Baby Boomers. Generation X. Generation Y. Millennials. These labels describe different generations of people and the characteristics that define them. We may understand well who the Baby Boomers or the members of Generation X are. But it’s critical that companies answer the question, Who are Millennials?
We’ve had a harder determining the answer for that for Generation Y/ Millennials. This is because they’re the targets of modern marketing campaigns, if they don’t create them. Otherwise, these companies leave money on the table by forcing Millennials to go elsewhere to get their needs met.
Who are Millennials?
The simplest answer to who are Millennials is to say that they are the generation of people born after Generation X. However, they have some defining characteristics that separate them from the generation before them. It’s vital to understand these characteristics because they determine how Millennials respond to marketing campaigns.
- Their generation started in 1980 or so and spanned to the year 2000. They’re also called Digital Natives, Generation Me, Generation Rent, and Echo Boomers, according to Lucky Attitude.
- This generation is the largest and best educated in history. They understand technology in a way that many before them don’t. This is because they are digital natives.
- Additionally, they are conscious in how they spend their money and their time. They give to good causes and participate in society, civics, and government. Millennials have also been called the cheapest generation, according to The Atlantic.
However, this is slightly misleading. They do spend money. They just don’t always spend on the items that generations past have like cars and homes. Therefore, trying to sell to them in the traditional sense may prove useless.
Who Markets to Millennials?
Any company in theory can market to this generation. However, some products may not appeal to Millennials in the same way that they appealed to other generation. Any marketing campaign that wants to reach this generation must ask, who are Millennials? and what are they buying?
For example, the Atlantic article points out that many Millennials aren’t buying cars in the same numbers that their parents did. Owning – emphasis on the word owning – a vehicle isn’t important to them. However, having a vehicle or more specifically, having access to a vehicle is. To meet this demand, rental car companies like ZipCar and Enterprise Carshare allow people to borrow or rent the cars in their car share fleets for a couple of hours. There’s no need to own these vehicles. The people borrowing them use the car only for as long as they need it. Then, they return it to its rental spot.
In this respect, it’s important for a marketing department to determine if they even have a product or service that meets the needs of this generation. If they don’t, it’s likely that any marketing campaign that they come up with will fall flat.
Ways in Which Marketing to Millennials Can Help Your Business
Marketing departments who create the plans for selling to millennials can set up a who are Millennials marketing campaign, even if it’s only a company-wide internal one. This provides the necessary focus to keep the marketing campaign on track and profitable in the long run.
- You are informed: Marketers who want to appeal to Millennials need to answer the question who are Millennials? These companies will really understand what makes Millennials tick if they want their marketing campaigns to be successful. So you will get to have a close look at this audience and how your product fits their needs.
- You don’t just sell any more: It’s helpful to keep in mind that the sharing economy is a big thing for Generation Y. They will often pay for access to goods like cars and homes rather than for ownership.
- You boost your online content: Successful marketing campaigns will feature good, solid content that is mobile-friendly. The content should also be SEO-friendly and sharable (for social media.)
3 Tips for Addressing Generation Y Efficiently
1. Go from Mobile to Online
A successful marketing campaign for this generation probably starts with online content that can be accessed via mobile phones. According to HubSpot, Millennials spend up to 25 hours a week online. They don’t mind sharing content, even marketing content, if it solves a problem for them.
That being the case, they don’t need to be tricked into buying something. Companies should tell them about the features and benefits of their product. They should also help them understand why the product will benefit them.
2. Be in Their Niche
Millennials are also not into outbound marketing. That means that highly-targeted SEO (or search engine optimization) content is your best bet. They know what they want. They’ll come looking for it.
This line of thinking requires marketing departments to really define their niche audience. Otherwise, the company will not know what Millennials are looking to buy. A good starting point for this is for marketing professionals to find out:
- Who are Millennials interested in helping?
- What drives their passions?
Because this generation is so civic and globally minded, determining this is very important.
3. Reorganize Your Products
Finally, keep in mind that this generation may want services more than products. Think back to the car share example. Many of the people in Generation Y can’t afford to own cars or homes. So they pay for access to these items rather than ownership.
Again, it’s not that Millennials don’t need cars or homes. They just don’t need to own them. The successful company will, therefore, develop new products and programs that speak to this need.
To Marketing 2.0
Marketing to Millennials requires a change of mindset in many ways. Millennials are social engaged, conscious consumers. They also faced financial challenges due to the Great Recession that have made them re-evaluate how they spend money. To counter this, companies who want to share in the same financial results will likely see profit if they follow this model and develop services that grant Millennials access over ownership to products that they need.
Have you ever asked yourself, who are Millennials? and how do we market to them? Leave your comments below.
The images are from depositphotos.com.