Millennials, defined as those born between 1980 and 2000, have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest segment of U.S. consumers. As of 2016, they number approximately 80 million according to the Pew Research Center —
although other estimates reach as high as 92 million.
Sometimes referred to as the “Cynical Generation,” they
have lived through the longest war in U.S. history, as well as
one of the most enduring economic recessions — both direct
results of establishment decisions gone awry. As the first generation of digital natives, they have had access to more information than any previous group, and often delay life-altering
decisions — such as getting a first apartment or marriage.
All of these dynamics create unique challenges for marketers, who want to win over this elusive group of consumers
— and for good reason: according to one study conducted by
Standard & Poor’s, millennials could be responsible for $1.4
trillion in annual spending by 2020, representing 30 percent
of total domestic retail sales. How can marketers effectively
win over this group as they mature, establish career paths,
and set up households? Here are five suggestions:
1. A YOUTUBE PRESENCE IS CRITICAL. According to UBS
Evidence Lab and as reported in eMarketer, 54 percent
of Millennials check You Tube at least once per day.
You Tube is now the second largest search engine and
reaches more adults 18-34 than any cable television
network. Perhaps more remarkable is the fact that 29
percent are reported to sit through ads until they are
able to skip them. What does this portend for marketers wishing to reach this coveted group? That any YouTube strategy must include both great content and paid
advertising. However, a word about that content …
2. TEACH, DON’T PREACH. Millennials are looking for information, not necessarily pitches.
Good content that gives sound information and is not only self-serv-ing is one way to build goodwill
and nurture trust. So, for example,
a company selling paint could give
tutorials on how to properly paint
an interior room, including how to
select a color, what tools are needed, how to prep for success, etc.,
without beating the superiority of
their brand to death.
3. USE CONTENT TO CREATE AUTHORITY AND PERMANENCE.
One of the benefits of creating a body of good, educational content is that it creates category authority. A
marketer essentially becomes the go-to source for all
things within a given topic. While this may require
a longer view and sales cycle, ultimately it can foster
deeper brand loyalty. Furthermore, once the investment in such content is made, it can work for many
years to come with little to no additional expense.
4. RECOGNIZE ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL. A recent article
in The Wall Street Journal described how many millennials did not grow up amid a do-it-yourself culture and
needed basic tutorials to advance their goals as they
bought their first furniture, set up a house, etc. On the
other hand, another group was keen on hiring experts
to perform services for them. The point is that marketers should conduct research to identify the different
segments that exist among this group that might be
interested in their offerings, and then create different
bodies of content and messaging to appeal to them.
5. USE DRTV AS A CATALYST. Direct response television
gives marketers more time to tell a story, with commercial lengths typically ranging from 60 seconds to an entire half-hour. That’s why it is an ideal tool for building
awareness and driving millennials online to discover
more about a brand. Our agency conducted a study
recently in which we saw an increase ranging from 100
percent to more than 400 percent in website activity
within the first few minutes of a DRTV ad running.
Clearly, consumers are seeing something that catches
their eye then using their smartphones to learn more.
According to Nielsen, millennials spend 66 percent of
their weekly video time on traditional TV.
Arguably, no generation in recent
memory has been subjected to more
stereotypes than millennials, who have
become weary of being condescended to.
Reaching this group is really about understanding its needs, creating relevancy
that will overcome skepticism, and always treating them with respect.
There is a reason the Golden Rule
has endured and why marketers should
heed it — within the wisdom of its words
therein lies gold.
5 Ways Marketers Can Break Through
BY PETER KOEPPEL