You can’t completely pigeonhole them, but you can tailor some of your marketing efforts toward their common characteristics.
They’re a diverse group of many tens of millions, born between roughly 1980 and 2000. Many of them grew up with the internet, smartphones, and social media, which remain their primary tools for communications and entertainment, personal and professional tasks.
One of those tasks is shopping for products and services. If your business produces and/or sells anything that might capture the interest of millennials, it’s important that you acknowledge them in your marketing plans. Here are some ways you can better appeal to the under-40 crowd.
Get them involved from the start.
If you have Gen Y’ers on your staff, they should be included in the product/service development process as early as possible. You might even ask for input on your marketing plans themselves.
If you’re heavy on over-40 employees, try to set up in-person or virtual focus groups to comment on your offerings, whether they’re currently available or in development. People typically get paid for their time for providing such feedback, so be prepared for that.
Be mobile-friendly whenever possible.
It’s probably not news to you that millennials live for their smartphones. If they’re shopping for an item and they come across a site that hasn’t been optimized for mobile, they’re likely to move on to a competitor. It’s obvious when you encounter a site on your phone that isn’t mobile-friendly: It looks like a miniature version of the full website, and is difficult-to-impossible to use.
Responsive design is the name of the set of tools that web designers employ when they need to build a site across multiple platforms. If you’ve been creating and designing your own website and you don’t know how to proceed with this, you might consider bringing in a consultant. Mobile is that important.
Twitter, Facebook, and other online venues have made it possible for millennials to get up close and personal with celebrities and other public figures. That curiosity about high-profile people carries over to their purchasing decisions. Don’t be afraid to reveal honest, behind-the-scenes insight into your company’s personalities, values, and corporate culture.
Don’t eschew criticism.
This should be true with all your customers, but especially millennials. Social media and other cultural phenomena have made candor more acceptable than ever. Gen Y grew up with this mindset. So use your online networks to listen to them and consider their feedback.
Cultivate them as long-term prospects.
Millennials are brand-conscious, and loyal to the companies that “get” them. Even if you can’t make a sale today, your appeal to them may turn into revenue someday – as long as you stay true to the principles and product quality that attracted them in the first place.
Putting people in a box just because they share a birthday can lead to over-generalization and perhaps unfair characterizations. Still, understanding some of the common threads that run through the lives of the millions of individuals we call “millennials” can help you focus your marketing efforts in ways you hadn’t considered.
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