Millennials are the first digitally native generation. Their lifelong digital immersion has impacted the way that they think, connect, and make decisions. Increasingly, marketers have discovered that methods that worked with previous generations are not translating to this one. Effective millennial marketing requires an entirely new mindset and a new strategy. The good news is, they are telling us exactly what they want.
Millennials are a savvy generation, highly attuned to anything that feels manipulative or phony. The tone of the brand voice will greatly impact how the brand is perceived; is it salesy or sincere? Gimmicky or genuine? Millennials have little tolerance for content that feels contrived or forced. Conversely, when they find a brand that they feel is transparent and authentic, they create an emotional connection that translates to brand loyalty and organic referrals.
The millennial generation of shoppers does not want to merely be told that a product is great. They want to hear about someone’s true experience. In areas where conventional advertising may fall flat, millennials respond to personal stories. Companies who want to reach millennials must adapt their marketing strategy to convey the real experiences of real people – tell the story to create deep-seated connections.
Instead of focusing merely on the product being offered, savvy marketers flip the camera and put the spotlight on the consumer. Ask millennials what they think and they will tell you – and everyone else – on their favorite platform. User-generated content produces energy and excitement and will carry the stamp of authenticity that your customers are looking for. Peter Cassidy of Social Media Today writes that “60% of consumers said user-generated content (UGC) is the most authentic form of content – 3X more authentic than brand-created content.”
When millennials tell you what they think, respond promptly. Ask them questions. Listen carefully to the answers. When you incorporate their ideas into your business, be sure to communicate that. By involving customers in the process, they gain ownership and feel the satisfaction of becoming part of something special.
Your voice should reflect the energy of your brand. So be fun. Be funny. Be honest. Be edgy. Say things that they do not expect. In 2018, Wendy’s developed a snarky and clever voice for Twitter, and the posts went viral. Millennials will share … and share … and share … when they resonate with the human factor in the content.
Occupy the same digital space as your target audience and then optimize the content to generate the most organic activity.
Millennials tend to feel a bond with the influencers that they follow regularly. Find out who your target audience follows and establish relationships with those influencers. When an influencer recommends your brand to their followers it feels like a recommendation coming from a trusted friend.
An effective referral can sometimes be literally word of mouth, but with millennials that word of mouth referral is usually expressed digitally. As a result, one referral can now impact hundreds or even thousands. Birds of a feather flock together; forums like Reddit, or Facebook Groups are a great place to facilitate digital “word of mouth” messaging.
The millennial generation is highly motivated by the concept of doing good or giving back, so when your brand aligns itself with causes that they care about, they are much more likely to engage. Emphasizing your brand’s passion, not just the products themselves, will give your audience a sense of partnering with philanthropy. Brand loyalty can be built on a foundation of shared values.
CALLOUT: Convert your referral programs into donation programs: donate your discounts to a charity of the brands choice. Learn More
Customer loyalty programs have long been a proven way to increase sales and encourage repeat business. But to the millennial generation, the punch cards have been replaced by smartphones. Gone are the days of losing a punch card and forgetting it at home. A digital loyalty program can be easy to implement and it puts your company – and the rewards – at your customers’ fingertips. Jed Williams and John Swanciger note in entrepreneur.com that Starbucks saw the positive results first-hand when its rewards program “played a key role in its 26 percent rise in profit and 11 percent jump in total revenue in 2013’s second quarter fiscal results.”
There is a dichotomy in the spending habits of millennials: they are willing to pay a premium for good quality or to invest in something they care about, but at the same time they love a good deal. This is because oftentimes, value is "perceived" how do you create an emotional connection with a brand, while also providing monetary value? When the right combination is created, When millennials feel like they can obtain all three from a brand – quality, cause, and value – you have found the sweet spot, and a movement within your customer base is activated.
Perks and benefits
Perks and benefits can be tangible or virtual. Offering physical samples will motivate millennials to share their experience on social media, giving a product the clout of an authentic review. Offering valuable digital content, such as informational blog posts or videos, will incentivize your audience to engage frequently with your website, page, or channel, and share what they have learned.
When you advertise, make it easy for them to engage. A pleasant, fluid experience will always garner more action than a complex one. One-click options, easy navigation, and mobile optimization will raise conversion rates. Additionally, with most millennials using their phones as their primary vehicle for engagement, a great mobile experience is pivotal to a successful marketing campaign.
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Let us help you design a referral program that will reach the right people with the best approach. Track the success of each campaign and gain insights about how your customers engage, buy, and share.
Millennials are not looking to be marketed to through salesy ads and one-way communication. They want a referral from someone they know and trust. Marketing-Schools.org writes that “customers are 4 times more likely to buy with referrals from friends.” They also add that “referred customers spend an average of 13.2% more than regular customers.” Referral marketing is an extremely efficient and cost-effective way to extend your company’s reach and grow your customer base. Talkable takes you step-by-step through designing the right referral program for your company.
Brand engagement is the key to brand loyalty. Meaghan Morales writes that “42 percent [of millennials] said they are interested in helping companies develop future products and services.” When a company solicits millennials’ ideas and input, it stimulates engagement and will give users a sense of ownership. From choosing the latest chip flavor to voting for the colors in the next eyeshadow palette, collaboration campaigns generate brand interaction and excitement.
Repetition is key. When a consumer views the same marketing campaign on their computer, on their tablet, and on their phone, they are much more likely to act. Eric Stein of MarketingDive states that “using cross-device view, consumers convert at 1.4x the rate than if you just viewed from a single device view.”
Technology moves fast, and a successful millennial marketing strategy means targeting the same digital space where they are interacting. It is no longer enough to have an active Facebook page when millennials have moved on to Instagram, Shapchat, TikTok, and others.
Marketing strategy is not static and must evolve with each generation. Engaging millennials necessitates an organic, authentic approach that appeals to their values. Give them something to care about, connect on an emotional level, and meet them where they are. The reward is an active clientele that is passionate about your brand and will share that passion with others. No longer merely customers, the millennial generation can be your brand’s best marketing asset.