Globally Millennials total 77 million, account for approximately 1.4% of the U.S. population and yield about $1.3 trillion in annual buying power in the U.S. alone. They are big, they are influential and they have very specific tastes. Reaching them is not like reaching any other demographic. They are digital natives, and live in an omni-channel world. And they do it a lot: on average, they touch their smartphones about 45 times a day. Here’s what you need to know about marketing to them.
1. They’re Not Your Fans
Millennials do not see themselves as fans. They see themselves as active participants, able to shape opinions and inform the conversation. Their parents were fans. They are players and see themselves as owners of the things they choose to engage with.
2. They Get Marketing
They grew up with it. They’re savvy, smart and know a lot of the old marketing tricks. And they don’t like it. They’re attuned to it and weary of it. You must respect their intelligence.
3. Experiences Make Them Rich
Millennials are in a financial bind. They’re in debt (in 2016, the average college student graduates with $37.2k in debt), they can’t afford houses and are staring down the barrel of some pretty epic changes to the workplace, namely automation. Saving for a big house doesn’t make sense. Spending $800 on a primo festival experience does.
4. Knowledge Is Everything
Knowledge is a potent form of currency for millennials. They don’t just want to know about the product or service, but where and how it is sourced, the corporate practices, how staff are treated and the personal character of the leaders. When all those elements align, they are on board.
5. Big is Bad
The big institutions have let them down. Over their lifetime they’ve watched big brands, leaders and industries collapse due to a range of immoralities. When it comes to learning about new things and recommendations, they put their trust in each other and micro-influencers. Big isn’t to be trusted.
6. Chat Is King
This is the primary means of communication. It is not a compromised option devoid of meaning. It’s the benchmark. Millennials expect brands to be available 24/7 and chat is their preferred mode of interaction. Keep an eye out for video messaging through platforms like Snap and Kombie. It’s on the rise, and will likely eclipse text messaging in the future.
7. Growth is Good
They have diverse and changing interests and are looking to grow on a personal level. Collaborations between their favorite brands and other brands, artists or influencers gives them access to events, ideas and information that they wouldn’t have otherwise had.
8. Entertainment Is Expected, Everywhere
This is a generation that never learned to be bored. Things move quickly and they like it. Even a 15-second ad is too long. Brands can no longer sponsor the entertainment, they have to be the entertainment.
9. They’re Ruthless
If you let them down, they’ll move onto the next thing. They’re used to being consumers in control and understand that they can vote with their dollars. You only get one chance with them. If you do mess up, a public apology and active attempt to atone for your wrongdoings is far better than sweeping it under the carpet.
10. Irony Reigns
The more offbeat and oddball, the better. Done right, humor is a way to show millennials that you get them and respect their intelligence. Though there is lots to be depressed about in the world today, millennials are inherently optimistic and humor is the weapon of choice for making strong political points and cultural statements. It’s a common language between friends, and when brands get it right, its effect is magnetic.