Using ads and marketing tactics to capture the attention of millennial consumers can be trickier than many realize. It's true that many of the people in this demographic use the internet and have multiple devices, but that can be a double-edged sword. A recent report showed why connecting with millennials can be so tough and offered suggestions for making the best use of marketing tactics.

Connecting with millennial consumers can be tricky due to the number of devices they own and their habit of switching between devices. According to data cited by SmarterHQ, who produced the study on millennial engagement, millennial shoppers shift their attention between media platforms such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and television at least 27 times per hour.

Even when millennials are shopping online, they are likely to be multi-tasking. According to the report, nearly all (95 percent) of millennial online shoppers reported they were doing other things while shopping, including working, watching TV, or talking to friends. So the problem of connecting with millennials is two-fold. First, millennials are hard to pin down to send them a marketing message due to device switching. And when they are trying to shop using a particular device, they can distracted by other things.

Many marketers and business owners respond to this by trying to send out more messages and reach their millennial audience in different ways. However, this can be counterproductive. The marketer may get the person's attention, but only because they are annoyed by being over served ads.

Nearly three out of four (74 percent) millennials in the SmarterHQ survey said they are frustrated with receiving too many marketing communications. For example, there is a limit to the number of email marketing messages people can receive from a brand before they start to become annoying. According to SmarterHQ, the majority of millennials prefer just one to three marketing emails per month.

The solution isn't to increase the quantity of the marketing message but to improve the quality. By creating offers that are better tailored to a particular customer, then the offer is more likely to stick out. It has a similar appeal to ad retargeting, where the use of data produces more meaningful marketing. Consumers are even willing to help by providing more information to retailers for more relevant ads and deals. According to a SmarterHQ, 70 percent of millennials are comfortable with retailers tracking their purchasing and browsing behaviors in exchange for more relevant communications.

Creating ads and marketing content that captures the attention of millennials is useful to both online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Just as there are new ways to shop and new ways to communicate, business owners must use multiple ways to reach consumers and connect with them, no matter where they shop. This is something that was echoed by the report's authors.

"While we're seeing much more mobile traffic than we ever have in previous years, especially with the younger buyer, our survey found that brick-and-mortar is alive and well with millennials, and the need for a strong, well-executed and cohesive omnichannel presence beyond online is key when capturing millennial spend," said Michael Osborne, CEO of SmarterHQ. "Another finding that stood out was that while security may be a concern with older shoppers, 70% of millennials are actually comfortable with retailers tracking their purchasing and browsing behaviors, if it means they'll receive more relevant communications. This further emphasizes the need for strategic personalization, in an industry still plagued by mass marketing techniques."

Besides helping brands to reach millennials, a wisely implemented omni-channel strategy can build brand loyalty. Only 6.5 percent of millennials respondents considered themselves brand loyal, however, those who prefer personalized communications have a 28 percent higher brand loyalty than those who do not.

This data shows that connecting with millennials can be challenging in an age filled with distracting tech. But wise business owners can use that tech to their advantage. For more recent research that can help business owners and marketers, read this article on the importance of a good brand website.

Published on: Aug 28, 2017