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.

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.