by Dr. R. Kay Green | Featured Contributor
Millennials have been called many things by marketing experts. They have been accused of being disloyal and difficult to reach. They have been charged with the death of everything from napkins to Applebee’s because of their stubborn unwillingness to buy.
However, can the fault of failed marketing really be put upon the audience? Yes, Millennials need to be reached differently than their predecessors. But the same can be said of any other generation. Millennials grew up in a rapidly changing landscape. They saw the birth of technology and social media (and less wonderful things, like student loans). Can they truly be blamed for communicating with each other — and with brands — differently?
Millennials make up more than 1 quarter of the population. If you are not even making the attempt to reach them, you are not taking advantage an audience that could become one of your strongest assets. Consider implementing the following into your marketing campaign:
Social media has given marketers everywhere a gift: the ability to reach their target audience directly, without the use of a middleman. And no audience is more receptive to this than Millennials.
It is not enough to just create a social media account. You have to use it to engage your audience, as well. Social media is just that — social — and you should be treating it as a way of getting to know your audience on a personal level, and letting them get to know your brand as well. Asking questions, encouraging dialogue, and responding to messages are all great ways for any business to engage with a Millennial audience.
Of course, social media comes with its own risks. Certain steps must be taken in order to avoid a social media crisis. However, if you are thoughtful with your platform, you can turn it into your greatest advantage.
Certainly, this is something all businesses should be doing. But if you are not doing this when you market to Millennials, then you are actively alienating them.
63% of Millennials regularly make purchases and decisions while on mobile. And if your website content is not optimized to be used on a mobile platform, then they will not bother waiting until they are at a desktop to try again. They will simply go to another site to get what they want. And make no mistake: that site is out there, and mobile-savvy Millennials will seek out your competitors in favor of you every time.
Creating an app that makes it easy for them to interact with your brand on mobile is a solid choice for brands looking to take their engagement with the Millennial audience to the next level.
It has been said many times, but it was perhaps been said best by Viceland’s Co-President and General Manager Guy Slattery: “Millennials have really great bullshit detectors.”
They will see right through a traditional marketing attempt. Most of them see traditional ads as dishonest. If you spend all of your energy trying to convince them to buy your product or use your service, no matter how subtly you do it, they will balk. Instead, focus on building an authentic, personal brand voice.
Social media will, of course, be your strongest asset on this front. But that should not be all. Try a blog, or a vlog, or something similar to give followers a real look into your business and who you are.
Millennials will always prefer to seek out information, rather than have it shoved in their faces.
Instead of traditional ads, which are generally seen as untrustworthy by millennials, try thinking of what they need. A white paper that answers a question many of them have? A webinar? A blog? Then provide that for them, and use SEO, influencers, and social media blasts to make sure that they can find it when they need it.
This puts the burden of finding your content in the Millennial’s hands, which may feel like a gamble for traditional marketers. But by empowering them to make their own decisions, you make it much more likely for them to respond to your content.
A Final Note
All of this information is a great springboard when it comes to marketing to Millennials, but that does not mean you should take it as gospel. No amount of think pieces and statistics can replace your own personal audience.
Millennials are one of the most diverse generations ever. So instead of trying to fit them all into a single category, try reaching out to the ones who would specifically benefit from your product, service, event, etc, and discover how to best market to them. This is what will yield tangible results.
Dr. R. Kay Green – Marketing Expert from RKG Marketing Solutions Inc. from Atlanta, GA.
Dr. R. Kay Green is the CEO/President of RKG Marketing Solutions Inc. With over 190,000+ Twitter followers, 35,000+ Facebook Likes, and the Top 1% LinkedIn profile designation, Dr. Kay, a self-motivated trailblazer, is the Quintessential “New-Age” Professional Woman, and PhD Marketing Pro. She earned a Doctorate of Business Administration in Marketing, and has completed PhD coursework in Leadership and Organization Change. She also holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing and Management, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, and an Associate of Arts in Marketing Management.
She is affiliated with several prestigious universities and has instructed over 350 courses online. A popular speaker on Marketing and Business topics, Dr. Green is currently featured on Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, Black News, The Network Journal, Business Review USA, Digital Journal, College View, Business New Hampshire Magazine, Bay State Banner, Reader’s Circle, North Dallas Gazette, Harlem News, Top News Today, One News Page, NE Informer, Women in Business PR News, Consumer News Today, Women PR News, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Daily Herald, The Miami Herald, and Book News Articles.