We’ve all been inundated with news and projections about millennials over the past several years. (Does the word make you cringe just a little? That’s OK.) While it might be tempting to continue on with business strategies that have worked up until now, this group is breaking the mold. And winning them over is becoming essential to most businesses. Here are the top five rules for tapping into the millennial market.
First, who are millennials?
Millennials, people born between 1980 and 2000, have replaced Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest generation. That means, with few exceptions, millennials represent the biggest opportunity for you to grow and maintain your business.
Rule 1: Business as usual won’t work with this crew
Millennials are changing the way we do business. They are influencing the way others think about and engage with brands, and ultimately which brands rocket to the top or sink to the bottom. (Picture two products online, side-by-side; one with five stars and 100 reviews, and one without any. You know which gets added to the cart.) In fact, “influencer” is an actual job title today. Regardless of whether or not you deem their opinions accurate or fair, millennials have the ability to utilize social media and review sites in order to spread those opinions far and fast.
Rule 2: They want to feel the wind in their hair
You used to be able to market your local business with a great image, a memorable slogan, benefits that spoke to your target market. These tactics don’t land with millennials. They don’t want to feel like anyone’s target. They’re not listening to radio spots or buying based on billboards or direct mail. They flock to brands and marketing that connect with them personally and harness a sense of adventure. How? Through authentic content.
Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat… these are all places where prospective millennial customers are actively consuming and sharing content. Savvy businesses are joining the conversation, posting memorable stories, news, photos and videos that make millennials go “yeah!.” Toms is one of those savvy businesses. Notice how each one of their Instagram images feels like it’s posted by a friend who’s constantly doing something you wish you were doing.
Rule 3: They want to get to know you
Millennials have come up in the age of social media. It’s all they know. With texting, chatting, and posting replacing phone calls as their preferred method of communication, millennials favor the businesses that respond in kind. Bonus points if you speak to millennials in an authentic way. You can drop most formalities in favor of being friendly and accessible. Joining millennials where they like to connect with friends and families makes your business feel more like another friend — as long as you represent yourself that way.
What else can help you reach the millennial set in a more authentic way? Pictures and profiles of real people who work with you, living life; lowercase letters to start a sentence when it feels right; emoji in place of more traditional punctuation (when appropriate).
Rule 4: They make the most of a 24-hour day
Speaking of accessibility, companies like Intercom have quickly mounted mighty businesses bringing support into the modern era and speaking fluently to millennials. Why? Because millennials are armed with their mobile devices 24/7 and have no qualms about hopping to another business if you’re not quickly responsive to their needs. Modern support platforms allow you to chat from your mobile device or from home when you need to, and put out something more helpful than a voicemail message when you’re not available.
Rule 5: They appreciate customization
Customization has taken marketing by storm. Millennials don’t want to be thought of as just another customer. With the ability to capture key information such as your prospective customer’s name, job, likes, affiliations and hobbies, you can increase your chances of reaching them and turning them into future customers. If you’re sending them any form of communication and have their name in your database, they’ll expect a “Hi” or “Hey First Name.” Don’t miss an opportunity to get off on the right foot.