As the largest living generation, Millennials are a demographic every brand wants to charm. And while these people--roughly between the ages of 21 and 39--are certainly a diverse group, they do share some defining attributes. For one thing, they're a group 77 million strong which was the first to grow up with the Internet, cell phones and cable TV. In fact, according to Nielsen, Millennials rank their use of technology as the factor that most makes their generation unique. It also makes it challenging to get and keep their attention. That's according to Sean Brown, owner of GO VC, a venture capital firm which invests heavily in technology startups. Here are his words on marketing to younger consumers.
1. Traditional ads are out.
Traditional advertising methods such as radio ads, newspaper ads, and print ads aren't how you're going to reach Millennials, who view them as intrusive. They stream music, and don't listen to the radio. They fly through their twitter feed, and don't read the newspaper. Their life is about constantly being connected, and your strategy needs to be overly responsive in that regard. Twitter releases updates on a weekly, if not daily basis, and digital strategies are constantly evolving. To keep up you need to constantly evaluate how technology is evolving and how Millennials are consuming information.
2. Selling won't work.
Millennials don't want to be sold to. The key is to make them feel as though they are part of a conversation. You need to first create brand loyalty and trust, then gain their business. Creating authentic, meaningful content through blogs, videos, and interactive social media campaigns will not only keep them informed, but tell them a story about your brand they they'll want to be a part of.
3. Shares trump likes.
When Millennials love--or hate--something, they tell everyone. Make sure your social media platforms and website gives them the ability to give feedback and share their thoughts on your products. Millennials trust the opinions of their friends and family--and even strangers--over what a brand has to say. It's essential to keep this in mind and monitor what is being said about your brand online. This is where a social listening tool can help so you can respond immediately.
4. They want perks.
Millennials love loyalty programs. Going beyond the obvious of helping them save money, a loyalty program makes them feel as though they are part of a community, while rewarding them at the same time for doing business with you. Provide them with discounts and referral offers which give them a discount if they refer a friend to your business. You can also keep them engaged through perk-based programs by having exclusive events for customers who reach a certain reward level, or who are considered MVPs. This will make them feel valued and rewarded for being loyal customers. Keep it fresh, surprising and engaging.