Millennial marketing may mean a change in strategy to reach the tech savvy demographic segment and influence them to purchase your product

Small businesses in the digital age often run into marketing challenges, particularly when it comes to targeting Millennials.

In spite of what some see as their many, many faults, Millennials represent huge opportunities for marketers; they’re a driving force behind e-commerce, and while they may prefer convenience over almost anything else, they’re changing the way society spends money. That’s no surprise, seeing as they’ve now overtaken Baby Boomers as the biggest generation, numbering 75.4 million in all.

Here’s the bottom line: If you can’t reach these consumers, your business will suffer as a result.

But don’t give up. Marketing to Millennials may require a change in perception and tactic, but it can be done.



Ditch The Pitch

Millennials are extremely savvy in that they can smell an advertisement from miles away. They’ve grown up hearing slick pitches and they aren’t willing to fall victim to them as they grow older.

In fact, a recent Pew study found that Millennials are a lot more skeptical than previous generations and hold a lower degree of trust in various institutions than those who came before them. Only 19% of Millennials actually trust each other (compared with 40% of Baby Boomers who feel others are trustworthy), and only 6% of Millennials say they have a “great deal of trust” in big business.

Fortunately, Millennials view small businesses as the most trustworthy of the bunch: 30% have a “great deal of trust” in SMBs and 38% have “quite a lot of trust” in SMBs.

If you want to market your services or products to Millennials, you need to do so with integrity. They won’t react well to older styles of marketing.

You need to tell instead of sell. If they understand how your products can actually help them or a solve a common problem, they’ll be way more likely to investigate further.

Another way you can solidify your position as a virtuous company? Make sure your site has honest online reviews. Around 93% of Millennials say they use online reviews when making purchase decisions and 97% say they trust those reviews.

Get Social

Of all the generations, Millennials rely the most on technology. Their very modus operandi is defined by digital means. So there’s a good reason why 93% of job recruiters now look at a candidate’s social media profile during the vetting process: young professionals are incredibly active on these types of platforms and they can provide a more complete idea of what an individual is like before bringing them in.

Small businesses can use this information to their advantage, too. These channels can give valuable information about your target demographic and how they interact with friends, strangers, and other brands. For your business, being active on social media is an absolute must.

You need to be where your customers are and communicate with them in a means that is simple and preferable for them. You’ll need to invest in your social media efforts (yes, that means making it a real part of your marketing budget) and interact with customers. You’ll need to answer questions, respond to concerns, and drive traffic to your site in a way that doesn’t read as disingenuous or out of touch.

That said, experts warn businesses shouldn’t put all of their efforts into social media without having a real strategy to go along with it. Rohit Sharma, founder and chief executive of Pokkt (which is an app that offers mobile video advertising and a monetization program for game developers), told The Drum, “It is akin to tunnel vision, or with blinkers on — you end up overlooking other channels that could deliver greater reach, engagement… which ultimately [drives] the bottom line.”

So even though social media is a necessity, that doesn’t mean you should abandon other techniques or go into it blind. Do your research or hire a social media manager or strategist if the entire concept totally escapes you.

Make And Maintain Personal Connections

As we mentioned, social media can provide the ideal opportunity to make a connection with your target audience. In today’s world, this is what leads to brand loyalty. While Millennials won’t have blind brand loyalty, they will actively make the decision to keep coming back if they have positive experiences every time.

These days, approximately four out of five consumers use their smartphones to shop, so creating and reinforcing that personal connection holds huge potential. That means you’ll need to focus on areas like customer service and overall quality control, of course, but it also means that your marketing must continue to make a positive impression and a real connection with your customers. In such a saturated marketplace, every experience needs to be fulfilling; otherwise, they will decide to look elsewhere.

Most consumers won’t be as inclined to write a review when they’ve had a great experience as they will be when their experience has been quite poor. Put in the effort to provide an experience that exceeds their expectations. They may write a great review or recommend you to their friends as a result.

Referral and loyalty programs can go a long way as well, as can emphasizing the small business angle. In a world where a lot of Millennials are supporting independent brands and urging others to “shop small,” you can use this to your advantage.

Polish Your Presentation

Psychologists and educators have found that informational retention after an event is six times greater when both visual and oral means are used to present the information, compared to information presented just by spoken word alone.

This concept is certainly proven with Millennials, who expect to see visual and audio means used to market your products or services. You need to think outside of the box if you expect to get anywhere with these consumers; bad stock images or poor quality photos won’t cut it, and colossal blocks of text or boring videos will make them run the other way.

Make sure your images are outstanding, that your videos look completely professional, and that you’re using versatility in your media. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune, but it should look attractive and thoughtful. It’s actually never been easier to ensure your presentation stands out for the right reason, given all of the tools that are readily available for your use.

Don’t be afraid to embrace live video streams on Facebook or Instagram for exciting announcements. Above all else, create original content and make everything you post tie in to your branding and the message you really want to send.

Marketing in the digital age takes a lot of savvy and creativity, especially when you’re trying to reach an audience that was reared on technology. But by switching up your approach and by embracing these main points, you have the potential to make a real impact on this elusive generation.



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Valerie M.

Valerie M. is a writer from Upstate New York. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from The State University of New York at Fredonia in 2016 and is currently working at a digital marketing agency where she writes blog posts for a variety of small businesses all over the country. Valerie enjoys writing about music, animals, nature, and traveling.

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