Aiming your Digital Marketing at Millennials in 2020
“Millennials don’t expect merely to follow events, or brands for that matter. They expect to interact with them in some meaningful way”.
Millennials are the largest and most valuable demographic for most marketers of consumer products. Professional services giant Accenture estimates that Millennials will account for more than $1.4 trillion in consumer spending this year in the US alone.
Without a marketing strategy tailored to Millennials, you could risk falling behind the competition. But that may be easier said than done…
Millennials take a much different approach to shopping and spending than previous generations. And businesses who are not attuned to this approach may find the Millennial demographic to be unpredictable. When a Millennial-oriented marketing strategy is conceived with care, it can benefit a company’s entire marketing operation.
Here are three key areas you should focus on as you develop your Millennial-marketing plan:
1. Forget what you know, embrace what you don’t
Millennials are the first largely digital-native generation. Generation X might have been the first to embrace the internet wholeheartedly, but unlike their predecessors, Millennials have no experience of a world without the web. Social media and smartphones have been parts of their world since they were children, and they became consumers in their own right in a world where commerce—and marketing—were swiftly moving online.
Unlike previous generations, Millennials expect to be marketed to all-but-constantly. With this expectation come some others: sophisticated technology, sleek design, and a highly customisable user experience.
Where marketing strategies of the past had to make their points quickly and succinctly (“Don’t wait—buy one today!”), such one-and-done sloganeering isn’t nearly enough to cut through the sea of brand messaging many Millennials swim in.
While text messaging is the quickest way to reach consumers, that doesn’t mean that marketing to Millennials is a matter of sending your message and then working to close sales. Just the opposite: the most successful digital-marketing campaigns involve complementary brand messaging sent along multiple channels. The distance between marketing and sales, in other words, has grown since the Baby Boomers came of age.
The traditional marketing challenges of highlighting a product’s benefits and demonstrating how it solves common problems are more critical than ever. To get your message across as persuasively as possible, though, you may need to reach Millennials through text messages, video posts, and social media accounts (including highly targeted campaigns featuring nano-influencers).
2. The vital role of video
Marketers from pre-Millennial generations tend to value print far more highly than Millennials themselves. Little wonder when you consider the sheer volume of writing on the web. Even our social media feeds, which are supposed to be tailored to our interests, can seem like a flood of text. In those conditions, it’s challenging to make your message stand out.
Video has become the medium of choice for Millennial-oriented marketing. For some purposes, video is a much more efficient means of communication; in nearly all cases, it is a more engaging and easily-shared way of getting a brand’s message across
Video has the added benefit of not being easily skimmed. Studies have shown that Millennials have short attention spans; a video with a consistent message and frequently changing visuals is far more likely to hold the attention of such an audience than a block of text. This is apparent with the video platform TikTok, which has enjoyed almost 800 million installs, and most marketers and business managers have never heard of the platform.
Here are a few tips to guide your video marketing strategy:
Make it personal
The good news is that you’re considering video as a marketing medium. The bad news is that your competitors are, too. Millennials are such avid consumers of video that they tend to have high expectations for content and production. Still, even the best-scripted, most professionally-produced video can get lost in the crowd. To distinguish your video, you’ll need to share something your competition doesn’t have: you. And others who support your brand.
This could mean candid appearances by product developers and other employees at your company. But your brand’s most effective supporters are customers just like the ones your campaign is designed to persuade. Video reviews from happy customers are terrifically effective at building interest and trust in your brand.
Make it for everyone
Taking your video strategy one step further – user-generated video reviews ring even truer and are even more persuasive than the slickest productions that feature customers as mere subjects. Inviting users to shoot and share their video reviews (or any video, for that matter, that features your product) is a terrifically effective way to engage your audience and develop brand loyalty.
Make it universal
Most Millennials view video on multiple platforms. To be sure that your video reaches every member of your intended audience, no matter whether they’re on their phone, at a computer, or watching television, be sure to test it on every major platform. And accessibility counts. All marketing-related video should be captioned.
3. Never stop learning about your market
Talk with your customers…even when they have bad news
Even for Millennials, chatbots and automated help services can only go so far. Even digital natives prefer to speak to a real person to answer complex questions and resolve critical problems. Brands that provide excellent, personal customer service do more than just enhance customer loyalty; when customers start a call with a problem and finish it with a happy resolution, they are highly motivated to share the good news with others. Customer service can be one of your strongest marketing vehicles.
Personal customer service also allows companies to learn more about their customer base. The information gathered during customer-service interactions can help businesses refine their marketing strategies, address weak points in their product development and sales operations, and identify opportunities for future growth.
Millennials expect interactivity
Millennials grew up with the expectation that they can follow their favourite celebrities’ personal musings on social media, and that they can learn in real-time about world events. Their expectations don’t stop there; the web facilitates communication with those celebrities and makes possible mass actions ranging from flash mobs at the mall to popular uprisings halfway around the world.
Millennials don’t expect merely to follow events, or brands for that matter. They expect to interact with them in some meaningful way.
Any marketing campaign can incorporate interactive elements, whether those elements are added to more static advertising or take centre stage in the form of competitions or invitation to contribute brand-related content.
Take time to listen
Marketers spend so much time thinking of ways to speak to their audiences that they sometimes forget to listen. Millennials tend to share their thoughts pretty generously online and are continually telling marketers what they want. Smart marketers pay attention.
Just hearing your target market isn’t enough. Listening to your customers isn’t a passive exercise. Everything you learn about your customer base tells you a bit more about which marketing strategies are likeliest to work – and presents an opportunity to reinforce your brand’s strong points or address its weak ones. Truly listening to your audience means being prepared at every step to improve your marketing strategy with what you’ve learned.
Your path to digital marketing strategy success
A winning marketing strategy takes into consideration the customer journey and not just the conversion as the end goal. This statement has never been truer for a marketing strategy targeted to millennials.
There is no one-size-fits-all, especially when it comes to marketing. Each customer has a unique journey to the final conversion, and it is important to keep user intent in mind when crafting a digital marketing strategy.
The end goal is to interact with the customer on multiple touchpoints, which means more conversions and more profits.