No matter what type of business you run, reaching out to the millennial crowd is a smart move, because it expands your customer base. Even if you run a nursing home, you still need to know how to market to millennials, because they may one day put grandparents and parents into your facility.
Those born after 1980 are considered part of the Millennial generation. Millennials make up about 25% of the population in the United States, or around 77 million people - they are actually a bigger generation than the Baby Boomers. Because of their sheer size, they have an estimated $1.3 trillion a year in consumer buying power. However, if you want to market to this demographic, you need to be aware of some key things in regards to how they shop and what they care about the most.
1. They Use Their Phones
Millennials are very tied to technology – especially their smart phones. About 41% of this generation has made a purchase on a smartphone and around 15% make smartphone purchases on a weekly basis. Because they are so comfortable and tied into technology, it is important that you make sure your business website is mobile friendly.
Millennials expect technology to work flawlessly, so you’ll also want to make sure you test your website for user friendliness. Go through each step on the same device someone from the Millennial generation would be likely to use and see how it appears on your screen, make sure everything is functional, and ensure all the steps are straightforward and easy to follow.
2. Social Media Matters
More than 35% of Millennials state that they prefer to communicate with businesses over social media. You need more than just a page on Facebook or an official Twitter account, though. It is important that you actually interact with your followers and engage them. Not only should you post regularly with things that most interest your target Millennial buyer, but you should prepare to thank them for retweeting and to answer questions they might have.
Keep in mind that they’ve grown up in an age where communication is instantaneous. If a Millennial reaches out to your company online, they expect a response within minutes and not hours. If you are targeting marketing to Millennials, be prepared with well-trained customer service professionals who will man your social media channels 24/7.
3. They Enjoy Online Shopping, But They Also Love Brick and Mortar Convenience
Interestingly, many Millennials state they like to at least pick up items at a physical store, or have the option to return items locally. Around 1/4th of those surveyed said they are more likely to make an online purchase if they pick the item up at a brick and mortar location. Both older and younger Millennials agreed that this was an important part of their buying decision.
Some of the things that draws this crowd to a store in the first place include things such as giveaways, classes and product demonstrations, themed events during the holidays, appearances by celebrities and book signings.
4. Millennials Appreciate Authenticity
You’ve probably heard this stated before a few times, but it isn’t as easy to define what it means to “be authentic.” In a nutshell, it means you are true to your company goals and mission and that you don’t just change with the wind in order to attract their business. For example, if your company has an annual hog roast for the employees and you suddenly decide to have a vegan event because you think that will attract a certain customer, Millennials will see right through you.
Also, Millennials are very diverse. Some may be vegan, some may be gluten-free, and some may be carnivores. To really reach this generation, you have to appreciate that they are no different than other generations before them in the fact that they are varied. Yes, they are more tech savvy, and yes they like social media, but they aren’t aliens who invaded the planet. Much of the marketing you’ve always done will work well with this age group as well.
Be authentic. Be who you are as a company.
5. Price Matters to Them
While Millennials do like certain brands and a quality product, they care more about price than brand. About 62% stated that price is the biggest factor in their decision to purchase. Behind price was recommendations from friends and then brand reputation. At the same time, they put a high value on brands and 70% stated that brands play an important role in their lives.
This means that you have to hook Millennials with a fair price and a quality product, but once they become loyal to your brand they are likely to remain loyal. It might be worth spending a bit more to initially gain a Millennial as a customer, because you'll be likely to keep that person as a customer for life.
6. They Prefer to Share & Not Buy Big Ticket Items
When it comes to high priced purchases, such as a house or a car, Millennials prefer to borrow rather than buy. More young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 are living at home. They aren’t burnouts, but they also don’t see the point of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house when they can simply pay their parents some rent and live there.
What they do like to spend their money on is experiences. And, because they have more disposable income, they will spend a lot on what they care about. To market to them, think of ways you can make the entire shopping channel an experience.
The Millennial market is a strong one that is sure to continue to grow stronger as more and more in this age range reach adulthood and move forward in their careers. They are a power house with more numbers than the Baby Boomers, and with many years ahead to market to them as a whole. You can easily grow your business by working with this generation and understanding their unique needs.