Why are we becoming so fixated on the term "millennials", and why are there over 34 million articles related to how to market to them? It's time we stopped being so fixated on this term, and started concentrating on how to create and implement an effective digital marketing strategy!
Is anyone else tired of hearing about how millennials are ruining the world? How they’re lazy, self-entitled and narcissistic? And how they’re often portrayed as some kind of rare species that everyone else is still trying to figure out?
Because I know I am.
That’s probably because I am a millennial – like the 11.2 million other millennials in the UK. Largely defined as those born between 1980 and the mid-1990s; we’re usually split up into two further categories, because of the wide age range we span.
The “Old Millennials”, born before 1988, grew up without technology. I fall firmly under the “Young Millennials” category, so whilst we may not be as digitally advanced as Generation Z (the generation born after millennials, from the mid 1990s to early 2000s); I can’t ever remember not having a computer, and I got my first phone when I was 10 (although I do vaguely remember the days of tape recorders and landlines).
However, the question I want to ask is this: why do people talk about millennials in equal parts disgust and wonder? We’re the generation who allegedly are spoilt, lazy, entitled and flaky. We have a super unhealthy obsession with social media – apparently, we’re all narcissists.
My next point – and the one that I want to expand on – is why millennials are the focal point of so many articles: how to market to millennials? How to hire millennials in your workplace? How are millennials ruining the world (I’m not even joking).
We’re talked about as if we’re an entirely different race; yet in reality, the first millennials were born circa-1980 – it’s not as if we haven’t been around a while! And also, what about Generation Z? By 2020, it’s predicted that 24% of the global workforce will be made up of Gen Z’ers (not far behind 35% of millennials!).
Entertain me for a second: Google “how to market to millennials”. I just did, and I got 34.8 million results. Now, have a read through the top few articles. Why are they all millennial-specific? The reality is, technology has moved on, and this means digital marketing has evolved too.
So, when you’re planning your digital marketing strategy, get the whole “how to market to millennials” out of your head, because realistically, what I’m about to tell you will be relevant to a wide range of ages.
But firstly, there are two things to remember:
- Digital marketing has evolved: That’s due to a shift in customer attitudes of all ages, not just millennials.
- Consider your target market: Your customer may not even be a millennial. And if your target market is “millennial” then you need to rethink your strategy, because that’s way too vague.
So now, let’s look at three tips to consider for your digital marketing strategy – all of these have been taken from articles about “how to market to millennials” – but actually, they’re relevant for a wider audience range.
1. It’s All About Behind-The-Scenes
Social media has enabled brands to inject some personality into their marketing, and directly engage with customers.
For customers, instant access to their favourite brands has given them insight into what goes on behind-the-scenes. Sharing videos on social media – whether it’s Instagram Live Stories, Facebook or Snapchat – is a great way to do this; as are candid photos of employees, or events.
But it’s not just millennials who respond well to this: 14.2 million UK residents aged 45+ are active on Facebook. That’s not to say it’s a dying channel for the younger generation – Facebook saw a record high with the number of 17 year olds joining in 2017, since 2012. Every day on average, we spend 1 hour 48 minutes on social media. Sure, there are variances on demographics such as age and gender, but statistics show that social is a great channel to be active on. You just need to tailor which sites according to your customer’s preferences.
Couple this with the fact that on a daily basis, over 5 billion YouTube videos are watched, 500 million people consume Facebook videos, and Snapchat reaches video views of 10 billion. Behind-the-scenes posts on social media are not just effective on those born in the 1980s to mid-1990s.
2. Engage with Relatable Stories
Forbes recommends that to effectively market to millennials, you need to show them stories that include other millennials.
The fact is though, this is true of all age ranges: of course you want to know that a product or service will be beneficial for you, and what better way to do that, than to show other likeminded people benefitting from the brand?
In its most basic form, this would be customer reviews: 92% of consumers read online reviews, and 48% of people will visit a company’s website after reading a positive review.
Relatable stories can be shown in many ways: it could be a fashion brand working with a blogger, who styles their favourite outfit. Just check out Monki’s Instagram and you’ll get loads of fashion inspiration, with regrams of Monki’s employees (who fully embody the brand), and loyal customers.
User-generated content is a great way to tell relatable stories, as it comes from the customer directly. When potential customers see similar people actively promoting a brand, it can be a major factor in determining whether or not they too convert into customers. Just make sure you know who your customer is – otherwise you’ll be sending out stories that are totally unrelated, and won’t have any effect whatsoever!
Image credit: Makeup & Beauty Blog
3. “Do Good”
This article starts off by proclaiming that 92% of millennials are more likely to buy products from ethical companies.
The fact is, sustainability and ethics have become a hot topic over the last ten years. Recycling, fair trade practices, transparency and accountability are all of paramount importance, and businesses that actually do this (instead of saying they do, and then getting found out), will build a good brand image, which can help them benefit from an increase in customers.
“Doing good” is a great tool to get people (not just millennials) on-board – provided your heart is actually in it!
TOMS are well-known for their social consciousness: since 2006, they’ve donated over 60 million pairs of shoes to children across the world, sent glasses to visually impaired people in need, and provided birthing kits to expectant mothers in developing nations.
MAC is actively promoting recycling: everyone who returns six empty product containers receives a free lipstick; and Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe campaign allows everyone to take their shoes into a Nike store, and they’ll be turned into something called Nike Grind, which makes surfaces such as tennis courts.
This act of “doing good” extends much further, and nothing can be more relevant than #MeToo, and the recent rise in reportings of sexual harassment.
Not for one second should you think of using this as a marketing tactic, but companies that actively support victims of sexual harassment and abuse will be more credible than those that don’t. If you’re a company who brushes these issues under the carpet, then why would anyone want to buy from you, let alone be associated with you?
Sure, Uber may have fired more than 20 employees following a sexual harassment investigation, but not before former employee Susan Fowler went viral with her personal account, and it was revealed they had failed to report attacks on customers to the police. Uber might be a global company, but this has tarnished their reputation.
As we can see, how businesses market themselves and communicate with customers has evolved; but it’s not simply down to millennials, contrary to what many articles tell us. Instead, you should create your own strategy based on your target market, and what they will respond well to. If you’d like help with creating a digital marketing strategy or would just like some training, then speak with our experts.