In the business world, it seems no matter where you turn, you will inevitably end up hearing the word “millennial”. While this may conjure visions of over-privileged narcissists with too many choices and no direction to some, the truth is that millennials are not only shaping up to be one of the most iconic generations in history, they are also completely changing the rules when it comes to business.
Poised to change everything from culture to politics to the economy like the Baby Boomers before them, millennials are the largest population in size at 76.6 million and range in age from 19-36 years—which means that they are all now old enough to vote, serve in wars and even have families. In fact, projections show that by 2015, annual spending by millennials will top out at $2.45 trillion and are on track to reach $3.39 trillion by 2018. What this means is that by not understanding what drives millennial consumers and using the same strategies that worked in years past, businesses are missing the mark and setting up their brand for failure. Let’s take a closer look inside the mind of millennials and how with a little understanding, you can create some marketing magic.
Throw Out the Rules: It’s a Whole New Ballgame
If you’re using the same marketing strategies that you have done for years, flush them. Millennials won’t care about what priorities were when you were growing up. The days when the cycle of college, marriage, parenthood and home-ownership were the norm are long dead. Life stages have changed because of changing cultural and social norms as well as a rough economy and job market. If life stages have changed, it means that priorities have changed and if priorities have changed, it means that purchasing habits have too.
This deviation from the set path lies in that for the first time, this generation has a limitless amount of choices. They don’t have to do it the way their parents did it. They can go to school in person or online, connect and converse with someone across the world, start a business in a dorm room and know every single thing about a company with a few keystrokes and the click of a mouse. With numerous opportunities and a different set of values, millennials want to embrace life and make it their own unique experience—which means that standing out amongst the competition is going to take some innovation and ingenuity on your part. Here are three strategies to think about when attempting to woo the enigmatic millennial generation:
- Strategy 1—Understand their values. While older generations valued collective things like a sense of duty, practicality, justice and family, millennials value personal attributes such as happiness, passion, sharing and diversity much more. With 81% of millennials having donated to charity and 75% refusing to compromise their values, this generation feels a social responsibility to make the world a better place, so your marketing efforts should be geared toward what motivates, drives and connects them as individuals.
- Strategy 2—Add useful tools to their lives. The days of fantasy marketing are long gone. Millennials are realists and tend to be brutally honest about what they like and don’t like. They just won’t buy into the dream anymore. Using your marketing efforts to play off of their real life experiences and offering them useful tools that will heighten their reality and add to their daily lives will score you big points when it comes to winning over millennials. When what you are selling becomes a welcome addition to their existence, they will be that much more likely to share the experience with their friends.
- Strategy 3—Engage with much more than a product. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you are more than your product! While this may sound odd at first, forget the product for a bit. (We know. Take a breath and hear us out.) Millennials hate being marketed to, so don’t just push a product on them. Marketing your purpose and what you are trying to do (help the world or make their lives easier) is infinitely more valuable than peddling the same old thing everyone else is selling. Attempting to connect with millennials in more meaningful ways will help earn your brand both the trust and affinity of Generation Y.
Jumpstart your marketing efforts with a new generation of consumers by contacting Hi-Res Creative today to learn more about what we can do for your business.