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10 tips for marketing to millennials

Millennial buying power is up to $200 billion, which makes them one of the most lucrative markets today. Generation Y should be a top priority for marketers.

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Don’t roll your eyes just yet

Marketing successfully to a specific audience isn’t always easy. Knowing your target audience is only half the battle for moving product and making a profit.

You also have to market toward that demographic in a way that appeals to its members’ particular tastes and wishes. Millennials have proven to be a particularly choosy group.

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It’s a quarter of the buying power

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, encompass Americans age 18 to 35. There are currently 80 million millennials in the U.S., which equals a full quarter of the population.

Furthermore, their buying power is up to $200 billion, which makes them one of the most lucrative markets today. These statistics dictate that Generation Y should be a top priority for marketers.

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10 tips for reaching Gen Y

As you seek to make them a more prominent goal of your marketing efforts, here are a few worthwhile tips to remember.

1. Renting beats owning
For the most part, millennials prefer renting over owning, which is a powerful fact for marketing. When given the choice, most millennials would rather pay full price to purchase or rent something when they need it rather than own it. This new “sharing economy” orientation can be useful for directing your marketing efforts.

2. Organic products move
The greener and more natural, the better. Today’s generation is all about saving the environment and reducing carbon footprint. If you truthfully market products as being clean and Earth-friendly, it gives you an initial foot in the door with these consumers.

3. Interconnectivity is a must
Smart technologies were invented when these customers were kids, which means they grew up expecting them in both marketing and products. Integrate interconnectivity into products when possible, and select marketing strategies that bounce off each other.

4. Authenticity sells
Millennials spend approximately 25 hours per week online, and much of that time involves reading content and viewing multimedia that informs and entertains. Because they have so much experience in the market, they can tell when you’re being fake in your advertising efforts, and it’s a major turn off.

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5. The focus is on fun
Instant gratification and memorable experiences score high for most people in their 20s. When they interact with companies and their content, they want to enjoy the process. They crave the experience of shopping sometimes more than the purchase itself, so everything from the layout of your website to the pop-ups should be geared to entertain and please.

6. Build responsively
If you’re targeting millennials, you can’t escape responsive design. As of now, more than 85 percent of millennials in the U.S. own smartphones and use them daily for Internet browsing, social media, shopping, and more. When they encounter a website that’s not optimized for the small screen, they don’t stick around.

7. Social groups generate leads
Traditional styles of marketing rarely apply to this younger generation. Targeting social groups is one of the best ways to appeal to your audience and generate leads. Generation Y tends to have a strong attachment to social media and the identities they’ve built there, so it’s wise to market aggressively to that group.

8. Engagement comes with relevance
If you want millennials to engage, you have to be relevant. Reference current events, trending topics, and evergreen articles to help consumers solve problems and encourage them to engage with your content. Continue the conversation through social media, forums, emails, comments, and any other forms of communication.

9. Involvement makes them feel special
Approximately 42 percent of millennials said they wanted to help companies develop their products and services. These people don’t understand limitations; they want to see their grand ideas come alive in new products. When companies enable their fantasies, they love them all the more.

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10. Content marketing rules
Videos, photographs, memes, infographics, gifs, blog posts, white papers, ebooks, and other forms of multimedia will always hold a special power for millennials. The content companies provide offers the kind of entertainment this group craves.

Stick with what works for you

Content marketing has been going strong for nearly 130 years, and it will continue to convert for the foreseeable future. Stick with what works when you’re marketing to millennials, and you’ll see the profits follow.

#MarketingToMillennials

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. When he's not consulting, glued to a headset, he's working on one of his many business projects. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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