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The ultimate guide to reaching millennials

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Millennials and buying power

Although one in three millennials rely on their family for financial assistance and many have moved back in with their parents due to this demographic having the highest unemployment rate, this will not always be the case. Millennials are aged 18 to 29 and various studies say their buying power has already exceeded the baby boomer generation, despite economic struggles.

This generation is highly connected, with almost the entire group owning a device that connects to the web (laptop, smartphone, computer) and they are extremely brand aware with some opining that this generation is more socially conscious as a whole than past generations.

Three reasons millenials are a challenge

Millenials are not difficult to reach, they are almost all online, but getting this generation to latch on to a marketing message is trickier than simply mailing a postcard. The digital natives grew up with computers and are far from impressed with technology as it is something they have always lived with. This sentiment of being unimpressed applies to digital marketing as well, as this generation is cynical but not in the way Generation X is cynical, no, millenials tend to be cynical of all marketing not because it is part of the corporate or government machine, rather, having grown up in the era of email spam, everything that contains a marketing message is seen as dubious. Being part of the email spam generation and never knowing life without it, millenials are also part of a generation that had a cell phone in grade school and got in trouble for responding to spam text messages promising them fun ringtones but not making it clear they were signing up for a $9.99 monthly fee.

The amount of spam that millenials have had to learn to distinguish from legitimate marketing messages has made a generation that is dubious of all forms of marketing, even traditional forms. Additionally, because millenials grew up with Google and some grew up with Wikipedia, so the generation is conditioned to be internet researchers which often comes across to non-millenials as a “know it all” attitude and professionals find it annoying that every detail they share, Google is how millenials verify. This is not because millenials do not believe you, rather, it is because they are conditioned to use the web to verify everything from what device they’ll buy next to what the service is like at a restaurant they want to try, to what this rash is, all the way to how much they should be saving to buy a home.

Further, millenials have very short attention spans having grown up surrounded by digital devices delivering various messages, combined with diverse and complex video games and the rise of cable television with thousands of channels. This very theory is why Twitter initially experienced mass success as 140 characters is a reasonable amount of content for a mind used to taking in thousands of marketing messages every day.

Overcoming obstacles

How do you as a business professional market in a climate where every message is suspect, everything you say is validated via Google and attention spans are short? Millennials do not want your instructional DVD and they do not want you to blog about how to tweet or when a local carnival is, they want straightforward facts. This generation is drawn to minimalist design after growing up being bombarded by clunky websites and spam over text and email.

Combine straightforward facts and minimalism in your message, and mix in some of what is appealing about video games and digital publications in the form of humor or pop culture, and your message could get through.

The secret ingredient, however, is still the same secret ingredient that has worked since the dawn of time – getting face to face with a millennial will cut through the clutter and improve your chances of doing business with this large and soon to be wealthy next generation of buyers. How do you get face to face? You do not have to go to concerts and hand out your card, you are not required to go to hipster coffee shops and offer to buy coffee for trendy dressers, because millenials are dubious of any forced marketing.

Having a strong online presence and presenting yourself as the expert in something specific will set you in a position to be discovered and vetted online first and then closing the deal in person. While it doesn’t hurt to be where millenials are, like young networking events, the generation is still being primed for major purchases and when they are ready, they will start online with any purchase before emailing or texting, they will read through your blog to see what you offer and “creep” your Facebook and LinkedIn to see what you are like as a person. Getting millenials to buy from you means showcasing a specific expertise, being concise and cutting out the fluff and cheesy marketing messages, and through that expertise, earning their contacting you which should then be converted to an offline meeting as soon as possible to finalize the trust bond.

Millenials – data

As told by a millennial below, the generation is well educated, hopeful, but held back by the current economy. In the next few years, when the generation improves its buying power, it will be a force to reckon with and you will be ready by knowing about the generation (below) and understanding that they are a dubious generation that vets everything online and has a short attention span which has nothing to do with you, but must be considered in your marketing.

This article was penned by a millenial to give you a better understanding from an insider.

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92 Comments

92 Comments

  1. Ryan Schattner

    December 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Finally an accurate article.

  2. ARG

    December 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I found this fascinating. We have representatives from each generation in our office (except the "Silent" one) and we all found this infographic fun and interesting!

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Business Marketing

No-reply emails don’t help customers, they’ve run their course

(MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.

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no-reply mail boxes

Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Business Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new, it’s actually centuries old

(MARKETING) You may roll your eyes at sexy strangers hawking snake oil on social media, but influencer marketing is nothing new…

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Influencer marketing people taking video on a smart phone to record dances.

Influencer marketing is now one of those buzzword phrases that you can’t go a few days without hearing. In fact, it’s become such a popular term that it was officially added to the English Dictionary in 2019.

While this is a recent change, the concept of an influencer is nothing new. For years, people have looked to friends and family (as well as high-profile people like celebrities) to be influenced (intentionally or unintentionally) about what to buy, what to do, and where to go.

Social Media Today notes that influencers date back centuries.

One of the first “influencer” collaborations dates back to 1760, when a potter by the name Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England,” writes Brooks. “Since the monarchy were the influencers of their time, his forward-thinking decision to market his brand as Royal-approved afforded it the luxury status the brand still enjoys today”

Now, influencers are known as people blowing up your Instagram feed with recommendations of what to wear and stomach flattening teas to buy. Influencers are basically anyone who has the ability to cultivate a following and, from there, give advice on how followers should spend their money.

After the 1760 tea set influencer, influencers were found in the forms of fashion icons (like Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), celebrity endorsements (for example, all of the money Nike made in the ‘80s after signing Michael Jordan to be their spokesperson – I wonder if Hanes is raking in the same bucks as Nike…), TV stars endorsing products (like Jennifer Aniston when she was at the height of “The Rachel” cut and became the face of L’Oreal Elvive; now she’s the face of Aveeno).

Then in the mid-2000s, blogs became a space where “everyday” people could use their voice with influence. This trend has continued and has shifted into social media, usually with a blog counterpart.

Now, blogging and influencing is an industry in and of itself with influencer marketing being a key form of comms. According to the HypeAuditor report, the influencer industry will be worth $22 billion by 2025. Where can I sign up?

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Business Marketing

The use of offline marketing can still be advantageous in a digital world

(BUSINESS) Offline marketing is usually skipped over nowadays for the sparkly, shining ‘digital’ marketing strategies, but don’t forget the roots.

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offline marketing billboard

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

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