As the millennial generation begins to take over the world, it is more important now than ever to ensure they are engaging with, and purchasing, your product or service. This generation is quickly approaching the age where they have reached their highest earning potential and therefore their highest spending potential. Those with the most spending power will likely have the greatest impact on a company’s bottom line. Some traditional advertising techniques such as newspaper ads are, or have become, obsolete and will no longer yield the same results they did with previous generations. Advertising designed to attract millennials is some of the most creative and unique content around. When done right, it can greatly influence a brand. Brandon Anderson, the chief strategist and Ceralytics, summed this up, “Marketing strategy will impact every piece of your business and it should be tied to every piece of your business.”
There is no quick solution to this advertising puzzle and there are a variety of methods that could prove useful. We spoke with business executives to find out how to make millennials love your brand.
Demonstrate personal value
Ben Teicher is the president and CEO of Healthy Directions, a health and wellness brand featuring nutritional products and guidance. He suggests that the advertising content directed towards millennials forget that it is selling something and instead show the potential customer that they care.
“Ads that are informative and honest about a company or product are some of the easiest ways to attract the younger generation. Millennials want to feel like your company cares about who they are as a person and not as if you’re simply chasing another purchase. Focusing on efforts similar to this will create a stronger bond between a company and a millennial than routine advertising will, even if the millennial purchased because of the latter. There’s something to be said about a lasting relationship.”
Develop for social media
Peels is an innovative company which specializes in CBD products sourced from oranges. Their founder and CEO, Chris Hetherington, believes that a company’s marketing strategy should concentrate on how to best appear on social media.
“Social media ads are to this generation as prime time commercials were to our ancestors. It’s where the most eyes rest during free time. Most millennials are on at least one social media platform and the technology there allows for incredible originality. Your company should be developing static, interactive and video ads specific to each platform in order to make the most of each opportunity. YouTube ads look different from Instagram ads and each platform contains unique users. Remember to keep ads concise and interesting as social media can quickly pull a user’s attention elsewhere.”
Millennials are skeptical
Due to the nature of the internet and having grown up in a digital world, millennials are far less trusting of advertising than their parents. They see many ads as a simple money grab. However, they highly value personal experience. Maxine Swim is a women’s swimwear brand. Their VP of Ecommerce, Karim Hachem, considers customer relations to be essential.
“Millennials want what their friends and family have because they know from seeing or discussing the product that it is something of quality. A standard video ad won’t do as much to move the needle as hearing the opinion of someone they trust. How can a brand create this interaction? Do your best to design and produce a product of the highest quality and pair that with a wonderful shopping experience or service. Standing out in this area drives word of mouth advertising.”
Fred Gerantabee is the chief experience officer for Readers.com, an online retailer of reading glasses. He advises brands to find a way to become involved in charity or supporting a cause because millennials continue to demonstrate care.
“It’s likely that your company has competitors who fill a product need similar to yours. When a millennial consumer is deciding between similar products it’s a simple matter of ‘Why should I buy this product instead of the other?’ An effective way to get ahead of the competition here is to include a give back clause. For example, a percentage of all sales go towards a select charity. Millennials want to be involved in doing good as well as knowing the company’s they purchase from have a high moral compass.”
Lillie’s Q is a food brand featuring a variety of family made barbeque products. Their chef and founder, Charlie McKenna, suggests steering clear of the standard product demonstration and instead applying efforts towards enlightening content.
“This generation of consumers is quick to do their research as the internet is always at their fingertips. They want to know the ins and outs of a product before they make a purchase and don’t want to be surprised after the fact. Between customer reviews, blog posts, video reviews, and how-to guides there are numerous ways for your product to appear in a way that offers vastly more information than a 30 second ad reel will. Start thinking outside the traditional box in order to show off your product.”
Be mobile friendly
The smartphone is a near necessity at this point in our society. Millennials run their lives through this device and never leave home without it. For these reasons, it is imperative that a brand be easily available on mobile platforms. Boye Fajinmi, the co-founder and president of TheFutureParty, a daily newsletter focused on business, entertainment, and culture, believes as much.
“No matter where they are physically or in their day, a millennial will check their smartphone. They’ll browse social media, read their texts, or watch a video with any free moment they have. A brand should be running mobile ads in order to take advantage of this norm. On top of this, your website should have a mobile version as any mobile user who can’t navigate your page will quickly find something else to occupy their time.”
Different types of collaboration
Rahul Khatri is the co-founder and CXO of Stoggles, a company specializing in stylish and protective eyewear. His advice to brands looking to attract millennials is to discover various ways to partner with both them and other brands.
“The modern consumer wants to have their voice heard and their opinion brought into the fold. Millennials are sure of what they want a product to be and do. It’s worth investing the time and effort to research and engage past and potential consumers on their ideas for your brand. On top of this, collaboration products, where your company partners with another for a limited release is another growing trend. Essentially, millennials value relationships of different forms.”
Famous IRL is a clothing brand featuring a variety of funny and ironic products. Their founder, Mike Pasley, considers immediate and active engagement with consumers to be key when handling interactions with millennials.
“The digital era has served to decrease the amount of time necessary for a response and millennials have come to expect this. Whether it’s a tweet or email response, video post, or website navigation, a rapid response is the new norm. The internet is subconsciously seen as an on demand service and if that demand is not met, millennials have no problem redirecting their attention towards a brand that will fill it promptly.”
Fear of missing out
Exclusivity on the surface may seem like a tactic that limits potential sales but it is in fact a marketing technique that is tried and true, especially amongst millennials. Amanda E. Johnson is the CMO for HIDE, a makeup company focused on concealer and foundation. She is of the belief that creating the fear of missing out will bring popularity.
“FOMO, or the fear of missing out, continues to appear across all industries as it has proven to be effective. By making a finite amount of products available to consumers you’re effectively increasing the demand and amount of conversation around the product. Millennials appreciate unique experiences and products and the introduction of FOMO only heightens this.”
Benjamin Smith is the founder of Disco, a health and wellness brand dedicated to male skincare products. He suggests increasing customer interaction and trust by employing loyalty programs to utilize customer brand cooperation.
“Many consumers are creatures of habit. They enjoy the same brands and products because of the familiarity offered. Loyalty programs that offer discounts, free products, cash back or free shipping create a symbiotic relationship. The brand gains repeated business while the consumer’s dollar goes further than it would elsewhere. It’s a win-win for all parties.”
Making millennials love your brand requires creativity and innovation as they think and spend differently than past generations. However, it is a worthwhile endeavor as they will continue to command a large amount of spending power. As with all marketing, paying attention to habits and behavior in an effort to understand is necessary. Joei Chan, the head of content and Linkfluence, said as much, “There are a lot of opportunities that you can discover by listening closely to what your customers are saying.”