Millennials are spending money – and a lot of it. Millennial spending has been estimated at upwards of $1 trillion and you would be hard-pressed to find a company that doesn’t want a piece of that. This generation is also extremely influential with older consumers, such as their parents and grandparents. With so much buying power and influence, companies and advertisers have been racking their brains as to how to reach millennials. For many companies, getting in with this target market has been a matter of trial and error. So what works and what doesn’t? What are the best strategies for reaching this demographic?
Don’t Overplay It
First, it’s important to take a look at what doesn’t work when marketing to millennials. When appealing to this tricky demographic, you must be relatable. But all too often, advertisers over do it. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of generalizing millennials as meme-loving, shorthand texting, technology addicts. This can lead to ads for major purchases that rely on pop culture references to make a sale. However, if a millennial is shopping for a car, they are not looking for the manufacturer with the best understanding of popular TV shows. Rather, the consumer is looking for a car that best fits with their fuel economy, price, and performance needs.
Another important point to consider when selling to millennials is that this generation has grown up in an age of corporate mistrust and the internet at their fingertips. This means that not only can consumers fact check any claims made in commercials, but they won’t hesitate to look up the facts and do their own research.
Become Part of the Conversation
There are different strategies to reach millennials. One of which is capitalizing on user-generated content. Millennials are much more likely to trust the input of their peers rather than a corporate spokesperson. This is what makes user-generated content so much more valuable. Everyone knows celebrities get paid to hype the wonder of gadget XYZ, so a celebrity endorsement is easy to dismiss. But if someone in a customer’s circle of friends is also a fan of gadget XYZ, their endorsement is much more likely to be remembered and acted upon.
Don’t Act Cool – Be Cool
Another problem that some companies run into is they come across as trying too hard. Millennials are very perceptive as to when they are being sold to and are aware when someone is trying to play off pop culture trends. An NPR focus group found that commercials where the company was perceived as trying too hard to be liked were among the least favorite commercials, while commercials that were low-key and undersold the product were the most well-liked.
Millennials can be a difficult puzzle to piece together. They’ve been raised in the age of information and corporate scandal and they put more trust in their friends than celebrities or even professionals. Make sure you don’t sell based on stereotypes and explore ways to make your product a part of the everyday conversation. Millennials are responsible for over a trillion dollars in spending annually and that’s something you don’t want to miss out on!