Marketing to Millennials
Millennial customers—also known as “Generation Y,” those born roughly between 1980 and 2000—make up the largest generation in U.S. and world history. No matter what your opinion is of this group of people, for your business’ sake you should start paying attention. Forbes estimates that millennials will soon have incomparable spending power, at $200 billion annually by 2017 and $10 trillion over their lifetimes as consumers, in the U.S. alone. Tailoring your marketing to millennials isn’t just following a trend; it’s vital for your company’s success.
So set aside clichés about millennials’ selfie and ramen noodle obsessions and instead focus on how you can reach this generation. Fortunately for you, I am a (productive, smart, employed-yet-still-eating-ramen) millennial and can guide you.
1. Be smart.
If you expect millennials to listen to you, your marketing has to be intelligent. Most millennials have college degrees. Most have smartphones. This means most millennials are well informed concerning current trends. We research facts and know how to de-bunk myths, so don’t even think about making up statistics to use in your campaign. In short, we appreciate communication that’s on an intelligent level, not on a dumbed-down level. We want to do business with companies we respect.
2. Stand for something.
Speaking of respect, company values are an important factor in millennials’ buying decisions. We’re willing to pay a little extra to the company whose values we admire. This doesn’t mean you need to tout “we’re green” on billboards across Tampa—let’s be honest, that probably wouldn’t work anyway—but it does mean you need to take a hard look at your branding. Chances are, your company is built on an ethical foundation. But is who you are showing through in every aspect of your company? Can your potential customers tell—from your website, from your Facebook page—what you stand for as a brand?
3. Be available.
Millennials were raised with more technology than the world has ever seen. Computers are second nature to us, and I already mentioned smartphones and Internet available at our fingertips. That means we are probably going to research your company before we buy from you, and you better be there. Yes, I admit that I’ve made decisions to buy or not buy based on a company’s website. And I don’t even mean international brands; I won’t go to a restaurant that doesn’t have a functioning website. If you want to convert millennials into customers, you absolutely must be available where they’re searching.
4. Be genuine.
If there’s nothing else you take away from this post, let it be this: be genuine. Part of growing up in the millennial generation means we’ve been exposed to just about every type of ad you can think of. We can see straight through gimmicks and shows. Every claim you make we’ll research. Be straightforward and real, and that’s what millennial customers will connect to.
Once a millennial is on your side, he or she may become your biggest brand advocate. After all, with all that connectivity, we can sing your praises to all our friends and followers. And these practices don’t only apply to millennials; these expectations and behaviors are spreading to other customers as well. Millennials will make or break your company in the future. It’s time to get on board.
About the author
I'm Autumn Nicholson, Director of Internet Marketing. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and took the first editing job I could find, at a marketing company in South Carolina. I joined Farmore Marketing in 2014 to put my internet marketing experience to good use—and to spend more time on the beach. I invest much of my time volunteering for nonprofits, reading, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. You can connect with me here: