Marketing to millennial consumers relies on these three brand values


It often feels like one of life’s eternal questions, even if it’s only been around for a few years. How should companies be marketing to millennial consumers?

First up, it might be best to stop calling such a huge proportion of the population ‘millennial’, because they are not all the same. However, there are some consistent trends in the habits and attitude of this age group, which have informed this post.

As with so much in life and business, to answer the question of marketing to millennial consumers you need to start at home. Before trying to reach out and pull millennial consumers in get your house in check because this demographic is particularly brutal when criticising companies.

What follows is a very brief rundown of three questions that can help anyone understand the expectations of millennial consumers a little better. Helpful for those who missed our masterclass, The Millennial Mindset, this morning here at Smoking Gun towers

Answer these right and half the battle is won…

Are you selling a product, an experience, or both?

To say the millennial consumer is disinterested in products is to commit a cardinal sin. Never lump entire age groups in with each other, especially millennials who have been shown to loathe the very idea of being part of an easy to define generation and are the largest generation in the history of generations.

Nevertheless, broadly speaking this section of society are constantly looking for new things to try, and place a high value on experiences rather than items. Just look at how much more keen they are to travel rather than invest their hard-earned cash.

For brands this poses a real challenge— you might be selling tangible, physical items or services, but in order to succeed at marketing to millennial consumers you should be thinking about how to create something experiential around that thing.

How easy is it to question authenticity?

Even the coolest brands on the planet have to fight tooth and nail to retain their authenticity. Millennial consumers have repeatedly responded negatively to blatant advertising and marketing, have a very low level of trust in business and expect the companies they do engage with to match them for ethics and morals.

This does not mean that you should set about desperately clamouring to publicise some new sustainability policy you dreamt up as a means to have something to market to millennials. Why? Well, quite simply because this is inauthentic— you only care about this because you hope it will lead to more sales.

In many ways, then, we should perhaps relabel this section ‘How honest are you?’ While we would never try and argue that a firm with a particularly damaging environmental impact should boast about the devastation they cause, because it’s the truth, always remember that the only way to approach marketing to millennial consumers is by being straight with them.

Do your ethics and corporate social responsibility stand up to scrutiny?

Millennial consumers are a generation unto themselves when it comes to ethics and corporate social responsibility. Put simply, they expect businesses to take these ideas very seriously.

Studies have shown that millennials would change who they buy from, and even reject job offers if the firm negatively impacts on society and the environment. As such it’s hugely important to consider how you affect the wider world, positively and negatively, in order to understand what your strengths and weaknesses really are in the eyes of millennial consumers.

 

Did you miss our event, The Millennial Mindset? No worries, grab a copy of this and you won’t go too far wrong…

Read our guide on marketing to Millennials