Author: Rory Pilley, Account Manager for Isobar
Raised in a digital, media-saturated world, millennials are digital natives who have grown adept at communication and the rapidly progressive nature of the digital landscape. Previously, the more advertisements you threw at the younger generation, the earlier you got them to purchase your brand. Now, reaching out to the younger generation requires a different line of thought. Yet, more than a few brands are in the dark when it comes to defining and creating positive online interactions that resonate with the millennial crowd, because traditional marketing methods simply no longer work.
There is no denying it; the face of advertising has rapidly changed. From spam email, cold calling, and cheesy infomercials, to search engines, social media, and websites. People in general are consuming more and more digital content on a daily basis – on mobile phones, laptops, desktop computers at work, and more. The truth is, digitisation is rewriting the rules of competition and with an ever-increasing competitive market, businesses need to transform their strategic approach to stay relevant. Staggering amounts of information are more accessible than ever before and analytical and data processing capabilities have scattered marketing intelligence across digital networks. As these technologies gain momentum, they are profoundly changing the strategic context in which a company operates. It alters the structure of competition, and the conduct of business and performance across industries. With millennials fast becoming the majority of the buying market it is imperative that companies fast adapt their marketing strategy to appeal to this market.
The facts are that millennials make up the largest demographic to install ad blocking software and are the ones who use the strictest rules to exclude as much advertising as possible. They are also the most likely to use ad-free video streaming services, and PVR technology to skip ads. For this demographic, the online environment is a community where real people interact and build meaningful connections. For this reason, merely offering a great product may not be enough to close a sale.
So how does a company master the art of marketing to a millennial?
First off, these people are looking for genuine passion, community engagement, and meaningful interactions from the brands that they choose to interact with and support. For people who view their online space as a community of connected people and brands, an ad on their screen would be as welcome as someone knocking on their front door to sell something to them. It’s considered an intrusion into their personal space, and would very likely give them a poorer perception of the brand.
Some ways that brands can positively engage and market to millennials are:
- Two-way communication
Platforms that send a one-way message to consumers simply does not work. Make sure that you are creating plenty of opportunities for two-way communication, and not just talking at an audience that cannot respond. While this may sound beneficial and easy enough, companies now have to deal with complaints, or interact with competitors and they don’t always do it successfully. This in-turn can create a negative impact on the consumer.
- Be Authentic
Remember, this group has mastered the art of avoiding marketing and will quickly pick up on any attempts made by a brand. It is therefore important to be transparent about your brand which portrays you as being real, authentic and an open book. Millennials also expect you to be passionate about what you do, and your marketing campaign needs to convey that passion across to them. A campaign should feel like friends discussing something, rather than a sales pitch.
Millennials love brands that they feel let them have a say in how the brand’s products and services are designed. They appreciate being involved in the product development process, so be sure to include them.
- Give back
Brands that engage with their community and environment, and embark on social projects are more appealing to millennials because they live by their values. They prefer to purchase from companies whose values align with theirs. Make sure to align your brand to your values rather than using a sales pitch.
In conclusion, to stay relevant, brands have had to adjust and redefine their approach to marketing and must now focus on what it takes to sell to a millennial. With the purchasing platform appearing in a wide range of options, it has become imperative that producers now focus on a seamless customer experience at every touch point. Producers that have no barriers to purchase are the ones that maintain repeat sales and loyalty among the millennial audience. While this may seem obvious, many brands have not taken the time to truly understand what their consumer now looks like and how best to market products in the new world of millennials. If brands do this, they will undoubtedly gain the loyalty and support they desire with the modern consumers that they need in order to succeed in the future.