Here’s a profile brands drool over; the group of 18 to 37 year olds and their trillion dollar plus spending power, otherwise known as the Millenials. The largest and most influential buying group since the Baby Boomers, Millenials are continually changing the face of marketing. For brands, it’s tough to ignore their allure and influence, but they are a fickle bunch. If you don’t have exactly what they’re looking for, when they want it, they’ll skip right over you. So how can you attract them and better yet, turn them into long term customers?
To reach this influential group think two words – relationship and community. Those two words sum up what it is they’re looking for from your company and brand. While they may prefer the impersonal text message instead of face to face communication, they long to have a connection with the brands they care about.
When thinking of how to build a relationship with Millenials, think of how you would form a relationship with anyone in your life; what they would want to know about you, your values as well as what they would appreciate about you. No one likes someone who is pushy, brags about how great they are and isn’t interested in what is important in your life. Be careful your messaging doesn’t take this approach as this is precisely the wrong message to send to Millenials.
Millenials can see through anything that is overly commercial or that hints of being anything less than authentic. Boasting claims about how great your product or service is? You better be able to back those claims up because Millenials are highly educated and will research your claims before deciding to purchase. If you’re not completely truthful, they’ll broadcast it on social media.
Don’t try to be something you’re not or be swayed by what your competitors do because you think you need to be like them. Millenials want to experience the real you and how your differences resonate with them. So rule number one is, be authentic. You get one chance to make a great impression, so make sure the first impression Millenials experience with your brand is a favorable and memorable one. They will want to know what’s in it for them and you need to provide it.
Millenials are fans of online shopping, due in no small part to being the first generation to grow up with technology. They are heavy users of mobile devices to shop, research prices and get recommendations from their friends. They’ll pay for quality but would much prefer to get quality at a good deal and if you offer free shipping, even better.
If you haven’t updated your website, what are you waiting for? That circa 2000, out of style website won’t cut it with Millenials and you’re losing customers because of it. You need to look your best, and with mobile device shopping now equaling desktop shopping, a mobile friendly website is a must have.
Your website should have a clean design, without over embellishment and be easy to navigate. Stand out from your competitors and show how your brand is the best match for their needs. Don’t forget the impression your sales staff and customer service have on your customers. They’re like your family and are a reflection of your company. Every touch point Millenials have with your brand should reinforce the positive feelings and message they get when they interact with you.
Your values are very important in any relationship and this goes for relating with Millenials as well. They want to be valued as an individual and not one of many. Hence, they can be skeptical of big box retailers, instead preferring smaller niche brands. They want to know that their opinions are valued by you and that you understand what their problems and needs are.
Your job is to clearly show how your product can help them and make them feel good at the same time. They want to trust you, but you have to earn it. The opinions of their friends has an influence on whether to trust your brand or not. Loyalty programs add additional value to their purchase, so it’s not just about the price but about the experience of being a part of your brand.
What is the human element of your brand? What does your brand or product stand for? Do you give back to the community, use environmentally friendly products or locally sourced goods and materials? Communicate in a language they can understand, be real and hold their hand as you listen and solve their problems.
We all want to experience a connection and feel like we matter. This is very true of the Millenial group. Think of them as many small tribes with diverse interests looking for someone to lead them. They want to be part of something and want to be heard so invite them in and listen to what they have to say. Listen in on social media and find out not only what they’re saying about your brand but what problems they need to have solved. Make them feel included by letting them co-create your brand experiences.
Listen to and respond to their feedback. You can show them you care by posting photos of them interacting with your brand and products. The goal should be to create a one-on-one or small community connection through the use of meaningful, useful and shareable experiences.
The foundation for communicating with Millenials should be based on content marketingthat is relevant, engaging, authentic and shareable through the use of customer events, social media, e-mail and blogging. It’s important to be aware of which social media platforms and devices your customers are using in order for your message to reach them at the right place at the right time. The much quoted dating phrase, “When you’re not looking you’ll find it” does not apply here.