The chatter about how to market to Millennials is incessant. This cacophony of advice seems to be a panicked response to the idea that Millennials are completely enigmatic and impossible to reach. Though often backed by some form of research, the resulting tips and tricks can do more harm than good.
When it comes to Millennials, you simply can’t believe everything you hear. If your marketing efforts still aren’t reaching the coveted generation (with lots of influence and potential buying power), take a step back and consider these possible reasons why:
- You’re getting the wrong info. If you dig deeper into some of the studies of Millennials, you’ll find that their data is often based off of a relatively small population. A group of 1,000 can’t adequately represent the more than 80 million Millennials that live in the United States, nor can a focus group that provides primarily anecdotal evidence. Before you completely change your marketing plan to accommodate new findings, make sure the stats actually reflect a characteristic of the generation as a whole.
- You’re connecting the wrong dots. Say you read that Millennials rather interact with brands on Facebook instead of Twitter. That doesn’t mean that A) you don’t need to have a Twitter account or B) Millennials will interact with your brand on Facebook. It’s easy to draw big conclusions about what they do and don’t like, but marketing that’s backed by common sense is going to be a lot more effective than marketing that’s trying to chase a (possible) preference of Millennials.
- You’re searching for the wrong things. Though there are countless articles written about marketing to Millennials every day, they all seem to have one thing in common: they all search for the differences between Millennials and other people. But what good does that really do? The constant hunt for quirks and contradictions makes it seem like Millennials are some strange species of consumers, when in reality they are quite similar to other generations.
- You’re trying way too hard. Millennials aren’t dumb. They know when they’re being targeted. When an ad includes a picture of a hipstery 20-something wearing a plaid shirt, oversize glasses and a bowler hat, it can seem like a silly stereotype of a generation composed of many different kinds of people. It’s obvious when you’re trying to make your marketing seem uber cool, and a lot of times marketers’ definition of “cool” can be somewhat diminutive and condescending. Like any other demographic, Millennials will respond to marketing that tells a story and tells it well.
(photo from howcoolbrandsstayhot.com)