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5 Best Practices for Marketing to Millennials

Posted on Feb 8, 2017 11:30:00 AM by Michael Kiel

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Millennials -- which is the cohort born from around 1980 to 2000 -- are known for many things. In terms of demographics, they’ve surpassed the Boomers as the largest generation. In terms of purchasing power, they’re in control of 21% -- or $1 trillion -- worth of consumer discretionary purchases. And in terms of marketing, they’re by far the biggest challenge that businesses have ever faced.

Why is marketing to millennials so difficult? Interestingly, it has very little to do with millennials themselves. Rather, it’s that most conventional marketing tactics, techniques and strategies simply don’t work (or don’t work well enough) with this group. And the harder that some businesses try to build a relationship, the less engagement they achieve. 

Fortunately, millennials are categorically not “anti-marketing”. They actually like and support marketing if – and ONLY if – it operates on their terms. Businesses in both the B2C and B2B space that adjust accordingly are rewarded. Those that don’t are stuck on the outside looking in.

And so, to help businesses build relationships and cultivate loyalty, below we highlight 5 best practices for marketing to millennials:

  • Be Authentic

The #1 thing that millennials dislike about most conventional marketing -- it actually borders on loathing -- is that they perceive it as manipulative and dishonest. As noted by Entrepreneur.com: “this means you must be relevant, engaging and building community as you share products and services. Otherwise, millennials will ignore you as just part of the inevitable noise of a connected world.”

  • Communicate -- Don’t Sell

The second deadly sin that many businesses make when marketing to millennials is that they try to sell too hard, too much, and too soon. Instead of wearing millennials down and getting them to make a purchase, this approach backfires. As noted by Forbes: “The hard sell has become something of a piece of satire in the eyes of millennials. They don’t respond to the salesperson following them around screaming about how great their products are. The hard sell is gone and you need to let millennials make buying decisions for themselves.”

  • Get Mobile

This is a no-brainer for marketing to any demographic in 2017, but it’s especially critical when marketing to millennials: if your website isn’t optimized for mobile viewing across multiple devices, then you’re going to be whacked with the “old school stick” – which is fatal. 

  • Get Social

Millennials don’t use social media because it’s social: they use it because it supports how they prefer to connect, learn and share. Businesses that respect this need achieve much more engagement than those that either have a superficial social media footprint, or in some cases, haven’t posted anything new or interesting to their social platforms in months – or perhaps years. 

  • Use Inbound Marketing

Contrary to the unfair and unjustified stereotype, millennials are not intellectual lightweights who are obsessed with gadgets. On the contrary, they’re the most educated demographic in history, and that means they’re interested in informative content that speaks their language and fits their needs – and that’s where inbound marketing enters the picture. As noted by HubSpot: “Rather than product and service listings, millennials want e-books, whitepapers, blog posts, videos, and other how-to information – and that’s inbound marketing. They appreciate thought leadership and expertise, so this is your company’s chance to provide killer content that ranks highly in Google and show young consumers that you’re the industry buff.”

Learn More

Marketing to millennials is both an art and a science. At Leap Clixx, we specialize in marketing to all demographics and will help your business authentically and powerfully reach millenials, so that you can build a relationship and cultivate a loyal community. Contact us today and schedule your free consultation.

Learn more inbound marketing best practices with our FREE eBook "A Guide To Inbound Marketing Best Practices":

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Topics: Inbound Marketing