While you might be tired of hearing all about millennials (even if you happen to be one!) there’s no denying their importance for the overall marketing strategy of most brands. Millennials – those born between the late 1980s and early 2000s – now make up a quarter of the US population. There are three times as many of them (77 million) as there are in the generation that preceded them, Generation X. While it might be true that Millennials don’t yet have the buying power of their older counterparts, they will soon. And when they do, you better be sure you’ve earned their loyalty already.
So, how do you do that? Millennials are the generation of smartphones and social media. While Gen X and even baby boomers have continued to join social platforms at an impressive clip, the social sphere still belongs solidly to this younger demographic. With that in mind, it follows that one of the things most important to them is engagement with the brands that are trying to reach them.
If you have a product that you want millennials to buy (now, or in the future), you have to understand their point of view, their priorities, and their motivations. Once you know that, you can craft content that will resonate with them and ultimately help you win their loyalty.
I recently had the opportunity to hear some key insights about emotional marketing from Chris Beutler, chief vision officer at Renegade Communications in Baltimore, MD. During a presentation he gave at the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit, he highlighted 5 key concepts that resonate with people on social media, which we can all use to inform out communication strategy for this important group:
Life is short
This concept can really drive to people from a marketing perspective. Reminding people that life is short motivates them to take action and not waste any time. It inspires them to take risks and do something great. It also gives them permission to buy something for themselves that might seem frivolous or not fully considered because hey, you only go around once.
Dreams come true
This is especially important for millennials. Because the beginning of their careers coincided with the recent financial crisis, many millennials experienced a bit of failure to launch. Whether that meant moving back in with their parents after college, or simply not making the salary they hoped for after graduation, the idea that hard work will result in a big payoff is very important to this generation.
Never give up
This point is closely related to the previous once. Even though times may be hard, or they did not get called back for any job interviews after sending out 200 resumes, it’s important for them to stay motivated. If your campaign can access this hopeful, determined nature, it has a good chance of engaging millennials.
Fresh point of view
Perhaps you’ve noticed in the last 10 years that some of the most successful companies in the world are startups, and those who came to success through some nontraditional path. Perhaps you’ve also noted that the founders of most of those companies are under the age of 35. The theme of innovation and looking at things in a new way resonates strongly with millennials, so look for ways to stress fresh thinking and different ways of solving problems in your campaigns.
This final point is not really specific to millennials; it makes for good content no matter who the audience. Whether it’s a blog post, a video, or even a sentence, doing something unexpected or offering the element of surprise is a great way to keep your audience engaged and build instant loyalty. If your audience is prone to cynicism or irony (hello, millennial), if you have the ability to surprise them, you’re on your way to earning their respect.
Hopefully these tips will help you build a loyal following with a demographic that might just be the key to long term success for your business. Even if you aren’t sure that millennials are your target demographic, the good news is that the six themes outlined above are likely to resonate with everyone else, too. Because even if it doesn’t always feel like it, millennials are just like everyone else.
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