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How to Market to Millennials Without Trying Too Hard

by | Dec 9, 2013 | Content Marketing | 0 comments


What does the term “millennial” conjure up? For most, it’s texting, Facebook, upscale coffeehouses and joblessness. But late ‘80s to 2000 babies are much more, especially considering they make up a target market group much more active than baby boomers.

These kids and now young adults are tech-ready and are getting jobs by the day. From a business perspective, this group represents major earning potential. Marketing to them, however, seems to be more of a challenge than it actually is. Here are a few tips for upping your millennial game and things you should know about them or, for some readers, us.

“We know more than you think.”

Millennials do more than pin cat pictures and watch Harlem Shake videos. They are the most informed marketing group ever and are the ones who read and write reviews, research products, and know things you didn’t think they did.

Though it’s a copout when millennials use Siri to win trivia board games, having Google and surfing knowledge positions this group well above anyone else. They use their phones and browsers to learn everything about products and companies on the Internet. Why? Because the generation was largely misinformed, drowned by false advertising, and doesn’t fall for infomercials and doubletalk marketing.

In response, your business or online marketing needs to be Web-ready, present, and highly attractive. One concern is “appealing to the younger crowd,” though there’s no reason to consider millennials as young. They like trends, edgy videos, and pictures; you can throw out your 20th century marketing playbook because it won’t work.

Want to know how to market to the Web generation? Figure out what they love, apply the formula to your own business, and stand out from the billion other Internet users doing what you’re doing.

“We don’t mind online marketing pitches, sometimes.”

Every company’s dream is to make a YouTube video that hits a million views. These disguised commercials make watchers laugh, cry, and share above all else. Millennials, though, recognize what a video or trendy post’s purpose is the second they see a brand affiliated with it or a business URL. While these flavor-of-the-month campaigns are effective, few actually turn into actual sales or page visits.

Instead of disguising your marketing, make sure your posts, promotions, and other strategies are open and obvious. This is where you need to consider separating your content and social media into two different categories; one is promotional and sales-inclined, while the other is more fit for generating buzz, likes, and shares.

  • Marketing: You’re already familiar with the first strategy, and millennials are, too. Keep your press release, brand-talking assets on websites. Don’t encourage a “Do not show on newsfeed” decision from a fan by taking up social media space. Millennials are quick to judge and are only a click away from hiding you.
  • Intriguing: Millennials are also curious. You need to develop pitches that direct their short attention spans to your websites, products, and other assets; once they’re there, you can start laying out the facts and prices.

“We have more social media kung fu than you.”

While millennials didn’t necessarily build or mature the Internet, they defined it. What the Web is used for is largely directed by the age group that uses it the most. And they know it, too.

They’re quick to share and follow but just as swift when it comes to disregarding a post or picture. Struggling to generate any traction from blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts? The odds are you’re writing for the wrong audience or trying too hard.

Millennials appreciate conversational marketing. So instead of trying to create something “viral” (which usually happens by accident), make a post that is open for conversation and honest.

When it comes to social media as a whole, millennials are talking about YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and other platforms. They visit pages based on recommendations, searches, or by linking in through a website. You know what makes millennials instantly turned off to a company? When they show up at a site and it is barren, outdated, and tacky.

Keep your social media invigorated with scheduled posting. Understand that it is a balance, too, and putting too much effort into Twitter can lead you to forget about your other assets. Consider sticking with the platforms that actually yield results and keep track of what works.

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