“Think different.” When Apple unleashed those two words, the marketing campaign took on a life of its own and was tremendously successful. It was the beginning of a re-emergence for the then-struggling company. Around the same time the slogan was released, the generation known as “Millennials” would come to age as we ushered in the new millennium. And the slogan is fitting. Millennials can be seen as the group that thinks different. Many wonder how to market to this “complex group.” But in reality, they aren’t all that complex.
They are regularly regarded as indifferent, lazy, too out-of-the-box, too reliant on social media and just too different. But all of that isn’t necessarily true and reaching them is not as daunting as it may seem. So, who are they? Let’s start with their age: Millennials are defined as those ages 18-34 in 2015. But don’t be fooled. Despite their youth, they are wise beyond their years, according to a Pew study. In fact, at their pace, they will become the most “educated generation in American history.”
To the point that jobs were less available during the Great Recession, millennials remained optimistic and upbeat about their employment prospects and the direction of the country. The entrepreneurial spirit of Steve Jobs, the man who brought us Apple, also has been etched into the mentality of millennials as they have a deep passion for meaning in their work. Often, this passion is misconstrued as laziness or ungratefulness. They may just be the most hard-working generation to date, however, just in a different way. Their ability to interact on social media empowers this so-called “selfie generation” to have a say in the news cycle. They are the ones who find music talents by overwhelming YouTube pages; they are the movers of movements on social media and their shares and likes can dictate what’s first on the evening news. Their diversity in age, background, scope of their perspectives, their perseverance, education and power makes this group accessible, believe it or not.
You just have to think different.
Some may be reluctant to take in traditional marketing (they may prefer asking their friends on Facebook about a product.) And, remember, they are a resourceful bunch, quick to take advantage of all the options in front of them. Here are four things to consider when launching a marketing campaign geared toward millennials.
They are diverse
There may be different strategies to targeting this group, but a successful campaign must not assume they are alike. What works for one subgroup may not work with the other. That is why companies should diversify how they’re reaching their audiences through various platforms (social media, email, content, ads, etc.) while also engaging in hyper-relevant target marketing.
What makes a millennial tick
Some may consider their propensity to post selfies as narcissistic, but it may be better described as a way of self-expression. Also consider the climate: The sheer number of social media platforms allow them to do a whole lot of posting. When marketing to them think about what your brand allows consumers to say about themselves. Like Apple, how can your product allow millennials to express themselves and immediately say something about them with your product? Sometimes, it’s just a matter of saying that your product is “green,” since that equation fits within the set of millennial core values.
Remember, millennials are the first generation to have grown up with the Internet and may not know what life is like without their smartphones and Instagram. They tweet a complaint, but may also follow that up with a phone call. Therefore, it is important to keep up and be multi-channel. Think desktop, smartphone, Twitter, and ensure that each platform promotes an environment that gives the user a seamless experience regardless of platform. That’s what millennials expect as they jump from laptop, to desktop to smartphone. Bottom line: your marketing efforts must be able to be effective and look great no matter the platform, and should be easily shareable on social sites and in email.
Millennials trust each other and pay close attention to other people’s opinions and recommendations. This is where social media, and even blogs, play a large role in your marketing strategy. Some 85 percent of millennials will trust others when seeking product recommendations and about 33 percent rely on blogs before making a final decision on products. Having a strong social media presence to showcase your product or services will boost the likelihood of user-generated buzz, which millennials love and trust. One step in getting more notice is to reward positive reviews by showing them off on your website and social media pages. But above all else, the best strategy is to be open to new ideas and accept millennials for who they are. Or in other words, think different.