Marketing to Millennials: The Trends You Need to Know for 2017
By Rebecca Factor & Calista Vantarakis on February 1st, 2017
Millennials will outspend Baby Boomers by 2018, but unlike generations of shoppers before them, millennials patterns are incredibly diverse, meaning no marketing strategy fits all. With this massive sales projection in mind, it’s no surprise that companies of all kinds are looking for the best ways to market their products to millennials.
Why market your product to millennials?
Millennials are classified as young adults currently between the ages of 18 and 34. A generation of consumers set to wield almost $3.4 trillion in spending power by 2018 is one whose attention any company or marketer should be clamouring for. However, unlike Boomers, brand loyalty in millennials is hard to win. They’re less likely to stick with big brand names after one purchase, meaning you need to work hard to retain their loyalty. But this isn’t to say that millennials are fickle as consumers – their loyalty might be tough to win, but when you’ve got it, they tend to be the most loyal consumers around.
Here are your key needs to know about marketing your product to millennials – the right way.
Be socially conscious
Millennials are socially conscious and keen to make a difference with the products that they choose to consume. They favour brands with strong social values, and aren’t afraid to boycott brands that don’t align with their ethical standards.
69 percent of millennials want businesses to engage customers in social justice issues, so find a way to do some social good with your business, and empower your customers to do the same. That could mean partnering with a like-minded cause, supporting a community initiative or making a cash donation to charity. Don’t be afraid to wear your brand values on your sleeve.
Prioritise mobile marketing
Marketing through mobile devices is always important, but given that 85 percent of millennials in the U.S. own smartphones, when targeting this generation, it’s crucial. It’s important to remember that millennials are the first generation to have grown up with the Internet the touch of a button away. Millennials are accustomed to always being connected, and with this in mind, marketers can’t make the assumption that consumers are only accessing their websites from home. In fact, almost half of 18-34 year olds have downloaded a mobile shopping app on their smartphone.
So, what does this mean for your marketing strategy? Optimise your homepage or landing page for mobile and make sure your call to action is clear. Millennials aren’t going to waste time on a clunky interface.
Try integrating your advertising into popular apps and programs relevant to your brand to keep your customers loyal. For example, Gatorade has offered in-app rewards to users who make fitness accomplishments. Reward your customers’ brand loyalty with a digital gift card or incentivise the purchase of a membership with reward benefits, like discounted cinema tickets or cash back schemes.
Be authentic and accountable
Let authenticity guide your marketing efforts. Part of being authentic and accountable means confronting issues within your brand head on. Take Arnotts Shapes, for example. When Arnotts launched their pantry-favourite, Shapes, with ‘new and improved’ recipes in 2016, they were met with serious backlash. A Bring Back the Old Shapes petition launched by a disgruntled consumer attracted over 29-thousand signatures after going viral on social media – and as a result, Arnotts swallowed their pride and re-released original recipe Shapes.
Being seen as authentic by millennials means giving up on the hard sell. Don’t let your brand become the butt of a joke – millennials want to make their buying decisions based on informed choices, and tend to respond best to seeing others using their product.
Beyond this, influencer culture drives sales of products through social media recommendations. By commissioning influencer content, brands represent the aspirational lifestyles they are selling to their customers. One industry taken by storm by influencer marketing is beauty, with 60 percent of millennials claiming that they would purchase a product recommended by a YouTuber. Find an influencer whose values and audience reflects yours, and let their reach leverage your brand.
Nail your social media approach
Remember, not every social platform is for every brand, so segmenting your target market is going to best inform which social media platform is right for your brand to target. For example, are you marketing a video game to teens aged 14-18? Snapchat is the platform for you.
A terrific benefit of using social media to target millennials is the opportunity to encourage user-generated content. Take Instagram for example – with over 300 million users (over half of which are millennials), Instagram is the perfect platform for capturing your customer’s personal experiences in a way that looks great. Take advantage of this by re-posting customer photos, transforming them from a consumer to a brand advocate. Market a branded hashtag and let your customers create authentic content for you.
Marketing effectively to the millennial generation
Overall, marketing to millennials doesn’t have to be a difficult task, but it will rely on you and your brand being specific, responsive and authentic. Hone in on your target market as closely as you can, and let your ideal buyer guide you.
Rebecca Factor & Calista Vantarakis
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