Millennials are a group with many supposed characteristics (lazy, narcissistic, open-minded, supportive). So how do you position millennial marketing?
Howe and Strauss said that millennials are anyone born between the years of 1982 and 2004. Newsweek claimed that those dates should be 1977 to 1994. Time Magazine said 1980 to 2000.
So how does one market to such a diverse and large group?
Well, it’s tricky. In fact, it’s one of the hardest groups to market products and services to.
And with such wide-ranging demographics, hobbies, and values, it’s no wonder.
But millennials make up a large percentage of the U.S. population (and their children are Generation Alpha).
So ignoring them as customers and assuming that basic marketing tactics will be fine is a death wish.
You need to invest time and money into understanding how millennials work.
Focus on finding out how they respond to different marketing tactics.
Test the waters to see if they actually resonate with your brand.
Craft a brand image that aligns with their values.
Millennials are tricky to market to, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
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You need to understand them, not forget about them.
Thankfully, there are a few insights we can gather from the latest data on millennials to inform our marketing efforts.
Here is the ultimate guide to marketing to millennials.
What are millennials and why should you care?
The word “millennials” has become a buzzword in recent years.
And even with all the talk, coming up with a solid definition hasn’t become much easier.
But let’s try.
To get started, let’s begin with basic definitions and then dive into the thoughts, desires, and mindsets of a typical millennial.
The dictionary definitions of “millennial” vary:
Not one source seems to have a single age range nailed down.
But, we can guess that most people born from the 1980s to 2000 are still millennials if we were to run our own meta-analysis comparing all of the sources.
That’s a pretty wide range. We’re talking 17-year-olds to 40-year-olds.
For example, did you know that I am a millennial?
I was born in 1983, making me a bonafide millennial!
And I’m not alone.
The millennial generation is larger than the baby boomer generation.
Millennials are already beginning to settle down and start families, too.
Today, 25% of millennials are parents, and 53% of millennial-run households have children living in them.
And they are smart.
Millennials are the best-educated group of young adults in U.S. history, with one-third of older millennials having earned at least a 4-year college degree.
Millennials are also go-getters.
Right now, 54% of millennials either want to start a business or have already started their own.
And in the last 5 years, 87% of millennials in the workforce took on management positions at their companies.
From this, I would suggest that millennials are intelligent and hungry for success.
They want to change the system.
They don’t want the typical 9-to-5 job.
They wish to create their own companies, start new brands, and change the world.
But it goes beyond that.
They actually hold high levels of buying frequency and power.
Millennials are 2.5x more likely than other generations to be early adopters of technology.
In addition, 56% of millennials report that they are usually one of the first of their social group to try and buy new technologies.
An Oracle study predicts that millennials will have a spending power of over $3.3 trillion by 2018.
If you want to captivate this powerful demographic, there are a few ways that you can market your products and services to them.
Here’s what and what not to focus on when trying to develop a millennial-based marketing plan.
Millennial Marketing: Support a cause
Millennials are a different kind of buyer.
Simply giving a great value proposition or offering an awesome product won’t be enough to close the deal.
You need something extra.
They need a reason why they should purchase your product.
Why? Because thousands of products exist today and the options are almost limitless.
Providing them with an additional incentive can give you the edge that you need to drive more sales and grow your business.
So, what is that edge?
According to the latest research, millennials are more willing to make a purchase if your company supports some type of cause.
If your brand stands for something, there is a chance that millennials will love you.
If your brand is about more than landing customers, millennials will be more willing to purchase.
Plus, 37% of Millennials say that they are willing to purchase a product or service that supports a cause they believe in, even if it means paying extra.
If your product is more expensive than a competitor’s, it may not matter, as long as you support a cause.
Research also shows that 75% of millennials want companies to give back to society with their profits.
Millennials can tell when companies are simply in it for the profit rather than caring about the end consumer or the society at large.
For example, check out how TOMS runs their business model to cater specifically to the tastes of millennials:
For every product that a person purchases on their website, TOMS will help a person in need by donating a shoe.
Every product you purchase on their site “has a purpose” that impacts the world, rather than just TOMS’ bottom line.