Marketing to millennials? Throw out the old sales tactics



Millennials. The word itself is one of the biggest buzzwords in today’s society. Many are fascinated with what motivates them, their work ethic, their spending habits and their lifestyles in general, while others underestimate the percentage of the entire population born between 1977 and 2000.

Millennials have incredible buying power in today’s market. They currently make up 21 percent of consumer discretionary purchases. That’s over $1 trillion of direct buying power. Some theories suspect this amount is so high because millennials are more likely to have children later in life, leaving them with more disposable income now. Others suspect it has something to do with the fact that many millennials move back home after college before living on their own. Regardless of the reason for the significant buying power, businesses must understand how to effectively reach this generation of customers in order to cash in on this opportunity.

What does this mean for business owners and marketing professionals? When creating a marketing strategy for your business, it is vital that you consider this group and understand what motivates them in order to remain successful. Old sales tactics simply do not work on millennials.

While transitioning your efforts to online instead of print is a good start, it’s not the only answer. Regardless of where the message is coming from, whether that is traditional media or more contemporary means, millennials have grown up being bombarded with sales pitches and advertisements. They have become experts at tuning this type of messaging out and avoiding it altogether. For example, it is now common practice to record television shows to be able to fast-forward commercials. They are willing to pay extra for music providers to avoid advertisements, and they barely even notice banner ads and pop-up boxes on websites anymore.


So how can businesses make a lasting connection with millennials? Here are three things to consider.

Relying purely on advertisements is a thing of the past


Instead of using your message to interrupt and bombard your audience to make a sale, create useful content your ideal customer would want to read and share. This strategy, known as “content marketing,” builds trust around your brand and positions you as a resource for valuable information within your industry. Millennials want to know that businesses care about more than just making a sale, and a great way to show that is to provide value to customers, free of charge. Whether your industry is finance or fashion, providing expert advice or helpful tips to potential customers is a way to showcase your company’s expertise, and also prove that your company cares.


Millennials_pullout1Businesses should also show personality


Multiple studies have shown that millennials want to connect with individuals opposed to corporations. A few ways to incorporate this include a “meet the team” section on a company’s website with headshots and bios, or blog posts written from different employees. A responsive, personable social media account is another excellent way to define your brand’s personality.


The last point probably won’t surprise you: Be mobile


Millennials are the largest segment of smartphone owners. It is vital that organizations’ websites and digital marketing efforts, such as email, are optimized for smartphones and tablets. Mobile-friendly doesn’t just mean that a website is accessible on a cellphone or tablet. It means that the user experience is just as good on an iPhone as it would be using a standard desktop. In fact, updating a website to mobile-friendly is more of an urgent issue than one might think. According to recent studies conducted by Google, 57 percent of mobile consumers wouldn’t recommend a business with a bad mobile website to a friend, and 48 percent of mobile consumers felt that businesses without a mobile-friendly website didn’t care about their business.


Millennials aren’t that difficult to understand. Their generation wants to connect with actual people, and they like to feel like they know that we are more than just a number. Combine that with modern-day convenience, and you’re all set.



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