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When deciding how to appeal and communicate with millennials, it is important to consider that they make up one-fourth of the population, include 79 million people, and have 170 billion in annual purchasing power.
Millennials already control a huge part of the economy and their impact will continue to grow. If businesses want to appeal to this up-and-coming generation, they will need to stay up to date with their marketing trends and plans.
The media often portrays Millennials as a revolutionary generation, with a propensity for rejecting the traditional life goals observed by preceding generations. However, Mintel research shows that this is a largely inaccurate assessment, with most Millennials still focused on building a career, owning their own home, and starting a family. However, Millennials are in no rush to achieve them, with the majority considering these aspirations to be longer term goals. The implications of this ‘delayed maturity’ are myriad, particularly for the financial service sector which has typically focused its marketing for products such as mortgages, health insurance and ISAs around these traditional life goals.
Brands have numerous opportunities to appeal to Millennials by creating initiatives and events that will bring friends together, and provide much-needed opportunities for them to meet new people as 68% of all Millennials agree that it has become harder to make new friends as they have got older.
Millennials are among the most engaged participants in an experience-based economy with 72% of all Millennials agreeing that they would rather spend their money on experiences than possessions. Social media platforms have become something of an ‘experiences trading forum’, with users keen to share exciting experience from their own lives, whilst also looking for inspiration from other users. 34% of all Millennial social media users log on to find inspiration on where to go on holiday. For hotels, restaurants and tourist boards, this certainly underlines the strength of online advertising, and the importance of a strong online presence.
Millennials are ethnically diverse which will influence behaviour as both the younger and older groups of Millennials are highly diverse compared to other generations. This creates an audience with a wide variety of attitudes due to the influence of culture. Therefore, having an impact on companies that want to serve these groups, particularly in terms of marketing as businesses need to reflect the diversity of these groups and their preferences.
Although the number of Millennials unemployed is reducing over time, it is still higher for those aged 18-25 compared to older groups. The low level of income will have a negative impact on the ability to afford non-essential purchases and the willingness to spend disposable income on products and services. Millennials consistently look for opportunities to save money either though loyalty schemes, deals, or vouchers. This age group are prepared to pay extra for something if it delivers value for them, but they will need to be convinced and they will often compare prices online before spending. As well as keeping a tight control of their budgets, Millennials are also likely to try to use technology to help them minimise the amount they spend with over a third being more likely to watch film streaming services rather than go to the cinema and just under a third will use online applications such as social media and Zoom to minimise the costs of keeping up with friends.
A successful brand identity will benefit your business in many forms such as; Awareness, Staying Power, Positioning, and forming a bond with your consumers (DrimTeam 2020). Keller explains how a brand’s visual identity is essential when portraying the “meaning” of the brand. He further suggests that brand salience is equal to the consumer asking about the identity of the brand. According to Kapferer, Strong brands are capable of combining all 6 aspects of the brand identity prism in order to create a concise and appealing brand identity.
Accenture found that 66% of all customers want human interaction in their experiences. Brand personification benefits companies as it; associates real people with your business, differentiates you from the competition, and aggregates strength of real people to your brand.
Hello Fresh found that 68% of 18-34-year old (Millennials and Gen Z) want to become more environmentally conscious, this was more than triple the response from Boomers who resulted at 15%. Following this, environmentally friendly packaging is important for many consumers with 57% saying that it is important to buy products that come in sustainable packaging. Price (2018) reports that 75% of millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable products and services and with the increase of millennials’ spending power, the consumer pressures for sustainability are also rising. “Packaging and branding help build a concise brand personality, attract new customers and keep loyal customers” (Church 2018). An increasing amount of consumer research confirmed that Deliza & MacFie (1996) found that variables such as packaging and branding, influence how consumers evaluate products. Around 50% of millennials would purchase from a brand to support a good cause. They want to build relationships with businesses that care about significant issues and use their resources for the greater good. With more focus on climate change, hunger and conserving resources, millennials look to buy from brands that give back to their communities and promote positive change.
When communicating with millennials, it is important to be transparent and authentic as traditional sales tactics and pushy marketing has no effect on them with only 6% of millennials considering online advertising to be credible.
A survey conducted by Fraclt and BuzzStream found that millennials prefer content that is roughly 300 words. If you are writing content to reach this generation, keep is short, concise, and presented in a way that makes it easy for them to find the main takeaways and messages.
Another way to engage millennials through communication is to Entertain While You Inform. The same study showed that millennials prefer entertainment over any other genre of content. When delivering information to this generation it is essential to create infotainment, content that both entertains and informs. This style of content will make it easier for businesses to catch and hold the attention of millennials all while sharing details about the brand, products, or services.
Millenials frequently jump from platform to platform looking for new content. Peearson said that millennials change their attention between platforms up to 27 times an hour. So it’s best to not focus all of your energy on one platform. Publish in multiple locations in order to offer a variety of styles and lengths of content (such as short posts on Facebook and Twitter, videos on YouTube, and longer posts on your blog).
Forbes reports that if a brand engages with a millennial on a social network, the millennial is 62% more likely to become a loyal customer. Therefore, it is essential for brands to engage in conversation that goes both ways, especially through social.
According to Shoutlet, 95% of millennials say that their friends are the most credible source of product information. This generation believes in the power of reviews, therefore seeing what others say about a brand or service will increase the trust that a millennial has for a brand.
With access to numerous social channels and devices, electronic interactions are now the preferred with almost two-thirds (65%) of millennials communicate in digital form more than in person. If businesses want to reach millennial consumers, they need to be active on social media as 98% of millennials own a smartphone. Most businesses already use email marketing to engage with subscribers and give them content, but this channel is an especially effective means of communication for millennials. Around 73% of millennials prefer to communicate with businesses by email.
In conclusion, when learning how to appeal and communicate with millennials, it is essential to stay active on social media and digital channels, remain authentic and credible, and remain consistent in promoting sustainability and environmentally conscious issues.
Jess is a Marketing and Public Relations student at the University of Bournemouth. She loves to read, write and create art in her spare time. Her favourite part about marketing is identifying social media trends, writing press releases, and coming up with creative solutions and ideas.