Tapping into a new market has always been challenging. Even the most successful brands face difficulties in magnifying their reach. Regardless of age, gender and lifestyle, a chunk of your audience will remain unimpressed, and that’s the reality you have to face. If the demographic you’re diving your nose into is unique in every way, expect to have more hair-pulling misadventures along the way. Case in point: the Millennials.
So what is this mythical audience that is constantly creating a buzz in today’s marketplace? And what makes them so special that world-renowned brands are scuttling on all fours to get their undivided attention?
Millennials: “the Selfie Generation” or “Generation Y”
Generations have unique attributes and personalities. This “generation of the hour” called Millennials, is a cohort of individuals born between the early 1980s to early 2000s. If we were to consider market size, they are, undoubtedly, the largest one to date. In the US alone, they make up around 25% of the entire American population. This approximately 80-million-strong population wields an annual direct buying power of more than a trillion dollars a year—$2.45 trillion in 2015 to be exact.
“KA-CHING!” You can almost hear the sound of the cash register and we can’t blame you. Trillions of dollars is a lot of money. And considering how influential and enigmatic this generation is, that amount could multiply in no time, so it’s wise not to undermine what they have to say. One wrong move and they could send you whirling down faster than the dishwater on your sink.
On the other hand, promoting to Millennials could give you that lucky break. Crafting your strategies right can transform your business from being a “never heard” to a powerhouse. It’s no secret that to succeed in taking up a big chunk of the pie, you have to understand your audience really, really well. So how do you tap into the inner workings of Millennial minds?
Understanding the Millennial mindshare is not a walk in the park. Make no mistake about it, they’re tough eggs to crack. You wouldn’t want to mess with them either. Here’s why:
1. They’ve Survived the Worst
Although Millennials eat three times a day, use the toilet when nature calls and ride public transport just like the rest of us, they are a legion unlike any other we’ve seen before.
They have lived to witness a number of metamorphic economic and social defining moments, and were even born in an era that had experienced two significant recessions: one towards the start of the millennium and the second one in 2009. After such events, financial security has become imprinted in the Millennial’s outlook on life, as well as buying behaviors.
Having witnessed Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 9/11 terrorist attacks, not to mention the Columbine High School and Virginia Tech shooting incidents, they have learned to value security even at the expense of their own individual liberties.
How to Crack the Code
They value safety and peace of mind and would do anything in their power to achieve it, no matter what the cost. Marketers should tap into strategies that make Millennials feel that they have allies even in the direst of situations. No matter how independent they are, they value the tender loving care that families and friends provide. They want to be safe, and they want brands to think about their welfare as consumers and product users.
There’s a reason why Van Damme’s Volvo trucks commercial raked in more than 82 million views in Youtube since 2013. Of course, that a death-defying epic split was crazy, but what was showcased was the stability and precision of Volvo’s steering. The result is indeed astounding in terms of company sales—a proof that even small investments can reap massive returns.
2. They’re Smart
They are highly educated. In fact, they have the highest number of college graduates compared to any other generation so far. Their hunger for learning is insatiable and no longer ends with a bachelor’s degree. Such puts them in a position to land better jobs and generate higher incomes.
A Pew Research Center study shows that Millennials who have earned a Master’s Degree are earning around 23% more than their 1984 counterparts. This leaves higher education institutions with a challenging goal and that is to offer robust graduate programs to satiate this age group’s yearn for knowledge and educational attainment.
Regardless of how much they make, most Millennials are frugal and conscientious of how they spend their money. Thus, they make wise purchasing decisions. They are opinionated and don’t easily get impressed in spite of full media hype.
How to Crack the Code
Most Millennials are learned individuals so make sure you don’t underestimate their capabilities and skills in any way. Considering that they are really one of the most cerebral generations that had ever lived, you’re really going to have to step it up a notch (or two) to grab their attention.
Pull a witty, innovative and provocative marketing spiel that has a high potential to be viral. Feed their minds and fuel their passion for learning by offering them engaging, informative and compelling content. Amplify the impact by permeating into their social and cultural bubble and you’ve got it right in the bag.
3. They Dislike Traditional Media
With these Echo Boomers as your audience, you can expect that what has succeeded in the past may not work to your advantage in the present or the future. Compared to the generations before them, Millennials aren’t easily impressed and don’t develop that same connection with brands as their parents and grandparents have in the past.
How to Crack the Code
Traditional advertising won’t work. They have very little affinity for material things and value experiences more than worldly possessions. But because they know they can’t control the future, they tend to focus their attention to the things that bring them happiness and fulfillment.
To catch the interest of Millennials, businesses should focus their efforts on engaging intimately with their demographics as opposed to treading a direction that is popular. Millennials are deeply in touch with their feelings. Because they value loyalty, authenticity and happiness, their motivation to act on things that are rooted on how your brand makes them feel. Stay true to your core brand focus and never lose sight of your vision and that is to engage with your audience in the most intimate way possible.
4. They Don’t Like Hanky Panky
They are sincere, so they expect you to be the same. Like hound dogs, they have an incredibly keen sense to identify people with external motives and vested interests from a mile away. If you think you can pull off shady tactics, think again. These consumers are highly sensitive to businesses that do not offer a win-win situation.
How to Crack the Code
Be honest and original, that’s how simple it is. Millennials value sincerity and credibility so much that they constantly search for it through real-life, authentic feedback—even from strangers. Statistics show that 33% of them read blogs before making a purchase, and they trust what they read.
Invest on feats that will improve your overall positioning through word-of-mouth. Zero in on improving your product and service, and provide an incredible experience each and every time.
If they are perfectly happy with the experience, the consumer then engages and identifies with you, growing into loyal advocates in the long run.
5. They are Tech-Savvy
The Millennials were the first generation to have computers in their homes and schools. Using gadgets has become second nature to them that it comes as no surprise that most kids these days are already savvy at navigating the iPad before they can even write. As early as the age of 3, children already know how to use cellphones. They are alien to screens that cannot be controlled by touch and thrive at doing everything online like working, shopping, bank transactions and even social interactions. In addition, they accomplish duties at click-speeds and sometimes, even in their pajamas.
How to Crack the Code
Millennials like to think of themselves as busy people. Because they have great ambitions, they want to maximize their time. Lengthy presentations just won’t work nor will time-consuming strategies.
If you really want this market to notice you, rock your mobile marketing and get your social horses revved up. Around 85% of Millennials in the United States use mobile phones, so make sure that your site’s landing pages render well on mobile devices. Graphics are nice, but make sure that they don’t compromise load times. Regardless of screen size, the texts and buttons should be visible and accessible.
Furthermore, make your call to action clear as day and take your engagement to social media. Invent apps that allow them to get access to a constant stream of information that are relatable, engaging and informative. These are a musts have if you want this generation to acknowledge your brand.
The secret to Millennial marketing success lies on the brand’s ability to understand his audience, which harkens back to their evolving culture, social dynamics and ideals. These have profound effects on the way they see things, which influences their actions. Stop content that screams “buy,” instead provide value and a positive, lingering experience.
To ignore their presence will certainly result in your brand’s demise. On the flip side, if you’ve managed to foster a good relationship with the Millennials, they would reciprocate with dollars and loyalty in the years to come.