Marketing for Millennials - Are you connecting with the ‘connected generation’?

If you’re in the marketing game, you want to be directing your efforts towards the ‘millennials’. Basically, millennials are the people that make up a large percentage of the market, those 35 and under who have adopted digital technology, and consume often.

They’re highly influential, and consume very differently from their parents generation, or their grandparents generation. They were never born into a world with war, or rations, or lack, so their outlook is fundamentally different. I would fall into this bracket, and I think that by analysing the key values of our incredibly powerful demographic, you can make significant wins in your marketing strategy!

Millennials approve of authenticity and creativity 

If you think back to your parents and grandparents generations, they usually bought from large retailers, right? There wasn’t a huge amount of independents around, like there is now.

I believe part of the reason why Innocent Drinks struck gold when they launched, is because they tapped into this market at exactly the right time. There were very few brands out there that did away with ‘marketing speak’, and spoke with authenticity and creativity.

Millennials admire those who speak from the heart, who are real, raw and natural. Brands like Talk Talk know this, and create a series of campaigns that aim to engender trust by being as real and as authentic as possible.

The media and government focus on the promotion of positive mental health has also changed the way us millennials consume.

Spaces like The Canvas Cafe in Shoreditch aim to foster emotional wellbeing by allowing guests to write on their wall - it’s real, it’s quirky, it’s interesting, and highly creative.

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(I totally agree on the Spice Girls, by the way).

Millennials are well connected

We now have more social channels and ways to express ourselves than ever before. Using social media millennials share how they are feeling, whether positive or negative.

This means brands should consider that their social channels are also their CRM channels. If you piss a customer off, don’t be surprised if they tweet and post about the experience they’ve had with you. More than ever before, brands can no longer hide. It actually pays to be nice.

Millennials are well connected online; but also crave rich and meaningful relationships in our every day life. We want a human connection as well as a virtual one.

Nescafe’s idea of the ‘hello bench’ is an experiential marketing technique that plays on our notion of virtual relationships, and encourages us to take these offline.

Millennials love visuals

With the rise of visual channels like Instagram, and it’s increasing popularity (it’s currently the top social platform for engagement), visual content is becoming more important to millennials.

One main reason for this is that unlike previous generations, we live in an Information Age - we literally have thousands of bits of information to process from the internet and from our lives, every single day. It can get exhausting. So we consume information in little bits and pieces. And images and video are an easier and faster way to tell a story than text.

Photography is important to the millennial. They love beautiful visuals and making things look pretty. They document their life in terms of visuals, not text. It’s all about the aesthetic, so when it comes to your brand make sure you don’t slip back in time.

Documentary or reportage style photography is where it’s at, and it needs to look as real or as natural as possible.

- Not like this.

Millennials embrace community

Unlike our parents and grandparents, millennials have a totally different approach to sharing. Our grandparents probably often relished the thought of having their own home, and would be horrified if they had to share, reminding them of days gone by when times were tough.

Today, we see sharing as a way to make money, and meet new friends. We are more attracted to social enterprises and ethical brands like never before.

We don’t mind sleeping on someone else’s bed, nor renting our own. Airbnb is our new norm. We meet new friends, in new places, all over the world. Benita Matofska believes that sharing is fast becoming our new economy, and we’re becoming ‘Generation Share.’

Millennials embrace community online too, and they use social media as a force for social change and to change cultural opinion. The recent attacks in Manchester show the power of social media, when Youtuber The Life of Bako posted a video entitled ‘I’m a Muslim standing in Manchester blindfolded, offering free hugs. Do you trust me?’ It was shared far and wide, by the UK news media and currently has over 1 million views on Facebook.

 

 

Finally, we love being a part of a ‘tribe’.  When you market to millennials, you want them to feel part of a community. That’s why you’ll see so many ‘join the tribe!’ buttons when you sign up to a newsletter or online site.

 

Millennials are experiential

 Millennials are experiential - they’re all about the experience. We want to feel, rather than own.

In stark contrast to our parents generation, we don’t save for years on end to buy things.

There is such a proliferation of ‘stuff’ out there, that the things we own, we have very little attachment to as they’re not a huge investment that we have saved years on end for (I remember my grandma telling me about the concept of a ‘bottom drawer’ - when she was engaged to save for household items).

I believe this is why festivals and music concerts are so insanely popular right now - we as millennials want to experience a shared, connective experience (Did you know the electronic music market is now one of the biggest in the world, valued at $7.8 billion?)

The image below sums up their ethos:

 

Hopefully this gives you a little window into the mindset of the most powerful consumers out there. 

Millennials are changing the world as we know it, and it’s changing fast.