It is a world of cat videos, viral marketing, and the next big thing. With all of the platforms online to reach potential customers, the biggest challenge is how to make your product relevant and desirable to your target market.
If your target market is millennials then you have an even tougher job catering to the needs of a generation that spends hours a day on social media and is unphased by traditional marketing techniques.
A generation that knows exactly what they want and doesn't settle for anything less is a well…tough crowd. Despite this, it isn't impossible to create effective marketing strategies that target millennials, it just requires a new approach to connecting with them.
What Does Not Work?
If you are trying to reach millennials there are few things to avoid if you want to have a successful marketing campaign:
- Boring Content
- Heavily Text-Based Content
- Hard Selling
- Advertisements on TV and Newspapers
These things typically turn millennials away from a company or a product. They don't like to be told what to buy in the same way as generations past that responded well to the glitz and glamor of a well-placed advertisement and an obvious sales pitch.
What Does Work?
Three things are important for creating an effective marketing strategy for millennials. You must: Engage, Entertain, and Educate.
Social media websites like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Youtube are used by The platforms are perfect for posting and promoting content that is visually stunning, shareable, and most importantly, relatable.
Recently, Honda created a very successful marketing campaign aimed at millennials by utilizing Instagram filters and a series of SnapChats that was shared like wildfire. Their approach allowed them to create relatable and shareable content in a modern and socially relevant way without pushing hard on the sell.
Wendy’s maintains an active Twitter account that frequently answers customers questions with smart, sharp, and witty humor. This type of “trolling” is a cornerstone of current millennial culture and engaging your potential millennial target base this way is your best bet for tapping into this highly sought after consumer base.
One of the main components in creating effective and successful marketing strategiesthat target millennials is by actively engaging them on the social media platforms they love using. By doing this you are taking the first step to growing your customer base and meeting your operational goals and profit projections.
Videos have become a marketing juggernaut and companies spend millions of dollars a year in video advertising on websites and social media platforms. But your standard this-is-what-we-are-and-this-is-what-we-sell style of video marketing isn’t going to do anything to entertain a millennial customer base.
Viral videos are a huge part of marketing and creating a video that becomes the next big thing is the best way to entertain and attract your millennial customer base. With the over 4 hours a day spent on their phones, it is safe to say that millennials love a good video.
Many companies like Old Spice and GoDaddy are notorious for over the top video advertisements that always go viral thanks to their hilarity, sexiness, ridiculousness, and sometimes down-right-real-world-realness.
And it isn’t just videos anymore!
And while a short funny video is a great way to engage your target millennial audience, the fact is that it isn't the only way. Entertaining your millennial audience can also be achieved through short catchy articles related to their beliefs, social issues, and real-world narratives. Most people, including
Filters, memes. boomerangs, stickers, clickbait, and mobile games have all become effective ways of targeting an audience that is immune to conventional marketing techniques. These additional forms of entertainment account for millions of likes and shares that subtly promote your product without forcing it down a potential customers throat.
However you decide to entertain your millennial customer base through your marketing strategy, just make sure to follow these simple guidelines:
- Make it Likeable!
- Make it Shareable!
- Make it Funny!
- Make it Relevant!
- Make it Original!
- Make it Relatable!
Educating millennials on the benefits of a product is the final component to consider when developing effective marketing strategies for millennials. The more a millennial knows about your company and product – from how it is created to where the profits go – the more likely they are to make the decision to purchase from you.
Consider developing marketing strategies that, in addition to your other goals, educate your millennial target base about benefits to environmental conservation, human rights, or charitable work that the profits from a product go directly towards helping. In that way, millennials feel the power of their purchase without the guilt of their consumption.
The clothing company Patagonia recently donated the entire day’s profits of their Black Friday Sale to charity. Their sales were through the roof and their marketing strategy relied heavily on millennials connecting with the cause and sharing the information with friends and followers.
Even the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a wildly successful marketing campaign that mixed education with a charitable donation in a fun and exciting way that was easy to create and provided an opportunity for internet fame. In the end, the organization raised over $115M in donations.
Other companies have followed similar tactics to market and advertise by making millennials aware of their charity work, aligning themselves with progressive marketing campaigns to same-sex and biracial couples, and even promote their hiring policies and practices to let customers know about competitive and livable wages and benefits paid to all of their employees.
Incorporating education into your marketing strategy is crucial to reaching millennials. The more you are able to connect them with the different aspects of a product or a company, the easier it is to create long-term loyalty and continuously market products to them effectively.
How You Can Make It Work!
While laying out the roadmap to a successful marketing campaign that targets millennials is easy, the process of actually getting it done will require a lot of work as every product, brand, and company is different.
Start by researching successful (and even failed) marketing strategies that have been used by other companies. Learn from how they did it, what tools they utilized, and how they were able to engage, entertain, and educate their millennial customer base.
Worst case scenario, hire a millennial or two to give you just the insight you need into what one of the most highly sought-after demographics wants and doesn't want.