We millennials are a very popular topic these days. It seems as if everyone is either trying to figure us out or find a way to sell to us.

Earlier this week, I was invited to speak for the Women's Council of a local Chamber of Commerce about millennials and marketing. A couple of months ago, I was in Austin speaking to credit card issuers about how to market their products to millennials. In fact, every event I've attended this year is completely obsessed with millennials.

I've briefly touched on the topic of marketing to millennials in the past, but there is a lot more that needs to be said if people want us to start buying their services and products. Here are the three mistakes you're making when marketing to millennials and what to do about it.

You don't know which millennials you're targeting.

Millennials span a wide generational spectrum which makes it kind of difficult to pinpoint who exactly is a millennial. General estimates say millennials are individuals born between 1977 and 1995.

That means millennials are currently between the ages of 22 and 40. Although some would argue that 18 year olds are millennials and that the generation can span as far as individuals born in 2002. I'm personally somewhere in the middle at 29.

Here where this presents a marketing problem. There are a whole lot of different life stages us humans go through between the ages of 18 and 37. A 22-year-old is not going to have the same needs as a 35-year-old. Heck, I don't have the same needs as a 22-year-old or a 35-year-old!

In other words, you can't just market to all "millennials" the same way. That's why you need to get crystal clear on which millennials you're targeting

As someone who also markets to millennials with my own brand, I had to run split tests with Facebook ads to find my sweet spot. It turns out my content resonates most with millennials between the ages of 27 and 34, so that's where I'm going to continue putting my marketing dollars to get the most bang for my buck.

You're running ads directly to a product.

Millennials don't trust you. Period. Point blank.

We're a highly-educated, internet-savvy generation. This means we're not going to buy from you just because we see your product on Facebook (unless you're Amazon, that is). Chances are we'll want to get to know you first before there's any exchange of money.

The way to get around this is to create content that actually provides value before even getting to a sale. It's a long game, but it works. The reason I'm able to sell out of group-coaching programs targeted to millennials is because I've spent years putting out good content.

Even my ads are to content, not a product. The idea is they see the good content on Facebook, opt-in to my list, and then hear from me for a while before they decide to purchase something from me.

The reality is we want to feel you out before we decide to commit. To use a dating analogy, marketers should court us instead of just trying to sleep with us.

You're not taking the time to nurture them.

Lead nurturing is nothing new, but when you're dealing with millennials you need to take it to a whole new level.

As I mentioned above, we're not dumb and we can see straight through gimmicks. On top of that, we're being constantly bombarded by advertising all the time. Seriously, what makes you so special when I've got fifteen other companies in my inbox wanting my money too?

This means marketers will have to play a long game and nurture millennials through their marketing over a period of time. Sometimes a long time.

If you can remain consistent and top of mind, you'll eventually get those millennial dollars. You're just going to have to think of it is a marathon. A marathon with thousands of other runners you need to outlast.

Final Thoughts

While it can be a little frustrating to market to us millennials, not all is lost. By gaining clarity on the specific age group you're targeting and taking the time to build trust, you'll eventually win us over.

Published on: Jul 26, 2017