4 Tips for Marketing to Millennials

There are a lot of misconceptions about millennials. They are often viewed as narcissistic and fantasifull in a stunted state of adulthood. However, this is merely a stereotype of millennials and a misunderstanding that keeps brands from embracing their buying power. In reality, millennials have a positive outlook on life (despite being raised in a harsh economic period), a non-traditional approach to adulthood, and a passion for their own unique values. Brands that have not embraced millennials seem to be waiting for them to “grow-up” and make the same purchase habits as their parents. The truth is, millennials have “grown-up” but their reality of adulthood is much different than the generations before them.

According to Pew Research, the “Millennial Generation” is defined as those between the ages of 18 to 34. This year millennials will surpass the Baby Boomers as the largest generation numbering 75.3 million in comparison to the 74.9 million Boomers. It is estimated that by 2020, millennials will make up 75% of the work force and will represent 30% of retail sales. If your company isn’t adapting to the rising wants and needs of this generation now, is the time to start.

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Here are 4 tips to remember when marketing to millennials.

Growing up in an economic downturn has altered the purchasing habits of millennials in a way that was not seen in the Boomer generation. Millennials are largely a “deal-conscious generation.” This is largely due to the vast access to technology that millennials so willingly embrace. In seconds millennials can compare prices between a various products and retailers without ever stepping foot in a store. However, this isn’t to say that millennials only shop online. Though sites like Amazon have become a favorite of millennials, they will still shop in brick-and-mortar stores to see, touch, or try-on the products first-hand. The catch is that millennials expect to see the same prices in stores that they find online. According to Pew Research, 68% of millennials “demand an integrated [shopping] experience regardless of the channel.” Therefore, retailers that keep their prices fluid and seamless online and in-store will appeal most to millennials. Additionally, retailers that price match with other retailers will likely see a higher level of customer loyalty among millennials.

The desire for choice goes hand-in-hand with millennials’ desires for a good deal. Retailers often think that millennials are frivolous purchasers when in reality they seek products that have greater daily usability. Millennials grew up with choice. Their adulthoods are the result of their choice to seek alternative realities of marriage, family, career, and other lifestyles. Seeking choice in retail is no different. Millennials will compare a product’s usability, style, and longevity among other factors. Millennials want to feel informed and involved in the sale of a good or service rather than simply marketed to. To sell to millennials, brands must understand their lifestyles and experiences and find ways to appeal to that reality.

Though millennials want a good deal, this does not keep them from paying more for products from companies with values similar to their own. For example, millennials see value in shopping locally and purchasing American-made products. Even if purchasing these products means a higher cost, 73% say that buying American products is important to them according to Pew Research. Millennials also tend to shop with companies that they see “give back to society instead of just making a profit.” If a company possesses ideals that align with that of millennials, then they may begin to gain their trust and ensure future shopping. Thus leading to the fourth and most important tip…

Who doesn’t want customer loyalty for life? Gaining the dedication of millennials will require work, but once you’ve captured their loyalty you won’t regret it. To accomplish this, companies must form a personal connection with millennials. Millennials want to have an experience with companies and feel as though they are part of the organizations “family.” They seek companies with a high level of customer service and welcoming environment in addition to offering quality products. Millennials also remain loyal to companies that publish authentic content appealing to their lifestyle as a means of building trust. They also value companies that form a relationship with them via social media and loyal buyer programs. This reminds millennials that their opinions are heard and their shopping is appreciated. If there is one thing millennials have, it’s passion; passion for life, values, career, and even the brands they love. Do not underestimate the power of a millennial and social media. If you become a company they remain loyal to, millennials will continue to build your organization via social media. It is obvious that millennials are “sharers” and there is no doubt that they will share with their friends the brands and organizations they are passionate about.

Sleep Savvy Magazine December 2015
Pew Research Center January 2015
Forbes 2014