There’s a new challenge in marketing today – the Millennials. This may seem a significantly B2C issue and not really our home turf, but Millennials are all grown up now with real jobs in companies that you probably want to be talking to. In other words, you have to reconsider how you’re talking to these “kids”. In this post I'll discuss how to deal with the millennial marketing challenge.
First things first, what is a millennial? There are a couple of definitions but most people go for something along the lines of, “A person born between 1980 – 1995”, meaning that a millennial would be able to remember the 90’s...or at least the Saturday morning cartoons from the ‘90s. Millennials have lived through 2 gulf wars, the conflict over the Falkland Islands, the conflict in the Balkans, the fall of communism, the rise of the EU, 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention the huge technological leaps forward, the advancement of the Internet and the World Wide Web. We remember the old clunky dial up modems and AOL, are at home with smartphones, and in fact (according to a IPG agency Initiative report) at least 46% of us feel uncomfortable when we can’t connect to the Internet. The millennial drug of choice is the smart phone or tablet with a 44% addiction rate.
One rule then seems obvious – social media is a must. Any business, company, or enterprise wishing to get the attention of anyone between the ages of 20 and 30 MUST have a social media presence or have their marketing attempts wither pitifully. Remember – the marketing managers, sales reps, and developers at the companies you’re reaching out to probably fall in the millennial age range. You should be targeting users on at the least the top 3 platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) and be aware of social media platforms specific to your industry such as GitHub.
Social media is a mobile thing. If your content, website, or landing page is not optimized for mobile – pack your bags and go home. Nothing is more frustrating than a clunky website or app that doesn’t function properly or looks clumsy on a commute to or from the office (Keep in mind that most millennials will probably consume your content during commuter hours).
When I discussed this blog with a fellow 20-something, we discussed PPC and PPA driven marketing and we both agreed that neither of us – and it turns out the majority of millennials in a B2B context – click banners or popups anymore, not unless we want to charge the company money. So please don’t survey us! You can’t skip the funnel. If I’m looking for a service provider, I will spend a lot of time getting to know the service as well as the person I’m going to pay to implement it for me. In fact, more than 60% of the buying process today is spent in self-education... millennials are not reaching out to sales till they’re good and ready to so don’t bug ‘em – you’ll just drive them away.
Keeping in mind this trend of self-education, millennials are very much driven by Google. To market to them you need to make sure the “education” or “nurture” stage of your marketing is sufficiently robust to attract and hold the attention of your millennial audience. Your content should be pragmatic, straightforward, and down to earth, but every now and again you can throw a funny cat video blog to prove you’re human. Remember all the information about your company is only one Google search away so make sure it's good.
Show off your social/ethical/green credentials. If I have a choice of hiring a service provider or buying a solution or product from someone who charges the same price as everyone else but also helps child cancer patients and recycles, then that’s the guy I’m going with. We voluntarily buy energy saving bulbs and it’s no coincidence that hipsters started reusing coffee jars to store rice. Millennials are socially conscious, and care about the global village they grew up in. Conflicts from around the world have been on our screens for the majority of our lives and we care about them. We may be economically pragmatic but we’re socially driven.
We like controversy – think of the most current divisive issue in your industry and put yourself there. Address the pink elephant in the room and state your position. Even if half of your audience doesn’t agree with you, they’ll have a conversation with you about it and will respect you for being up to date and unafraid to be “disruptive”.
If you don’t already employ Millennials then you should. Not only will we help you understand your market, but C-levels in the company you’re targeting are probably our college roommates. Millennials aren’t your future market…they’re who you should be speaking with today.
Not sure if you’re doing all you can to reach the millennial crowd?