How To Market To Millennials

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Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce and their spending habits must be considered by marketers. Learn the best ways to capture their attention.

When you hear the word “Millennials” you might picture young, phone-addicted hooligans. But did you know the average Millennial is actually in their late 20’s to 30’s?

And as much as everyone loves to lament about their “lazy” “entitled” characteristics, Millennials are currently the largest generation comprising the U.S. work force.

83.1 million strong, Millennials spend around $600 billion in the U.S. each year. And that number is projected to grow to $1.4 trillion by the year 2020.

Whether you’re a Baby Boomer, Gen. X, or even a budding young Gen. Z marketer, Millennials and the way they communicate should undeniably be on your radar. So, stereotypes and generalizations aside, we’ve compiled research on Millennial spending habits and general activities. From this data, we put together a pocket guide on everything you need to know about marketing to Millennials.

So grab yourself a bowl of quinoa and some craft kombucha and let’s dive in.

Millennial Spending Habits

Understanding how to market to Millennials begins with understanding how this generation spends its money (aside from student loans). But first, some specifications.

In this article, when we refer to Millennials, we’re talking about people born between the years 1981 and 1996. According to US Census Bureau and Pew Research Center data:

  • Over 40% of Millennials are parents
  • 88% of Millennials live in metropolitan areas
  • 34% of Millennials have a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Millennials average yearly expenditures totals around $47,112
  • Millennials average yearly income is around $56,099 before taxes

With that picture in mind, let’s evaluate some of the prevalent trends in Millennial spending.

Online Purchasing

Millennials make 60% of their purchases online. The way they complete transactions varies from laptops to mobile phones and apps. And the kind of products they’re willing to purchase online has no limit. Surprisingly, 22% of Millennials have even used an app to purchase groceries!

It’s important to note, however, that older Millennials (ages 32 to 37) make 43% of their purchases in stores and 57% online. This creates a bit of a conundrum for marketers when deciding how to channel resources.

💡The Takeaway: When it comes to Millennials, omnichannel marketing approaches are best. For brick-and-mortar stores, the ability to order online is a must. And advertisements should have redemptions offers for both online and in-person deals.

Reviews = Revenue

Millennial purchasing power is heavily influenced by the opinion of peers. According to Adweek, 93% of Millennials say they rely on blogs and reviews before making a purchase. A growing distrust of brands, compounded by the readily available opinions from peers on social media platforms, has resulted in Millennials trusting peer opinion more than advertisements.

💡The Takeaway: Pour energy into cultivating strong profiles on review sites. Interact with your pages and dedicate time and energy to maintaining a positive brand reputation on social media. Be as authentic as you can and take any opportunity to showcase customer testimony of your business.

[Read: The Steps to Getting More Online Reviews For Your Business]

Personalization is Key

Growing up and witnessing technology evolve first hand has given Millennials an acute perception of what’s possible online. Especially when it comes to their data. Millennials are particularly receptive to advertising that is restrained, targeted, and personal to them. 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized to reflect previous interactions the consumer has had with the brand.

The good news? This is something brands have already started catching on to, and the ROI has already started shining through. 88% of U.S. marketers reported seeing measurable improvements due to personalization, with more than half reporting a lift greater than 10%.

💡The Takeaway: Generic, traditional marketing messages don’t cut the mustard anymore. It’s become an expectation that advertisements indicate a baseline familiarity with the consumer. For Millennials, that may just be including their name in a follow-up message after purchase. It could also be checking in about satisfaction and suggesting other products they may like. The point is, greater attention to detail is a must.

Where And How To Reach Millennials

Traditional outlets for outbound marketing messages such as magazine ads, direct mail, and commercials don’t really reach or impact Millennials. However, inbound marketing like blogs, social media pages, and videos is very much in. In other words, your ads should be along the way—not in the way.

A focus on informative content— how and why does this product enhance your experience, is the key. Concepts like thought leadership, brand philanthropy, and experience-based marketing have the hearts of this demographic.

If you’re looking for the quick and easy takeaway on where you should market to reach Millennials, here’s our summary:

  • Have a blog and write about your products as well as relevant social issues, trends, and current events of interest
  • Host or co-sponsor events. Millennials value experiences alongside their marketing messages.
  • Product takeaways such as e-books or videos for download that provide how-to-information
  • Get active on social media: mainly Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and (dare we say it… Tik Tok!)
Photo Credit: LYFE Marketing

Tips For Your Content When Marketing To Millennials

There are a few notable trends in marketing design and copy that’s geared specifically towards Millennials. In true pocket-guide fashion, here’s a glance into some tips for content Millennials seem to love:

  • Minimalist designs: Clean and simple images with messages that get right to the point
  • Scannable content built with extra white space and icons for quick viewing
  • Casual language with acceptable slang and shortening of words for the sake of brevity
  • An emphasis on story telling or individual experience
  • Easy integration with social media including things like click-to-tweet
  • Inclusion of video whenever possible

Text Marketing and Millennials

*Steps onto soap box and clears throat*

We couldn’t possibly conclude this article without dedicating some space to the Millennial pairing so good it rivals peanut butter and jelly.

If you’re looking to reach Millennials with any kind of marketing message, texting is almost always a good idea. And here’s why:

When it comes to digital communication, texting is highly preferred by this generation. And we invite you to test it for free—we’re that confident!

Closing Thoughts On Marketing to Millennials

It’s all fun and games to make fun of Millennials for their worship of avocado toast and pseudo-science fueled nicotine addiction. But when it comes to marketing, they are a demographic that must be taken seriously if you plan on growing your business into the future.

As much as you may think you can get away with ignoring them, they hold innumerable purchasing power in today’s market. And if they’re not helping you grow your business, at the very least you want to have one on your side should you ever need to sync a bluetooth device to your car.

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