The purchasing power of millennials is estimated to reach $1.4 trillion this year. They are now the largest generation in the workforce, and they fully understand the power they wield when it comes to voting with their spending dollars. Unfortunately, many businesses miss out on the best strategies for marketing to this critical generation.
There are a lot of misconceptions still out there about millennials in general. For example, this is not the generation that's out there on the beach, making irresponsible decisions over spring break. Millennials today are pushing 40! A strong understanding of millennials, including how they shop and their regular technology use, can help you better reach millennials through digital advertising.
1. Leave Your Misconceptions at the Door
A lot of marketers have a number of misconceptions about millennials. They assume that they're entitled, or that they're teenagers and college students. Popular culture even paints millennials as being unemployed, still living at home, or as being too dependent on their parents.
In reality, however, many millennials are now parents with children and families of their own. Forty-three percent own their own homes, and they're one of the fastest-growing groups of homeowners. An average of 79% of millennials are employed, 65% of them full-time. This compares to 59% of non-millennials that are employed, only 48% of whom are employed full-time. If you're still using outdated statistics and preconceptions to inform your opinion of millennials, your marketing could quickly miss the mark!
On the other hand, one fact about millennials is true: they're very digitally savvy. They spend an average of 7.2 hours online each day, and 71% of them regularly shop online via mobile devices.For marketers, this means an excellent opportunity to reach millennials with a digital strategy. In order to create effective ads, however, you need to start with an effective buyer's persona that incorporates the real facts about millennials.
2. Lead with Purpose
Seventy-one percent of millennials will pay more for a brand that supports a cause they believe in. This generation, more than many of the others that came before it, is dedicated to giving back and supporting others around them. They want brands that have purpose and meaning.
In order to engage millennials, it's important to talk about the "why" behind your brand. Do you support the environment? Stand behind social justice causes? Support less fortunate members of your community? Millennials care about those causes, too--and they want to support the brands that also support them.
3. Optimize for Social Media
More than 90% of millennials are active social media users. They spend an average of two and a half hours on social media daily. That makes social media an important avenue, not only for reaching millennials and sharing information with them but for listening to what they have to say.
Social listening gives your brand the opportunity to learn more about what millennials want. They're not shy about sharing their needs and desires, but in order to take advantage of it, you have to listen.
If you want to reach millennials, video provides an excellent outlet. Posts with videos have 48% more views than those that don't. Millennials are also more likely to connect with video content than they are with static posts. You may find that you can repurpose video from your television ads or create unique videos for your social media followers.
4. Utilize Influencers
Word of mouth is important to millennials. They want to know what other people have to say about the products they're considering--and they love hearing about them from influencers they trust. Forty percent of millennials feel that influencers understand them better than their own friends and family members. They're loyal to the influencers they trust, and if that influencer supports your brand, millennials are more likely to stand alongside you, too.
5. Embrace Diversity and Inclusion
In order to engage millennials, you need to be authentic, responsive, and transparent. They want to support businesses that value diversity and inclusion because those things are equally important to them. Millennials want to see businesses that stand up for diversity in their communities and their hiring practices. You can show your commitment to diversity and inclusion in your ads by including people from all walks of life -- from underrepresented ethnic groups to people with unique abilities.
Millennials are an incredibly unique generation. They remember life before the technology boom, but they are some of the biggest users of digital technology today. As a result, they have a unique perspective on the world around them and a unique approach to the brands they choose to support.
If you want to do a better job of reaching your millennial audience, consider working with a media partner. A media partner can help you identify different ways to reach millennials and more effective strategies for utilizing your digital ads. You may also find that a new perspective on millennials--one that avoids some of the most common misconceptions--can improve your ability to reach them.