One great way to appeal to millennials is to articulate your vision and your mission to elicit an emotional response to your brand or message. Millennials want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, so your marketing strategy should clearly show why you do what you do and why they should be a part of the cause as a consumer.
As soon as a new social network or platform becomes popular with millennials, it's important to quickly add it to your marketing strategy. This positions you as an early adopter, while enabling you to target the millennial audience before a network or platform starts to get crowded. Stay on top of new platforms via tech or media blogs, and don't hesitate to experiment when you join a new site.
Millennials do not like traditional advertisements. Instead of focusing marketing spend on ads, its great to focus on writing valuable content. Content that is informational and actionable is the key. If you provide millennials with information that can help them, they are more likely to think positively about your brand.
Millennials, just like other generations, are always looking for value; they're not always trying to get the best for less (for example, Apple sales have skyrocketed since the early 2000s). They want to know that they're part of an exclusive club and will readily support an underdog. For example: Brandy Melville's success and Abercrombie & Fitch's proportional decline.
As a millennial-led company, I'm often asked by our customers what to do to capture the hearts (and wallets) of millennials. My response: add a social-impact element as part of the marketing initiatives. Millennials gravitate towards companies that are doing good and want to get involved in their favorite brand’s “giving back” efforts. Also, make sure that “good” action is streamlined and easy!
Millennials will find the money to buy something of value, but they don't respond well to salesy gimmicks or free offers. We're investing in content and community building to be open about what we do, the value we create, and where our revenue comes from. We want millennials who are also remote consultants or company owners to know that most of our revenue goes to making our product better.
Having grown up with on-demand entertainment, millennials crave convenience in any new product offerings. The success of companies such as Uber, Dropbox, and Airbnb have largely been built around convenience and ease of use, as opposed to breakthrough technologies. We are actively working to improve our user experience, cutting out unnecessary steps and friction wherever we can.
It's not enough to just create a conversation around your brand. With millennials, you need to find the people they consider influential in your niche and specifically get them involved in the conversation. These influencers can tap their own networks and draw in more online participation, which is key for marketing to millennials because they want to be part of the creation process.
Millennials have always been known for valuing uniqueness and individuality. They want to be different from the masses. Embrace the trend of co-creation by giving users the option to customize their product and by giving them a sense of control over their experience.
If you aren't thinking mobile first to reach millennials, you won't be successful. This group is spending more time on their mobile devices than any other platform and are making their decisions utilizing their mobile devices.
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Originally published Mar 13, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 26 2018