6 Tips for Marketing to Millennials

There are currently 80 million Millennials in the U.S. Referred to as Generation Y, ages 22 – 40, they are nearly one-fourth of the total population. And, with an annual buying power of $200 billion, they are the most lucrative market today. Here are 6 important tactics for marketing to Millennials.

1). Authenticity Over Content
Interacting in a user-centric environment is what engages Millennials, as 43% of them rank authenticity over content when consuming information and entertainment. They trust relevant, authentic opinions from real product users they can relate to. In fact, 84% of Millennials say user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy, and 73% say it’s important to read others’ opinions before purchasing. For brands that want to successfully reach Gen Y-ers, they simply need to speak their language. When you offer your audience content they would proudly share with others, you’re building a real brand-consumer relationship.

2). Outbound Marketing is Out, Mostly
Millennials want to feel connected and involved when it comes to their purchases, and most traditional marketing does not encourage this. With the exception of email marketing, most marketing methods, like magazine ads, direct mail campaigns, and radio spots, do not impress Millennials. In their minds, these campaigns are impersonal and company-focused, filled with logos and void of any real substance. This generation demands more customer-driven, personalized marketing. Millennials know what they want and, since they’re so digitally savvy, know how to find it online.

3). Inbound Marketing is “In”
Millennials support businesses that are dedicated to improving their customers’ lives with informative content. Rather than product and service listings, Millennials want e-books, whitepapers, blog posts, videos, and other engaging information including peer-to-peer content. They appreciate thought leadership and expertise, so this is your company’s chance to provide killer content that ranks highly in Google and show young consumers that you’re the industry expert – especially since Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts (who happen to be strangers); they are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites. 60% of Millennials (vs. 29% of non-Millennials) are engaged in uploading videos, images, and blog entries to the Web – so utilizing YouTube is perfect.

4). Collaboration is Key
Millennials are interested in having a say and becoming product co-creators. In fact, 42% said they are interested in helping companies develop future products and services. Companies usually create products and hope that their target market will consume them. When it comes to Millennials, they want to be more involved with how products get created. So, companies that enable them to be part of the product development process will be more successful. Marketers need to focus on building relationships with consumers by fueling their self-expression and helping them establish their own personal brand.

5). Use > Ownership
Millennials prefer use over ownership, with 35% of respondents in a 2014 report from The Intelligence Group saying they would rather pay full price to access an item when they need it as opposed to owning it. These shoppers would rather rent, share, and barter than buy. In this new “sharing economy,” mobile services and apps such as Spotify and Airbnb, and fashion sites like Rent the Runway and Relapse Clothing, have taken advantage of this crucial opportunity. This is also a new trend in the automotive industry. According to an analysis recently released by car-buying platform Edmunds, Millennials are acquiring cars – they’re just not buying them. Instead, they’re opting to lease more luxurious, tech-forward cars than they could otherwise afford to buy. Capitalizing on this “sharing” mentality is a smart move for modern businesses, especially those targeting Millennials. Offer more creative and feasible options so that, in case consumers can’t yet buy, they can at least try.

6). Millennials Just Want To Have Fun
Young consumers increasingly see the act of researching and browsing for a purchase more compelling than the purchase itself. Millennials tend to crave the experience of shopping more than the purchase. In other words, online exploration is becoming more than a means to an end, with many young shoppers viewing e-commerce as a form of entertainment. This phenomenon has been coined as “Fauxsumerism.” Pinterest is a perfect example of how the shopping journey can also become an act of personal expression. This social platform, which helps users catalog prospective purchases by curating collections of items of interest, accurately reflects the facts that 40% of Millennials make wish lists of products they want to buy.

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