with added functionality that includes easy reservation and appointment bookings, e-commerce, and lead generation through immediate contact by phone or email. 

Not investing the time and effort into social media marketing, leaves a huge window and missed opportunity with millennials. Social media allows you to reach and engage with the largest demographic of spenders and transform them into your loyal fanbase. 

When in doubt, incentivize through deals and discounts. Millennials also take to social media to be alerted of sales opportunities. Let’s not forget that discounts still work to incentivize this demographic to spend or test out your product. According to Forbes, 66% of millennials would consider switching their preferred brand to test out a new product if the brand offered a discount of at least 30%.  

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Set Your Marketing Plan in Motion   

Navigating marketing trends for millennials may seem like a challenge, and while it’s important to understand this demographic’s behavior in regards to spending as well as their motivation to spend, there are numerous ways to better align your marketing methods and give your brand the strong digital presence it deserves. Looking to take your brand to the next level? We can help! Drop us a line at hello@wearebrandcollective.com, give us a ring at 305 442 9196, or send us a quick message. We’d love to chat about your brand.

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