Published: 06 October 2017
Millennials are one of the most talked about generation in the marketing industry, and due to their large influence, they are shaping the way that brands strategize and behave. But why is this generation so important that they are shaping current and future business? Well, the millennial generation is the largest generation since the Baby Boom. They consist of approximately 80 million people, and by 2018, millennials will account for $3.39 trillion in spending annually. Millennials are also gaining power in the labour market, by 2025 it’s estimated that ¾ people in any workplace will be a millennial. This generation has also got the highest percentage of WOM marketing, electing to share feedback about a product or service both online and offline. This is one of the many reasons why understanding how to reach the millennial generation is critical in today’s market, which will enhance any organisation’s brand and integrated marketing communications strategies. But in order to achieve this it is important to understand who they are, how they behave and what they want.
The Millennial generation is typically defined as individuals born between 1980 and 2000 who have been raised as a digital generation defined by sharing, collaboration and community. They are individuals that take pride in creating and being part of something cool, this is why they truly believe in individual expression combined with the collaborative concept. This is a more technologically advanced generation than any previous one, more educated (over 65% obtaining a bachelor degree) and the most racially and ethnically diverse, making it a challenge for many businesses wanting to target them. This is also a generation that truly values entrepreneurship as well as creative and innovative ideas as over 54% have either started a company or want to start one. When looking into the interaction of millennials with companies, they usually take action on behalf of brands based on loyalty giving significant brand loyalty to brand and product of choice. However, millennials could also bring problems to businesses as they have a strong predisposition to support social and environmental causes, the reason why they only purchase and support companies with environmentally and socially responsive products. But when it comes to marketing for the Millennials, conventional media is of no use, only 17% say that they bought something because of a TV ad, however, over 65% follow their favourite brands on social media.
When building a strategy aiming to Millennials, one very important thing to consider is “What do they really want?”. This outstanding generation really want innovation, they want to feel like they are part of a community and they want to see businesses follow their values. With innovation, there is an expectation that the next cool thing is right around the corner, and they want to discover it, explore it and share it. They especially love things that make their lives easier and more convenient. One thing’s assured, and that’s that the brands that get all those things right will have a customer for life. In terms of community, this generation was raised on social media, so they want to feel like they’re a vital part of a lively, desirable group, and the brands that keep this in mind, will best reach this generation. It is a great opportunity for businesses to allow the beauty of co-creation, crowdsourcing and collaboration, because at the end of the day, it is a lot easier when your customers do the work for you. And finally, one of the major consideration among Millennials, values. They will always ally themselves with companies that share their beliefs and cultural relevancies.
So which strategies and tactics should businesses follow in order to engage with Millennials?
It is an understatement to think that the brands who put aside traditional appeal will speak and attract Millennials for years to come. In order to ensure the right set of tactics and strategies are put into place, one of the best starting points, and something that would be recommended in any other target groups, is conducting a marketing research in order to drive the right set of strategies. As an example, market research was the essential driving force behind the development and launch of the Fire TV by Amazon. It was the basis that determined the product development and the marketing strategies which reached and exceeded organisational objectives.
In order to receive a strong engagement from the Millennial generation brands internal marketing communication strategies must use a dual approach: physical and digital. When following the physical approach, it is essential that companies incorporate event or experiential marketing into their marketing mix in order to offer a personal one-to-one relationship to potential customers. This might sound nonsense considering Millennials are also well known as the digital generation, however, 78% of Millennials prefer a brand experience that is relevant and gives them information. Event or experiential marketing provides the ability to create that initial conversation with the millennial consumer, nevertheless, this will only become beneficial if supported by the internet and social media.
Social Media is the most important strategy to follow in order to target Millennials. It allows a company to continue to engage this generation to gain brand awareness, stimulate trial use, repeat usage, and ultimately brand loyalty. In order to do this efficiently, the companies must consider the product and service they offer and target where this generation spends most of it’s social media time, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat. Millennials are well known for being early adopters of everything technology, and so, early adopters of new social media channels, so brands must keep track of the consumption patterns and trends in order to adapt marketing tactics and strategies to reach this generation.
Loyalty and reward programmes should also be strongly considered in order to engage with Millennials. This generation is increasingly forcing brands to become more participative by engaging when loyalty programmes are offered. According to statistics, 77% of the millennial generation reported participating in loyalty and reward programs while 78% reported to being more likely to buy from a brand with a rewards program than one without.
Finally, and something which is a deal breaker for Millennials when engaging with brands, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). 75% of Millennials donate to charity and 60% volunteer for a worthy cause, reason why this is something that they are very passionate and critical about. This generation, with its demonstration of purchasing power and brand support only to companies that are environmentally conscious, has caused a complete shift in today’s business. Brands are increasingly integrating sustainable practices into the core of their business strategy by using integrated marketing communication approaches, and this is becoming more of a “must” than a “should”. Getting the right set of marketing strategies together provides a core element in business strategy to promote a company as an ethical brand with a genuine concern and passion for social issues and the environment, and so, securing Millennial engagement.
The future of Millennial engagement?
As mentioned earlier on, Millennials are early adopters of innovative technology and new social media channels. For this reason, businesses must keep up to date on the latest social and technological trends to ensure businesses are present and ahead of competitors in engagement. Here at Why Media, researching and understanding new trends and social patterns is highly important. When it comes to Millennials, certain patterns can already be seen on what they enjoy, what they engage with and what they want to see. There are three key trends to keep a close eye on: video content, live streaming and GIFs & Memes.
The raise of video content is undeniable and statistics are a great proof of the power of it. Consumer video and downloads will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2020, and when it comes to Millennials, the generation are now watching more video content on YouTube and other streaming platforms than they are on TV. The power is certainly online, and specifically, on social platforms. Currently, Facebook is serving close to 8 billion daily video views, almost outperforming YouTube, and 75% of advertisers stated that online videos are equally or more effective than traditional TV ads. This creates a great opportunity, especially for SMEs, as online advertising is relatively inexpensive when the right team of experts strategise and execute them. Video also gives a great chance for businesses to give out information in an engaging, easy and cheap way, and according to statistics, 84% of Millennials believe that user-generated content is a good indication of a brand’s quality level.
Live streaming is also becoming an increasing trend and is exploding in popularity among Millennials. If online video is growing fast, live streaming is for certain growing faster. The Millennial generation is a generation that want to see authenticity and transparency, and live streaming gives brands the tools to give this generation what they want. On Periscope, Twitter’s live video service, 200 million live streams were created on the platforms first 12 months and approximately 110 years of live video is watched on the platform every day. On Facebook, people spend three times longer watching a live video compared to a recorded one. In order to succeed among Millennials, brands must take advantage of this trend by showing behind the scenes content with an unfiltered look at the company while building a strong relationship with viewers.
Finally, one of the biggest trend currently and for the time coming, GIF’s and memes. From big publications to corporate businesses, everyone is using GIFs and memes to reach out to Millennials. According to the New York Times, over 5 million GIFs are shared through Facebook Messenger every day. The popularity of these humour pieces don’t come as a surprise as they are easy to create, their nature attracts all audiences and they usually reference some existing media which is already popular. Brands who are able to use them in the most creative ways will for certain be ahead of competitors.
If your business is looking to target specific groups, such as Millennials, then send an email to email@example.com and will will help you achieve all your digital goals!
Why Media is an award-winning design, marketing, digital communications and PR agency offering tailored solutions to companies on a global scale. We have extensive experience in delivering design and marketing services to a spectrum of companies including professional services, property companies, financial institutions and shopping centres. We have offices in London UK, Hertford UK, Finestrat ES & Brescia IT.