How Can I Connect With Millennials?
Millennials are everywhere you look. In fact, they are the largest demographic when you are looking at buyers which means for many industries they are the core group you should be targeting. Yet, that target tends to remain a bit elusive to some. As a mobile app developer whose primary market includes this demographic, we often ask the question of, “How can I connect with millennials?”
Here is what we have learned over the past few years about this unique generation:
Millennials by the numbers
Millennials are broadly defined as those currently between ages 20 and 35. This makes for a large group that spans over a decade of some interesting times including massive technological advances and also a big financial fall. Estimates show that they have over $1 trillion in annual buying power even with many of them not quite into prime earning years.
This group is about 40 percent non-white and at least 25 percent have English as a second language. In the U.S. the estimates are that there are currently under 80 million millennials in total, making them the largest demographic and growing as Baby Boomers ride off into the sunset.
Concerns that they tend to share involve student debt, job security, disenchantment with government, and concerns about the future both economically and environmentally.
Connecting with millennials
- Target from a mobile perspective – A desktop computer? That is not the primary way to connect to a millennial as close to 90 percent own smart phones and use a smart device to engage on various platforms primarily. You have to remember, millennials grew up with smart phones and tablets; you always want to market to where someone does spend their time after all.
- Quality over quantity – There is a great degree of skepticism with this younger generation and that means messages from companies are often met with a critical eye. Because of this there should be a focus on the quality of each interaction and the experience it provides rather than just flooding them with quantity. Don’t just advertise to them; aim for engagement and relevancy. Solve problems and be interesting!
- Social responsibility – Due to this information age we are in, everyone is more aware of everything. That has lead millennials to at least feel more social responsibility at a younger age because they are more informed about so many issues like equality, sexuality, race, gender, bullying and obesity. Brands that are more conscious and sensitive to these issues will connect more easily with millennials while those that don’t increase their risk of alienation.
- Find communities – This generation is more non-traditional in that small, social groups are more easily identified with rather than the larger groups older generations connected to. Think of smaller, focused communities as a target within the millennial group rather than just millennials as a whole. For example, GoPro has its own community built primarily by millennials who like to share and enjoy the various ways you can look at the world through the GoPro lens while you adventure in this thing called life.
- Be authentic – This generation appreciates authenticity and will pay more for it. They want to connect with a brand not because you want them to; but because they choose to. The key is to try and engage this group honestly by showcasing who and what you are about and then let them decide if they are a match for your brand’s personality. Things like testimonials and feedback from real people play more into decision making rather than listening to what other businesses might say even from reputable sources such as Consumer Affairs.
- Connect to values – Forget how you might think about things. Instead try and understand the values they have and what they place importance on such as being socially conscious or charitable giving. By attaching your brand to a cause or value they find important you will forge an emotional connection. Examples like Tom’s Shoes or similarly social conscious companies have shown how connecting to millennials can launch a brand if you do it through shared values.
While millennials are a bit different to connect with at least compared to Gen X or Baby Boomers, the bottom line is that it is not any harder. As a business you need to understand who they are and what they are about to then understand, “How can I connect with millennials,” in respect to what your business and brand has to offer them. This particular generation is different than its predecessors but that is not a bad thing; it just requires a different approach to be successful.
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