Marketing To The Millennial Generation

Marketing to the generation know as Millennials, or Generation Y, can be tricky. In many ways they are a different animal than even the generation before, known as the Bestest Generation Ever or Gen X (guess which one I’m in?). The traditional ways of marketing to this group don’t work the way it did on those of us had to suffer through TV commercials with no DVR. How did we do that anyway?

The good news is that they are less cynical than Boomers or Xers and so respond to basic appeals of good products and good services.

A recent article by the Kansas City advertising agency, Barkley, in partnership with Service Management Group and The Boston Consulting Group, has revealed some interesting things on how to market to Millennials.

They point out four basic behaviors common to Millennials that can guide efforts to market to them.

-They care what others think of them; how they look, what they buy, where they shop. Peer affirmation means a lot to them and they respond to positive comments about their choices.

-They seek information about products and services via social media. Millennials watch less television than the rest of us boob tube slaves. Therefore they look for product info and reviews on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. They don’t give much credence or loyalty to companies that don’t have a strong social media presence.

-They are digital “natives”. This generation had email while still in grade school. In their world technology changes almost daily and they embrace any new toys on the market. This also means they use them incessantly. So when it comes to buying behavior they will engage with each other as well as companies online from a computer or increasingly, on a mobile device. They expect to interact with the brands they buy.

-They respond to companies who support the causes they support. Millennials are more cause minded than either Generation X or Baby Boomers. They’ve grown up with concerts for charity, walks for disease, care centers for sick children or environmental issues in the headlines and on their coffee cups. They will frequent and recommend brands that show compassion or care for the planet.

Marketers can and should engage this massive amount of buying power. According to the article, Millennials have a direct annual spending power of an overwhelming $200 billion paired with an indirect spending power of $500 billion. That indirect spending power is largely due to the influence Millennials wield with their parents.

So keep these things in mind when appealing to the young ‘uns. They’re smart, generous, travel in groups, and like straight talk. Brands don’t have to be global to appeal to this group either. One of the things they respond to is exclusivity. Having something before everyone else is a hallmark of the non-conforming young person. This could be your ace in the hole if you’re a small company. Emphasize the originality of your product and you’ll have them at hello.

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