With social media being such a big part of the lives of millennials, there’s no longer an issue of peer pressure.
Marketing in this current age has its own challenges, as the current generation of consumers is markedly different than previous generations, especially in the way they use social media. Individuals born in the 80s are the Gen Y and Millennials are those born in the 21st century.
Millennials are exposed to a wide range of information available to them from a very young age through the internet. They are also accustomed to instant and convenient services; deliverables arriving right at their doorstep in a very short time.
There are specific strategies you can employ to reach the millennials better, who are also known as the selfie generation since they don’t resemble previous generations in terms of consumer behaviour and taste. However, before you plan your marketing strategy, there are several things to understand about the way millennials shop.
They are Driven by Research
One of the leading reasons why online retail stores have attracted millennials is due to the fact that they allow shoppers to compare prices and quality before having to make a decision to purchase something.
They can take their own sweet time from the comfort of their own homes to compare the pros and cons of a range of similar products before parting with their money. This means that they’re more research driven, rather than impulse driven.
This preference for comparing products and services means that brands have to be competitive and offer extra features or perks that give themselves an advantage in the market.
While not all young people are brand conscious, numerous market research has shown that millennials are willing to spend on brands that they would reflect their character and personal styles.
They Dig into Brands
For millennials, it is not enough just to own a handbag. This handbag has to be from Hermes or Michael Cors in order to be considered worthy of purchase. While not all young people are brand conscious, numerous market research has shown that millennials are willing to spend on brands that they would reflect their character and personal styles.
Previous generations like Gen X and Baby Boomers look for products based on their practicality, but the selfie generation is twice more likely to purchase branded goods and stick with those brands for the long term.
They are Influenced by Pop Culture
With social media being such a big part of the lives of millennials, there’s no longer an issue of peer pressure. Now the sphere of ‘peer’ influence just got a whole lot bigger and the entire world has a say in what pop culture is. In essence, there’s a globalization of trends and millennials are able to pick up trends that aren’t necessarily grown locally.
Take, for instance, the recent craze for fidget spinners. More often than not, online tropes, memes and viral occurrences are hard to predict, but there are specific patterns you can pick up to drive a viral marketing strategy. Additionally, it really helps if your brand is in touch with contemporary culture and what’s going on online at all times to stay relevant.
They Interact with Brands
Companies can no longer afford to be distant and static. With social media, millennial customers are much more prone to give feedback and ask questions, and they expect prompt and polite replies. As companies enter the new era of a social media dominated world, they will have to present a more human side and be prepared to engage with their consumers on a daily basis.
Customer engagement is one of the hallmarks of marketing to millennials, but there are many examples where some companies have done badly online, such as engaging a customer in online arguments or shaming.
These cases have often been the stumbling block of many brands success, whereby they’ve handled the altercation as if they were dealing with an individual customer, not realizing that their entire consumer base was watching online.
It’s therefore imperative that brands employ an outstanding social media team that reflects the company values and will treat customers with the utmost respect and affection.
Ideally, marketing strategies targeted towards the selfie generation should make them feel like they’re very valuable to your brand, and bank in on the fact that many millennials love being in the centre of it all.
They Love Being Rewarded
The selfie generation is one that thrives on self-affirmation, so any marketing strategy you have should involve at least some form of competition or contest that draws attention to your consumers, such as an online selfie contest where participants have to pose with your brand name or product.
Additionally, you can consider reward schemes where they’ll stand to redeem prizes or special offers if they’re able to purchase above a certain amount. Ideally, marketing strategies targeted towards the selfie generation should make them feel like they’re very valuable to your brand, and bank in on the fact that many millennials love being in the centre of it all.
They Gobble up Content
It is pretty impossible to market yourself to the selfie generation while being offline, so brands that want to survive must have a thriving online business and the main way to garner attention online is to have head-turning headlines.
The content can be on websites or on social media sites, but no matter what platform they’re on, they will only garner attention if they’re relevant and current. It’s important to know what your consumers want to read and exploit their desire for knowledge in order to get traffic to your websites and social media platforms. Articles and posts should get your consumers thinking about why they may need your products and services, and not necessarily have to hard sell your products or services.
Articles and posts should get your consumers thinking about why they may need your products and services, and not necessarily have to hard sell your products or services.
They are into Social Causes
Millennials are not a lost generation as many believe, but are significantly engaged in dialogue with one another, especially online where a ton of ideas are exchanged on a daily basis. Sometimes, these exchanges may descend into heated debate, but it all goes to show that they’re very passionate about the stands they take, whether its politics, the environment or social issues.
Commercial companies need to be very aware of this if they want to reach out to a larger group of millennials and use it to their advantage. Some examples of this would be the marketing strategies of toiletries brand Dove, that ran a series of self-acceptance videos online to portray women as more beautiful than they think they are.
These types of cause-related marketing often inspire brand loyalty in millennials, especially when they believe that your brand holds fast to universal values like gender equality, human rights, environmentalism and more.
They Love Self Expression
Selfies are the greatest examples of how the millennials strongly believe in the individual is as important, if not more important, than the group. This means that you cannot profile your young consumers as a single, monochromatic group, but as individuals that have their own preferences and personalities.
This means that you should avoid stereotyping young people and marketing your brand as if millennials are a homogenous group. Millennials do not appreciate being labeled or told what to think and do. Instead, let your brand be a channel or tool by which they can express themselves as unique individuals.
Every generation is often vilified by the generations that come before them, and the consumer habits of the selfie generation has been blamed for the decline in several traditional businesses like beer, cinema, television, bar soaps and even diamonds.
However, it is up to businesses themselves to learn how to rethink their marketing strategies for the selfie generation and not just whine about consumption decline. The first step is of course to see millennials as who they are, humans with unique personalities.