Marketing to the Millennials

23rd, 2013
Keyhole - Digital Marketing Agency - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
23rd, 2013
Keyhole - Digital Marketing Agency - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder

The past few weeks I’ve been working with a firm to market their conference focused on marketing to Millennials. And while this client is in the architecture and construction field, it reminded me that all businesses, regardless of industry, need to be aware of this powerful demographic.

What’s a Millennial?

Before knowing how to reach this group, we should probably first know who they are. The Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y, includes those born between 1980-2000 (although both ends of that timeline aren’t absolute). There are about 79 million of these 13- to 33-year-olds (about 25% of the total US population), making this segment larger than Baby Boomers and Generation X. And they like to spend some money—$700 billion annually, in fact, in direct and indirect spending.

But Who Are They Really?

Hop on the Interweb and you’ll find all sorts of data points related to this generation:

  • 27% of millennials are self-employed. (The Millennial Generation Research Review)
  • Millennials will make up half of the U.S. workforce by 2030. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • 23% of employers reported significant contact with millennials’ parents during interviews. (Collegiate Employment Research Institute)
  • 41% of millennials rely on their cellphones for communication, sending about 20 texts per day. (Pew Social Trends)

But when considering your marketing to Millennials, put aside the statistics. Get to really know this generation. Find out who they really are. The same, old marketing won’t reach them as it did with previous ones. They want something fresh, unique, personal.

I read a report recently by Barkley called “AMERICAN MILLENNIALS: Deciphering the Enigma Generation.” I would highly encourage you to download it for yourself. How would YOU answer their conclusions?

  1. Millennials include some of the earliest “digital natives.” How can you best engage these early adopters of new technologies and emerging social tools? Find out where they are investing digitally in both their time and money.
  2. Millennials are interested in participating in your marketing. Has your brand built a listening and participation strategy that will help you connect with your brand advocates? Today’s marketing requires strong and creative calls to action.
  3. Millennials are known as content creators and users. Have you enabled their creation needs in new product, marketing and customer experience design?
  4. Millennials crave adventure—often “safer” adventures. Can you design a sense of adventure into your brand experience? Sure, you may not selling rock climbing gear, but there are still ways to entice them into participating on a journey with your brand.
  5. Millennials strive for a healthy lifestyle. Have you looked at how you balance taste with nutrition or exercise with entertainment? We’re seeing these trends swell across the country with this generation.
  6. Millennials seek peer affirmation. How, when, and where can you engage their peers?
  7. Millennials are “hooked” on social media in much the same way that older generations are “hooked” on email at work. Does your brand enhance or detract from their social media experience? If you have no kind of social media presence or strategy, it’s going to be much more challenging to target this group.
  8. Millennials are not a homogeneous cohort. Who within this group is your most influential core target and what is their mindset?
  9. Millennials believe in cause marketing. Is your brand authentic and transparent or just using a cause to sell them something in a disingenuous way? Stay genuine always.
  10. Millennials are in many ways similar to older generations. Have you identified the common threads that connect them to their parents? Don’t disregard or disengage this group just because they might not fall within your generation. 
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