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4 Things You Need to Know About Marketing Your Business to Millennials

By Garrett Spence   |    April 14, 2014   |    3:13 PM

Why do businesses need to use different marketing techniques to reach Millennials?
Generation Y, more commonly called Millennials, are one of the largest generations around – with an estimated group size of 86 million. Born in the mid-80s to early-90s, this group boasts plenty of consumer buying power, especially as they reach adulthood and enter the workforce. Businesses that effectively market to this demographic can grab a piece of the estimated $2.45 trillion in spending power by 2015... and that’s just in the US.

That said, marketing to Millennials is different than marketing to other groups, like Baby Boomers, because this unique group has been growing alongside online technology since childhood.

Not only are Millennials online constantly, they’re also increasingly marketing-savvy. How can a forward-thinking business win these buyers over without seeming pushy? There are a few key things to keep in mind when marketing to Millennials, and thankfully, they aren’t difficult to implement.

1. Use social media to form relationships with Millennials
This infographic from Social Media Today sums up Gen Y’s use of social media quite nicely. 70% of Millennials react to businesses and brands on social media. 54 percent of Millennials post about products, brands and businesses. In comparison, older generations only post about these things 45% of the time.

New social media platforms are constantly being created, and Millennials will be using these platforms frequently.

2. Be digital
Beyond social media, it’s vital to make sure that your business operates in the online world. Can customers make purchases online? Do you have a well designed website that is simple to navigate? Millennials are notoriously faced-paced, so are they able to find the information that they’re looking for easily? These things influence the purchasing behavior of a Millennial customer.

Millennials have grown up with the extreme convenience of online buying. In a study about millennial online shopping behavior, The Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit research group, found that 45% of respondents spent 1 or more hours per day perusing retail sites online. If your business can take advantage of this trend, it should.

3. Be authentic with your marketing to Millennials
You can’t just start a Twitter account and begin tweeting incessantly about your business. Marketing, especially to Millennials, is a conversation.

Instead of talking at this demographic, talk with them. Be entertaining and show that your brand has a human side to it. There’s nothing Millennials hate more than inauthenticity. This applies to social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, and every other form of marketing you can think of.

4. Don’t even try to disguise your marketing campaigns
Millennials know that you’re trying to market to them, and as long as your tactics aren’t slimy, they’re okay with it. Really.

Everyone loves a heart-wrenching video designed to go viral, and Millennials will definitely share that type of content. But, if you’re trying to sell something to them, just go ahead and do it by focusing on how your product or service will improve their lives. Again, being authentic will help win over this demographic.

What is the most important takeaway about marketing to Millennials?
To reach Gen Y, your business will need to be online and utilize social media, but none of that will matter if you aren’t building relationships. More than any other generation, Millennials crave relationships with the businesses they frequent. If your company can market with this in mind, you can successfully tap into this massive cohort of consumers.