Hands up who is looking for the most efficient way of reaching a millennial audience?
18 – 34 year olds might have less spending power than baby boomers, but millennials represent the immediate future for most brands. We have to work out effective methods for reaching, converting and keeping them as consumers.
While the simple fact of the year in which you were born doesn’t provide that much colour to a marketing department looking to build a working customer profile (there are plenty of other methods to help with that), there are broad realities that brands have to pay attention to:

  • Millennials live on their smartphones.
  • Use multiple devices and platforms every day.
  • Millennials are OK with personal info being collected, some of the time. They are more likely to allow their data to be used (and to engage with) brands they trust.
  • Further, millennials want to engage with (and be seen to be engaging with) brands they trust and that they feel align with their own opinions, feelings and desires.
  • When they reach a point of trusting a brand, millennials are very brand loyal.
  • They are more likely to discover and disseminate content via social networks than via traditional bundled media.
  • Having grown up with the technology that satisfies the need for speed, millennials expect a fast response and faster satisfaction. They are more likely to be impulse shoppers than baby boomers or Generation Xers.
  • Millennials are also better at filtering out unsuitable messages than previous generations.
  • They question advertising and are more likely to be cynical of brand messages than older consumers.
  • 44% of millennials expect their experience of a brand to be consistent, regardless of the channel.

These general realities provoke some general responses:

  • Make sure content is consistent across all channels. Plan for the entire customer journey, not just individual interactions.
  • Build a community around your brand. Figure out where your target audience shares, and concentrate on building a hub there that will allow for your advertising collateral (and general brand communications) to be easily shared.
  • Millennials are good at figuring out what is relevant and/or authentic to them and what isn’t. It’s important to reach them via channels, methods and networks that they trust.

Finally, it’s important remember that millennials aren’t all that different from their parents. Like any son or daughter they just want to be seen to be different. The technology and how it is used, rather than any inherent generational behavioural gap, should be the focus of any marketing department. Millennials tend to adopt quicker than baby boomers (for instance), but you can guarantee that Generation Zers (born post 2000s) will be even quicker adopters again. Find out what formats are used by your target audience and how they interact with existing formats. And don’t be afraid to take risks – be first! Early adoption matters to youth audiences and (young at heart) brands alike. There will always be a social cache in originality and exclusivity.
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