Tip #1: Check Your Biases at the Door
The thought of marketing to millennials is enough to send shivers up the spine of any veteran marketing director. Millennials, however, is becoming more relevant everyday and avoiding them is no longer an option. Check out our tips on how to capitalize on this elusive and difficult generation of consumers.
Millennials, the generation born between the years 1982 and 2004, have been branded as lazy, entitled, narcissist. But as you’ll find out this isn’t unique to just millennials. Virtually every generation who has reached maturity has looked at the following generation as a degradation of their principles and values. This ‘looking down on’ is commonly known as Juvenoia. However, whether we like it or not, millennials are becoming increasingly relevant as they are now the largest generation in history. It’s time to start considering marketing strategies that don’t proceed from unjust biases, that don’t intentionally pander and are authentic.
Juvenoia is a real thing, and it’s easy for news networks to prey on this fear because it helps drive ratings. In truth, it’s a stretch to assume 83 million Americans all possess traits that aren’t directly tied to political or socio-economic events that occurred during their developing years. The common perception that millennials lack a work-ethic, are all handed participation trophies and are emotionally fragile is stereotype, and not something based in fact.
If we treat all Millennials as lazy and entitled, our campaigns will only come off as condescending and lack ineffectiveness. The easiest way to reach Millennials is to treat them like regular people with diverse interests and personalities.
Tip #2: Avoid Unintentional Pandering!
We know you mean well. You are just trying to turn those millennial crushes into baes, you want everyone to know that your business is on fleek. Don’t worry daddy-o, we’re hip to the jive.
Time for the harsh truth. When we try to appeal to a demographic by incorporating their lingo or appealing to some preconceived notion of who they are, we often come off as condescending or shallow. For the most part, pandering is very easy to spot. Our advice, don’t try to be cool, don’t try to be hip. You’re better off just being clever and trying to appeal to broad demographics that can’t be summed up by the way they engage each other.
If you really want to appeal to millennials, authenticity is probably the way to go. Luckily John will tell you all about it in his next tip on marketing to millennials video. So stay tuned!
Tip #3: The Power of Authenticity
So we know that millennials are not just a homogenized group of entitled narcissist. We also know that they hate being pandered to. Now they demand authenticity and transparency as well? Actually, everyone can appreciate authenticity. The major difference with the millennial generation is that they have more ways to discuss and interact with the businesses they choose to trust. News of a company’s authentic or inauthentic behavior can spread like wildfire through social media.
“The internet is like a giant PR firm that you did not hire, cannot fire, and writes whatever it wants about you.” – John Evans
There is a difference between acting authentic and being authentic. What’s not so obvious is the effect that can have on your public relations. In our piece on Ethical Marketing, we go into more detail on this topic. In it, we say “you don’t want to appear as if your pandering like a political candidate on the baby kissing trail. An effective ethical marketing campaign should be baked into your basic business strategy.” Choosing to be authentic only after a series of scandals won’t help your cause. Millennials engage more with businesses that communicate directly with them. Not the ones who hide behind walls of lawyers. They appreciate business who face criticism head-on, with a plan to rectify any grievances. They consistently favor companies with a social and environmental conscience.
So if you really want to seize the millennial market, be authentic. Millennials are fed up with the ‘business as usual’ motif. They are increasingly basing their purchasing habits on a business’s ethical track record. So creating walls between you and a large portion of the market is no longer good for business.
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