Guest post by Philip Piletic. more about Philip at the end of this article
5 tips for marketing your business to Millennial customers
If your company isn’t succeeding with the Millennial Generation despite your best marketing efforts, you might be doing it wrong. These tips will assist you in turning things around.
“You’re doing it wrong” is an overused meme we’d all like to go away, but we use it here for two reasons. First, the expression shows that everything has a shelf life. What was once catchy is now annoying. And secondly, the phrase might really apply to marketing to Millennials in a literal way. Outreach that once caught the attention of teens and 20-somethings simply isn’t turning heads today and, in fact, is considered an annoyance by people in that age range.
Ads have little impact on this generation because people in it resist being sold something. Ads are ignored, at best, or they annoy, causing resistance to the product or brand being pushed. LinkedIn Content Marketing Manager Alex Rynne says, “Millennials are even more resistant than Gen-Xers to hard-sell pitches…[which they view as] too authoritative and too one-sided.”
When buying, most in the millennial generation want to be the initiator; they want to come to you, and they consider traditional methods to be aggressive. In addition, millennials know the seller is biased. Instead, they want to independently research the products and services you’re selling. This often takes the form of getting input from their friends and reading reviews online at independent sellers. With the wariness of the people you’re trying to reach in mind, what are the best practices for marketing to the millennial generation?
Here is an overview of ways proving effective with this generation. You’ll want to dig deeper into each one and customise it to your brand and products.
- A Broad Brush Won’t Work
No generation has been completely uniform in its demographics, attitudes and preferences. However, as Forbes contributor AJ Agrawal says, “Millennials are the most diverse generation to have ever existed…Marketers must think in terms of segments rather than demographics.”
- Start a Series of Relationships with Customers
The diversity of the millennials means you’ll need to learn the defining characteristics of the segments you want to reach and develop an ongoing dialogue with each. What you learn from the conversations will inform how you tailor a unique approach to each segment. Ray Wood of LockedOn calls this strategy the R.E.D. approach:
- Build a Relationship with your current and future customers
- Engage them by demonstrating what benefits they’ll gain from buying from you
- Set your products and brand apart from the crowd by being clear about what makes you Different and, of course, a preferred option to the competition.
This takes time and a good listening ear, just as any relationship does. Use the feedback you receive to tailor your branding and product offerings to better meet the needs of the segments you want buying from you.
- Be Available 24/7
For most of the 20th Century, consumers understood that to get customer service or support, they needed to call “during regular business hours.” There was no other choice. For this digital generation, regular business hours never end, so you’ve got to provide support for them when they want it. If 24/7 life support is beyond your current ability, make sure your e-support is comprehensive, provide a contact form, create explanatory videos, and develop a section of user-asked and answered questions about your products. These are fantastic ways to cover all aspects of the R.E.D. approach.
- Encourage Peer to Peer Marketing
This one is quick – cultivate a presence on the large social media platforms your potential customers use, and give millennials an opportunity to pass along positive information about your brand and products including likes, reviews and deals you’re offering. Most segments within the millennial generation are quite social, and when your customers are the ones doing R.E.D. marketing for you, the R.O.I. will be outstanding.
- Be Optimised for Mobile
Accessing the Internet via a mobile device will soon surpass desktop access. That’s reason enough to get this done today, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly.
It’s a Learning Curve
If you’re a millennial, the curve might not be as steep as for those of other generations. But, you might fall prey to thinking your entire generation is like you. Remember, it is a segmented generation, so whether you’re part of it or not, there is learning to be done. Invest in knowing who you are trying to reach before developing effective marketing strategies, and your time will be put to profitable use.
Philip Piletic – My primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business and marketing. I’m a freelancer, writer and traveler who loves to share his experience with others by contributing to online communities and helping others achieve success. You can reach me on LinkedIn.