The emergence of a group of individuals called Millennials – otherwise known as ‘Generation Y’ – are presenting marketers with many challenges.
Millennials are a group of people defined as those born in the early 1980s up to the early 2000s. This young and influential demographic do not trust brands, nor do they want to hear what they have to say. So how can you market to them and encourage them to become true brand advocates?
Although there aren’t any official statistics for the UK, at present there are 80 million Millennials in America and they represent around a third of the total US population. They are the most important rising demographic and market in the United States, and the UK is sure to mirror this. They wield enormous spending power and even greater social influence. By 2020, Millennials will be involved in 30 percent of all retail purchases and comprise 50 percent of the workforce.They are incredibly digitally-savvy. Computers – and in most cases mobile devices – have been, and always will be, part of their lives. Mobile technology for them is a need to have. Not a nice to have.
On paper, these media-connected, internet-loving individuals should be every brands dream come true. But they are a lot harder to attract than you’d think. The main thing to remember is to market with them, not to them.
Below, we have listed some of the ways you can tap into this unmissable demographic.
Appeal to their sense of adventure
Having a solid "event strategy" lets you appeal to Millennial’s need for spontaneous, unique experiences and their desire to look good in front of their peers. Branded VIP parties, exclusive sneak peeks and selective, influencer-only events are all great ways to make millennials feel like trendsetters among the crowd, and also appeal to their sense of adventure.
Taco Bell in America employed this strategy for the launch of its breakfast menu, giving prepaid burner phones to an exclusive group of 1,000 influencers across the country. Those influencers were given a direct line to Taco Bell headquarters, and received secret missions to accomplish via Instagram and Twitter. The chance to be one in 1,000 and participate in something innovative and fun resulted in over 16,000 tweets about the campaign in just 10 days.
Get customised and personalised
Younger Millennials have never witnessed boom times and their attitudes have been shaped by the worldwide downturn. A US survey of younger Millennials, aged 14 to 17-years-old carried out by MTV showed that more than three quarters worry about the negative impact the economy will have on their future. Only 51 percent agreed with the statement, “If I want to do something, no one is going to stop me,” a marked drop from 71 percent in 2010. The majority – 60 percent – believes they will be worse off than their parents and the same number feel “very stressed” about getting into a good school or college.
Brands that create a feel-good factor via personalised marketing and a sense of heritage will appeal to a demographic, which has a lot more to worry about than previous generations. For example, a report by Woot Media, Generation Y and Brand Loyalty found that Cadbury is the most liked brand amongst UK 16-34 year olds (82 per cent). Cadbury has fed this appetite for fun and feel-good branding with its launch of a 10-year marketing strategy, known as Joyville, which centres around a magical place where the brand creates its 100-year-old Dairy Milk bar.
Encourage them to share experiences online
As digital natives who have been wired practically since they were in nappies, Millennials are typically on social media constantly and feel driven to share experiences with their friends in real time. Whether it’s on Snapchat, Instagram or in a simple text message, Millennials are producing much more content than their predecessors. Make sure they are having positive experiences with your company's brand to share. The trick for brands and marketers is to tap into some of that Millennial ingenuity when creating engaging online content.
They also like to share entertaining content. One of the best ways to get millennials involved with your brand’s content is to provide valuable, entertaining content that they will want to share with their friends on social media platforms. Keep that goal in mind when developing marketing campaigns.
Make them the expert
In the past, it used to take years of professional experience and academic knowledge to be considered an expert. The definition of "expert" has drastically changed for many Millennials. From YouTubers to bloggers to close friends, Millennials value the advice of other shoppers in similar life-situations willing to share their first-hand experience. In fact, 84 percent of Millennials report that user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy.
Brands should be creating their own groups of millennial experts or ambassadors that their peers can turn to when making purchasing decisions. Do some research and select influential millennials in your target audience, then arm them with facts about your brand, exclusive information and product sneak peeks. Not only will your brand ambassadors feel empowered and validated by being the "go-to" for their peers, your millennials consumers will be more likely to try your products after reading powerful peer recommendations.