Inbound marketing tactics could be the way to the heart of Gen Y. According to Pew research, Millennials make up over a third of the demographic in the United States. Hello McFly – that means there are more of them than us. So it’s imperative that we learn how to speak to them in our marketing!
What matters to Millennials
One myth floating around about Millennials is that they are just a tablet-toting, entitled and narcissistic generation with no work ethic. But the truth is, they are very sensitive to the greater good. And even more than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, Millennials are extremely dedicated to brands – especially those that stand for something outside of themselves. Why, you may ask?
I recently read a blog by millennial activist and TV show hostess Chelsea Krost, who answered this well.
“Because we are the most educated generation and we want to put our brainpower and energy into something that is going to make an impact. Millennials want … organizations that find solutions to the biggest problems facing our world today, so involve them in your conversations. “
And by the way, if these younger consumers buy into your brand, they will be the first ones to spread the word about your awesomeness all over Twitter and their other favorite social networks. So take notes and market accordingly.
How to change your ways
1. Direct mail
Millennials are so over getting mail. Most pay their bills online and view their physical mailbox as a place to receive junk mail that ends up in the recycling bin, anyway. An interesting parallel is the music industry. In 2013, CD sales dropped 13%, while digital formats increased 9.1%, according to HubSpot.
The tactile product isn’t that important to this generation – it’s more important that it’s easy to read, acquire, or use.
The fix: You might want to consider doing more email marketing (that’s millennial-friendly, of course). This is probably the easiest transition you can make. It’s still one piece of mail per person, but since it’s digital, it’s simple to personalize and efficient to send. Oh, and by the way…it’s measurable. You can easily track opens and clickthrough rates, resulting in more educated decisions on future email campaigns.
2. Print and TV Ads
It’s not that these types of ads don’t work or that millennials no longer watch shows or read magazines. They just do it differently. These 20 and 30-somethings basically created the “second screen” viewership. They access their favorite shows online anywhere and anytime. Plus, it’s much more convenient to read a magazine on their tablet or smartphone.
You can’t discount TV altogether, but the fact is Millennials watch just under six hours on videos online each week…and that number is rising. And it’s no secret that newspaper circulation is declining (almost 20 percent since 2003) So alternative methods, when marketing to millenials, are a must to reach the younger readership.
The fix: Don’t rely solely on mass media for your promotions. TV ads can put a huge dent in your marketing budget. Plus, I just mentioned that millennials stream video on demand – mostly to skip the commercials. Capiche? So do some research and find out what online platforms the majority of this age group is using…and see what advertising opportunities are available. Or, here’s a creative idea: create your own online videos to give you some YouTube cred. As far as print, digital subscriptions are the method of choice. You may want to shift marketing dollars into the digital world. Or, perhaps start your own blog to get in on the digital magazine trend.
3. Cold Calling
Ah, the cold call. Millennials don’t want it . So don’t do it. Come to think of it…does anyone really like it?
Technology has given us such visibility into prospective clients. We should realize this from our own personal experiences. So, millennials (or anyone, for that matter) expect no less than a more personal, engaging approach to solve problems. Millennials care about authenticity and sustainability. Don’t trick them, keep it real – and useful.
The fix: Don’t do it. OK, so I realize you can’t stop making calls all together, but you can change your tactics. According to a Telefonica study, 57 percent of millennials use search engines to find everything from restaurants to entertainment info (with 52% using social media). So let your content speak for you. Optimize, make it compelling. Re-allocate your marketing budget on creating resourceful content that shortens your sales process. This means less cold calling and more time spent on the phone with quality leads who already desire to talk to you. (Just think – a world with less hang-ups!)
4. Pay per click (PPC) campaigns
Millennials are skeptical and can see right through marketing lingo-stuffed messages. And PPC can be tricky to reach the appropriate demographic.
The fix: I’ve already discussed Millennial’s growing use of social media and search engines to find what they need. So don’t abandon PPC altogether. Supplement your PPC campaign with other strategies – like social media – to stay consistent with Millennial behaviors.
If you haven’t noticed a theme – this generation is really good at blocking out unwanted marketing messages. So, it’s up to you to adjust your tone to win when marketing to millennials.