6 Proven Ways to Reach Millennials with Your Marketing

Kayla Matthews
Guest Contributor

With millennials - or any other shopper generation you're trying to reach - make your experience a personal one by knowing who they are and what they enjoy, and tailor your marketing messages and media with that in mind.

The millennial generation is now squarely in adulthood, with a wide reach and significant buying power. It is difficult to pinpoint what drives this segment of the market because everyone in it is so unique, though — which makes effectively reaching and engaging them a challenge.

Each person has interests different than the other. One 20-something may be conservative while another might be liberal. Millennials are also generally tech-savvy, but they also remember a time when smartphones didn’t drive the world.

Pew Research Center predicts millennials will outnumber baby boomers this year as the largest living adult generation in the United States, with 73 million people. If you aren’t already marketing to them, you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers. Luckily, there are some proven ways to conduct millennial marketing without alienating them as individuals.

1. Offer Practical Solutions

Remember that millennials have seen technology expand as they’ve grown up. They remember getting their first cellphone, typing endlessly to send a few words via text and seeing tech companies such as MySpace rise and fall.

Because of this, they like technology and what it offers, but they aren’t tied to any particular brand, service or device. They look for the most functional options for the best price. If you want to snag the millennial market, think about how your product or service makes their lives easier and offer them a great deal to try it out.

2. Create Videos

There are 100 million hours of video watched on Facebook daily and another 10 billion viewed on Snapchat.

If you aren’t using videos to reach millennials or any target audience on social media, you are truly missing out on a growing trend. Videos allow you to tell a story with images rather than words, which tend to resonate with people. You can get your point across much more quickly and effectively via a video than almost any other format.

3. Be Mobile Responsive

A recent survey of 1,002 consumers between the ages of 22 and 37 found they make 60 percent of their purchases online, with 36 percent of those going through mobile devices.

If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re going to miss out on important opportunities to market to millennials and close the sale. Some experts believe your website should be created as mobile-first, as more people use their smartphones exclusively to get on the internet and have all but abandoned traditional PCs.

4. Add a Loyalty Program

In a study by Blackhawk Network, researchers asked 1,500 adults, with about 645 millennials in the mix, about loyalty programs. Almost overwhelmingly, millennials responded favorably to the idea of loyalty programs.

About 69 percent of them belong to a loyalty program at their favorite retailer, and 70 percent of those who belong are satisfied with them. Think about the types of products your millennial customers buy and how you can reward them for their continued patronage.

5. Present Bargains

Be on the lookout for good deals you can pass on to your millennial customers, whether it means buying in bulk or offseason. The average millennial makes about $35,000 per year but has around $40,000 in student debt. They have put off getting married and having families, and they are very budget-conscious.

First and foremost, they love a great bargain. They don’t necessarily want limited-time discounts, but to know they can count on you to offer them fair pricing every day.

6. Sell an Experience

Millennials are all about experiencing life and not putting off for tomorrow what you can enjoy today – at least as the budget allows. Tap into their love of experience and explain how your product or service makes life more interesting and fulfilling. Show other customers having fun with your business. Host a contest they can get involved in by posting photos of themselves using your product on social media.

Toms shoes offers this type of marketing with its annual One Day Without Shoes initiative. It challenges people to post photos of their bare feet and use the hashtag #withoutshoes.

Every tagged photo helps buy shoes for children in countries where they don’t typically have footwear. As part of the campaign, Toms teams up with socially conscious influencers, and the results are staggering, hundreds of thousands of donated shoes and hundreds of millions social media impressions. 

Get Personal

No matter what generation you’re trying to reach with your marketing efforts, make the experience a personal one. Know who your customers are and what they enjoy. Keep them in mind as you create content and advertising campaigns, and reach out to them online and offline.

The more personalized the experience you offer, the more likely your target market will remain loyal to your brand and tell others about what you have to offer.

That’s the kind of retail marketing that can give you an edge.

About the writer: Kayla Matthews is a technology journalist and retail tech writer covering big data, AI and real-time monitoring in the retail industry. To read more posts from Kayla, visit her blog, Productivity Bytes. Follower her on Twitter @KaylaEMatthews.

Join the #retail, #SmartStore & #ConnectedJourney conversations on Twitter @RetailNext, as well as at www.facebook.com/retailnext.