When you go through experiences, whether traumatic or triumphant, with someone, a bond is formed. There is a mutual understanding and empathy that can be shared when disaster or victory strikes. Cleveland Indians fans will forever have the loss in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series engrained in their minds. Similarly, decades into the future, people will recall the Houston Astros winning their first World Series in 2017. Other larger scale historical events such as the legalization of same-sex marriage and the September 11 attacks are the types of remembrance that bond generations.
These historical events can be the reason generational gaps occur. Sociologist Karl Mannheim observed that “contemporaries who go through (and, in some cases, survive) major historical events together can develop similar ways of looking at the world and similar ways of coping with it—ways that can make them seem markedly different from their forebears.” If this is the case, marketing to these different age groups should look different. Just like the generations that preceded them, millennials should also be sought out individually.
Why To Market To Them
Often given the stereotype of “non-committal” or “easily bored” with their surroundings or current positions, millennials are exactly the opposite when it comes to brand loyalty. If a brand embodies what is important to them, millennials will cling to it, share it, and interact with it. In fact, 82% of this generation will interact with their favorite brands, 49% follow their favorite brands on social media, and 38% discover brands.
If you can catch the interest of this generation, you will gain the biggest advocates who will fiercely represent your brand.
How To Market To Them
- Specify A Niche Within Millennials.
All generations span a time period of about 20 years, and the millennial generation does too, but people born near the beginning grew up drastically differently than the people on the tail end of this generation. Technology advanced rapidly, so the older portion of this generation won’t always relate in the way the younger portion will, and vice versa. A poor strategic marketing strategy a lot of brands tend to go with is over-generalizing this generation. Albizu Garcia, CEO of Gain, explains, “The label ‘millennial’ leads brands to rely on using exhausted stereotypes in an attempt to relate to everyone as if all 75 million people belong to one exclusive club.” This generation is one of the most diverse, so treating them like they are one person who embodies all of the same views and interests will be a miss for your company. Find a smaller group within this massive one that fits the values of your brand and start by appealing to them.
- Advertise Online.
Millennials engage across multiple devices when it comes to receiving content, whether it is a smart phone, laptop, or tablet. They are the generation that owns the highest percentage of these technologies, so make your content easily adaptable to these platforms. They also read newspapers and magazines less than the generations that are their senior; so don’t spend your resources on print advertising. The shift to digital advertising will pay off, considering the majority of millennials make purchases online. When you meet this generation in a space they’re frequenting, they will feel your services are customized to their needs, generating interest and loyalty to your brand.
- Make Your Brand Matter.
Millennials get excited about a company that serves a specific purpose or is associated with a specific cause. Take Brandless, for example. Started in July of 2017, this “online grocery store” sells products that focus on the quality, health, and thoughtfulness of a product. And get this—every product on their site is $3. They are providing a service that is valuable to millennials: quality products for a fraction of the price of competitor products. The innovation of this idea fits seamlessly into the values of the millennial lifestyle: passion, discovery, and honesty. Another example of a brand associated with a specific cause is TOMS. Coining the term, “One for One,” the shoe company donates a pair of shoes to a child in need with every purchase. The socially responsible brand is what millennials crave: 91% of the generation seeks out brands associated with a cause. Millennials want to make a difference, even if it’s just buying toothpaste.
The millennial generation can be a bear to tackle. Start small, and make the message meaningful. Show them you care about their values and in return, they will care about your brand.
Creative Spot is a full-service marketing and advertising agency in Columbus, Ohio. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your organization with strategic marketing, please contact us.
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