Are you Talking To (Not At) Millennials?

As a member of the millennial population, I’d like to suggest a different approach in successfully marketing to my demographic. Say what you will about millennials, but we make up a hefty part of the population and a fundamental aspect of contemporary consumerism. 

With over a quarter of the population consisting of millenials, it’s entirely necessary that marketers learn to talk to us rather than attempting to blindly market at us. You might say that we suffer from a bit more narcissism or freedom of choice than past generations, but the ways that we exercise that freedom is useful to the advertising worl - like it or not. Here are a few thoughts on making the conversation with millennial consumers a well-informed, successful one.  

Constant connectivity means colossal contextualization  

It’s no secret that we are always connected, which makes our spending patterns much more accessible. By tracking the ways in which we stay connected — which banners we click through, the promotions we accept or the apps we use — it’s not difficult to track buying patterns and behavior, giving a better perspective on where we’re likely to invest our time and money in the future.

Don’t skimp on the social ads  

More and more social media outlets are seeking to better accommodate selling ad space on their platforms, and for good reason. While online marketing trends come and go at a rapid rate, this one seems to be here to stay…at least for a few more years. Social networks’ mobile-friendly standing, dependable conversion tracking and sophisticated targeting make them an essential aspect of any marketing technique.  

But seriously, we really like to stay connected 

According to AMA, 47% of millennial-aged consumers say that their social media presence is what best defines them, beating out the ideas that the fashion we wear (30%) or the cars we drive (11%) label our identity. That’s because now, our clothes and automobile choices don’t come close to telling the types of stories that our social media outlets can. Our profile pictures, retweets, shared links, posts, pins and snaps create an identity that’s easily accessible and all our own - our own advertisement for our lives, if you will.

So, when moving your company forward in a lasting way, ask yourself how you can contribute to the mobile story telling that millennials so vehemently depend on.  

We’re not ones for commitment 

Gone are the days when home ownership and two-year contracts were found desirable and comforting. We’ll lease month-to-month, thank you very much - and the word “contract” makes us cringe. 

Mindshare’s Culture Venture Trends of 2016 reflect just this, stating that homeownership is the lowest it’s been in 30 years, stating 67 percent of consumers expressed that being locked into a two-year contract is irritating. The “try before you buy” adage works really well here.   

But that doesn’t mean we thumb our noses at brand loyalty 

After all, millennials are notorious for valuing authenticity in a big way. We’re thrift store-shopping, wacky bike-riding, individualist lovers of obscure music who just want to feel special and distinctive. Appeal to us accordingly and we’ll likely be with you for the long run.  

It’s really not all that complicated. We want all of the simple, universal human things that every generation before us has wanted; we just have different ways of seeking our wants and desires out. And like any demographic, marketing to millennials requires a conversation between marketer and consumer — a talking with rather than a marketing at.