In our last issue, we covered some of the primary reasons marketers make millennials their top priority. Whether you’ve decided to make the millennial bracket your focus or not, we invite you to look at focusing your marketing efforts on “the people of today” – rather than a group of 20-somethings.

After all, there’s a lot of overlap in the way people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond communicate, so why narrow your field to just millennials? Let’s examine some commonalities among today’s buyers and determine how we can use this knowledge to reach them on a deeper level.

People Today Research Before They Buy

Millennials prefer to gather as much information as possible before making a purchase. Of course, this type of behavior doesn’t apply to just millennials. Non-impulsive shopping has been a growing trend over the past few years – 88% of consumers pre-research their buys before making a purchase either online or in-store, and 45% read reviews before making a purchase. In other words, people don’t prefer to mindlessly blow their money – they want to make wise, informed decisions and ensure they’re getting the best value for their money.

Additionally, people don’t want to go from store to store to find what they’re looking for. People these days do their research, visit one store (or website) that meets their criteria, and then they’re done! So how do you ensure your product is the final sale? Your brand needs best-in-class digital content, whether it’s on your website, social media, or a storefront like Amazon. This includes photos, videos, consumer product reviews, blog posts, SEO, and whatever relevant information you can provide (like detailed product descriptions and specifications). In short, the more information you provide, the greater your opportunity to reach your potential customer.

If you want to provide an even greater research experience, you may even want to consider options such as 360 and zoom imaging, 3D photos, and authentic consumer-generated content. You want to provide the ability to touch, feel, and experience a product…all through a computer or phone! And don’t forget about those honest consumer reviews – people truly take those to heart. What people are saying about your brand (especially on social media) makes a big impact, so be sure you are monitoring your social channels and keeping those customers happy!

Stand for Something

Let’s say you are in the market for some new sunglasses, so you decide to hit up Google (for some research, of course), and you discover thousands upon thousands of choices. How do you narrow the field down?

These days, millennials need a solid reason to buy your product. When there’s thousands of options, you need something that will make you stand out. That’s why it makes sense for your business to support a cause! Millennials need a solid reason to purchase your product – in fact, almost 50% of millennials are more willing to make a purchase from a company if the purchase supports a cause. Here are some examples of brands who have made it their mission to give back:

  • TOMS shoes donates a pair of shoes for each pair that’s purchased
  • Warby Parker glasses donates a pair of glasses for each pair that’s purchased
  • Amazon Smile makes a donation to your charity of choice when you shop at smile.amazon.com

Of course, this type of mindset doesn’t just apply to millennials. 90% of Americans say they’re more likely to trust and stay loyal to companies that try to make a difference. Just make sure you are staying far away from “cause-washing” – or the increasing occurrence of brands using marketing to claim social good when in fact, they are not.

Refocus Your Marketing Efforts

Paid advertising on search engines and social media is effective, but that doesn’t mean it settles well with the millennial crowd. In fact, only 6% of millennials consider online advertising to be credible! On the other hand, 95% of millennials say their friends are the most credible source for product information. What does this mean for you as a marketer? You can tap into the millennial market by using social proof. Here are some examples:

  • Gather case studies and testimonials to post on your website
  • Encourage reviews on sites like Facebook, Yelp, Google, Amazon, etc.
  • On that note, encourage people to tag your product in their social posts. For example, back to the sunglasses – say you place a short note in the package encouraging the customer to post a picture wearing their new sunglasses. Create a hashtag for the product and watch all of the posts pile up!
  • Follow up purchases with an email and then sharing your results.
  • Word of mouth – it’s an old tactic, but it’s tried and true for a reason! If your product or service makes a great impression, customers are bound to want to share this information with their peers.

If you’re thinking that social proof applies only to millennials, just think about it like this (assuming you’re not a millennial) – do you ever get bothered by the fact that you spend one minute researching a product, and then you’re bombarded by ads for that product across all of your search engines and social media channels for days at a time? It can definitely be effective…but it can also be a turn-off! We’re pretty confident that you would rather hear what your friends/other honest people have to say about a product before making a purchase. No matter their age, wise consumers are more likely to make purchases based on recommendations rather than ads.

In our next newsletter, we will wrap up our “Marketing to Millennials Miniseries” by taking a look at marketing your “non-millennial” business to millennials.

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- YDP