Speaking Millennial: Three Keys in Cultivating a Younger Consumer Base

For marketers of established brands, Millennialls are an exciting, and yet terrifying, target audience. First and foremost, it is now impossible to ignore their impact on markets across a number of industries. By many estimates, this generation—between 19-34 years old—is made up of about 80 million US citizens. But the sheer size of the audience isn’t want is exciting enterprises. Rather, it’s their estimated $1.3 trillion in annual buying power.

With that said, Millennials are radically different than any other generation before them. A large chunk of Millennials, for instance, cannot remember a time when the Internet did not exist. And, growing up in this digital age, Milennials have had greater access to information than any other generation before them. Because of this, they are often very diverse, control more of the buyer journey, and also have access to competitors both in and outside of the United States.

As one could imagine, this has created quite a learning curve for marketers who don’t fall within this15-year age range. To help you better target this growing audience, here are three keys to help boost your marketing strategy moving forward:

  • Understand their financial plight: If you think plight is being a little over dramatic then chances are you’re already losing your Millennial consumer base. Millennials are struggling in two important areas that marketers need to consider. According to data from Goldman Sachs, the average indebtedness of a 25-year-old Millennial (potentially 4 years removed from their undergraduate days) is more than $20,000. Furthermore, their study found that because of lower employment levels and smaller incomes, this generation’s has about 64 percent less money to spend then the general population. Generally this means Millennials will be less likely to spend on your brand unless you can provide them with some sort of valuable reason. Marketers need to either create a trendy need—how Apple’s iPhone is really the “it” phone—or provide some sort of CSR campaign around their product or service—think TOMS shoes.
  • Connect, don’t preach, on social: Today, consumers control the majority of the buyer journey thanks to the shift from traditional marketing towards content marketing. However, Millennials aren’t all that interested in your content… that is, unless your promoting it the proper way. We know that Millennialls love social networking, but the last thing they want is for brands to be pushing their content on them on these networks. According to a Social Chorus study, 98 percent of Millennials are more likely to engage with a friend’s post over a brand’s post. Rather, brands should be leveraging social channels to promote loyal consumers. In doing so they will increase that consumer’s visibility and convert said consumer into a brand advocate who can then help spread your high quality content to their social networks. This should be a top priority for social marketers considering 91 percent of Millennials would consider purchasing a product if a friend recommended, according to the study.
  • Cut it out with the digital ads: Is there anything worse than a banner ad? Not according to Millennials. Research by Social Chorus has shown that only 6 percent of Millennials in the US consider online advertising to be credible. So while we’ve already discussed in a recent post why banner ads are a budget death sentence, we now can see that they’re also a Millennial death sentence. Your valuable budget dollars would be better invested in new and exciting content to captivate this growing audience and better position yourself for the future.

It can be difficult for established brands to speak Millennial. This generation, after all, is radically different. However, you don’t need to change your voice, mission and style in an attempt to pander to this 80 million strong demographic. Rather, consider these three tips to make your brand more accessible to the Gen X successors.

Have more tips for dealing with the Millennial consumer? Let us know in the comments below.