Marketing to Millennials

Millennials are defined as the generation that was born between 1982 and 2000.  The group as a whole grew with technology being a part of their lives and as the youngest members of group are just coming of age they are starting to embrace their spending power.  Millennials shop differently than previous generations and they have taken the blame for killing off a variety of industries.  That being said if you’re marketing to millennials you need to know what makes them tick and how they buy.

They Understand Technology

While the older members of the millennial generation are the last to grow up without a smart phone in their hand, by and large they are pretty tech savvy.  The younger generation of millennials, those born closer to 2000 did grow up with computers in the home and classroom and with the internet and social media being an integral part of their lives.  They do live with their phones in their hand and they communicate differently than previous generations. Here is a look at how technology has affected millennials and their careers.

Millennials and Digital Advertising

Do millennials pay attention to digital advertising?  The answer to that is complicated.  Growing up with digital media means they have been looking at digital ads their entire lives giving them a degree of ad fatigue.  They are less likely to pay attention to click bait headlines or banner advertising, yet they are more inclined to shop online.  That means your advertising needs to be creative to get their attention but without hype and straight to the point.

Different Priorities

Millennials live at home longer, they aren’t buying homes nor are getting married or having children until they are much older.  This generation is faced with heavy college debt and bleak economic conditions and it has made them very cautious with their money.  They are also more aware of social issues than previous generations and they worry about things like climate change and social justice.

They are less likely to eat at McDonalds and more likely to buy a hybrid car than an SUV.  They will watch hours of YouTube but not own a television.  If you want to market to this generation you need to first make sure that your product will capture their interest.  Then you need to reach millennials where they hang out.  Traditional TV commercials won’t work but clever digital advertising like video ads or ads on social media platforms do.

Changes You Need to Make to Your Marketing Strategy

Marketing is a must for your business to succeed that being said you need a solid marketing plan in place and a commitment to keeping up with your marketing activities.  You also need to be able to adapt and get rid of the methods that aren’t working and generating you revenue.  No business owner in the world likes to admit that their marketing strategies aren’t working, yet it happens every day.  Here are some changes you need to make to your marketing strategy if you want to improve your chances of success.  Remember, business and marketing are constantly changing so will your marketing strategies.

Having a Strategy

It is a sad fact that most business today don’t even have a marketing strategy, in fact they don’t even have anything remotely resembling a business plan of any kind.  Failing to plan is planning to fail.  If you don’t have a strategy with specific goals in mind then it is time to sit down and put one together.  Put it down on paper, if you write it down you are more likely to stick with it.

Find Your Buyer Persona

More often than not marketing efforts and materials are created around what marketers find interesting rather than what you’re actual buyers find interesting.  First identify your ideal customer and what interests them.  Do some market research, split test and create content for what your customers want.

Stick to a Couple of Platforms

When it comes to marketing your business in the digital space there are literally dozens of social media platforms out there, not all of them are going to work for your business.  Not to mention the amount of time it will take you to create content for all of them, you will be doing nothing else.  Rather stick to two or three at the most and work them.  Here is some help in picking the right social media platforms to use.

Creating Content is Not Enough

Creating great content is a great way to position yourself as the authority in your niche, to become the go-to expert at whatever you do.  That being said none of that “great content” does you any good if no one sees it.  Not only do you need to create great content but you need to promote the hell out of it and get it in front of as many eyeballs as you can.

Marketing is constantly evolving and changing, ten years ago Facebook was barely a thing but today it has helped thousands of business exponentially grow their customer base.  You need to be ready to change and adapt to the ever changing market place.

Marketing on a Budget

When you first start a business you may not have a lot of capital to spend on your marketing efforts.  Without marketing your business will fail so you need to figure out a way to make your marketing dollars stretch.  Marketing on a budget means getting creative with how you get your brand out there without spending a ton of money.  Here are some creative marketing ideas to get you started.

Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a simple 30 second pitch that generates interest in your product or service.  The pitch needs to succinct yet it must explain who your product serves and why yours is the best without boasting.  Spend time on this and practice, if you do any networking then you will need to get this down pat.

Go Local First

While world domination may be your end goal starting locally will get you started.  It is also a good way to test your market and narrow down your target audience.  By marketing locally first you can establish a foundation for your business and expand from there.

Tap Into Social Media

As a free platform or using social media as paid advertising tool, both can do wonders for your business.  Platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn allow you to laser target your ads to exactly the right audience.  If your budget doesn’t extend to paying for ads then take advantage of groups and local pages to let people know about your products and services is a great way to boost your reach.  Take time to create valuable content not just blurbs about your business.

Work With Others

Working with other small businesses in your area is a great way to extend your reach.  If you are marketing towards other business people then chance are good that so is someone else, work together and you can both benefit.  Work with businesses that complement your but don’t compete with you directly.  For example if you are a roofer then working with a plumber to refer customers to each other can work very well for both of you.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Success doesn’t happen overnight no matter what the gurus say.  Building a business isn’t easy or else everyone would have a successful business.  It takes hard work and you will face setbacks.  The key to success is to plow through them and keep going. With hard work and a positive attitude your business with thrive.

Defining Your Ideal Customer

Before you spend a cent on ads or marketing materials you should have a good understanding of who you are advertising to.  Who are the people who are going to buy your products or services?  If you say “everyone” then you need to narrow down your audience significantly.  Defining your ideal customer should be part of your business plan before you even hang out your shingle.  If you are having trouble figuring out who your ideal customer is then here are some questions you should ask.

Who Do You Serve?

Who will buy your products and services?  Are you catering to business owners, women, or millennials?  Do you have an age range or geographic location where they live?  This is probably one of the most important aspects of business planning and one that business owners overlook.  You should determine your target market so that you can cater your marketing messages to them directly.  You need to know the language they speak, what they like and what keeps them awake at night.

Can They Afford You?

As mercenary as it sounds businesses fail if they don’t make any money.  While helping people may be an nice aspect of your business you still need to turn a profit if you want to eat.  Understanding the financial situation of your clients will help you decide how to market your products and at what price point you need to be at.  Price is also directly dependant on the value that you provide and that needs to be taken into consideration as well.

What Keeps them Up at Night?

Understanding the problems and worries of your clients can help you market your business.  What problems do you solve?  How do you effectively communicate that to your audience?  You need to educate them on how your products or services solve their problems in language that they understand.

Where Do they Hang Out?

If you want to attract the attention of your customers you need to know where they are.  Almost all marketing is done online so what platform are your customers using.  Will they search on Google for your services or on LinkedIn?  You cannot get in front of them if you don’t understand where they are.  You can do market research to see what they need and what they want.

Most businesses fail in the first five years and that can largely be attributed to poor planning and a lack of marketing.  If you have no clue who your customer is then you can’t market to them effectively.  Learn who your ideal customer is and you have half the battle won already.