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Some call them “the most technologically sophisticated generation in history.” Critics endearingly call them Special Snowflakes. Still, others seem to prefer Golden Unicorns. By whichever nickname you prefer to call them, one thing is certain: reaching out to millennials takes a great amount of research and intentionality.
Studies show that millennials make up the largest percentage of Americans today (there are even more of us than Baby Boomers!). This large generation grew up during the age of globalization, witnessing broadband overtaking dial up, flip phones devoured by touchscreen technology, and video calls becoming another commonplace standard. So, how do you get ahead of the generation that constantly competes to outdo previous cohorts in technological/artistic/social advancements?
It starts by engaging the culture. Every generation is either a reaction or a response to the previous cohorts before, and not one generation is any different from another in this respect. Seeing Gen Y on this level will help you to quickly learn what they are against and what they are for. These values define the very backbone of their culture.
What are they for?
- Self-Fulfillment – Having been taught by their Baby Boomer parents that they could achieve anything they set their minds to, many millennials have developed larger-than-life expectations for themselves and the things they can accomplish. Knowing this, your company can advertise products and services that assist your targeted audience in attaining a more fulfilling lifestyle.
- Making a Difference – A study by the Nonprofit Hub reports that 74% of millennial leaders believe they can make a difference in the world. They are eager to leave a positive mark, and you can help fuel their humanitarian fervors by creating marketing campaigns that give back to the community or raise awareness for certain illnesses. This is a win-win strategy because you will capture the interest of your target audience while positively changing the world at the same time!
- Self-Marketing – With the skyrocketing rise of social media, it’s only natural that the generation who is most acquainted with it would adopt its self-marketing plea. Millennials have grown up learning how to market themselves on Xanga, Myspace, and now Facebook and a ton of other social networks. Integrating self-marketing opportunities into your social media campaigns will catch fire amongst young adults because it’ll give them yet another opportunity to mold their online image. Rather than trying to get millennials to promote your products directly, find ways to fit your narrative into their stories.
- Convenience – From instant access to price comparisons, one-click purchases and super apps, it’s no wonder why millennials refuse to settle for anything less than immediate convenience. The culture of instant gratification is definitely alluring. It also pushes companies to invent better technology and to constantly think outside the box. With an audience that values convenience so much, it gives your business the chance to rise above the rest by providing the quickest and simplest solutions to common problems.
- New Ideas – VP of Marketing at Dovetail Software, Rayanne Thorn, explained, “They [millennials] like to adapt and adopt, they have grown up with technology. Engage with them appropriately and organizations will reap the rewards…” New, creative ideas that defy previous ‘templates’ are what strikes this audience as fascinating. Don’t be afraid to tap into marketing strategies that haven’t been used before to sell your new ideas to millennials. Like the author of Liquid Leadership says, “They want to find the best way to get something accomplished, and are not willing to blindly accept the way others did things in the past.” If that’s how your target audience thinks, then engaging with them in this way will be the most effective marketing strategy.
When it comes to reaching out to the next generation, all it ultimately takes is a willingness to embrace their cultural mindset. Rather than antagonizing the youth and demonizing modern technology, we should invent creative ways to bring out the best in both. Whilst it may seem daunting, millennials are finding an easy way to learn computer programming. Millennials are an awesome group of self-made marketers, but they still need guidance and support from their previous cohorts. So, our best advice to businesses that want to reach out to Millennials would be to study their general likes and dislikes, come up with an irresistible offer based on their passions, and then pitch it in a way that taps into their desire to make a difference. We wish you all the best!