Every company cares about one thing: getting more leads. They come up with solution after solution to generate leads and increase revenue. But there's one highly influential market where companies seem to miss the mark: millennials.
Companies, specifically B2B companies, may see marketing to millennials as a waste of time. Millennials aren't the CEO's and key decision makers of most companies. But they are the buzz generators. Creating a campaign that millennials are drawn to will get them talking, and higher management will recognize the excitement.
As a millennial finding my way in this marketing world, I've noticed what catches my eye and what sticks. Millennials just can't accept things at face value anymore: we are the generation of "now."
- Don't focus on life stages. Millennials are far from the traditional style of their baby boomer parents. Marketers can no longer assume that every 22 year old is graduating college, every 25 year old is getting married, etc. Rather, focus on social groups.
- Optimize for mobile. This is nothing new to marketers, but with 85% of millennials owning smartphones, every aspect of your website needs to be mobile. Is your call to action clear on a mobile device? Is your content easily skimmable on a tiny screen?
- Speed up load times. As said above, millennials are the generation of "now." They aren't used to waiting for anything. Slow loading websites, emails and social posts are a huge turn off to this fast paced generation.
- Be authentic. Millennials are everywhere, and they'll recognize when an idea, advertisement, or photo is ripped off another website. Chances are they'll call you out on social media for this, so proceed with caution.
- Make every interaction count. While they're the "now" generation, they're also the distracted generation. Even if they glance at a landing page for 25 seconds, they still need to pull out valuable information to store for later.
- Integrate remarketing into popular apps. This doesn't mean creating your own app, but find out what apps your target markets uses the most, and use that platform for marketing endeavors.
- Get personal. The main problem companies face when targeting millennials is that they're too broad. Millennials aren't impressed when clumped together as a group. Companies need to find a specific niche and find out what matters specifically to them.
- Target the right age. Not all millennials are created equal. While a 28 year old may live on Facebook, 19 year olds wouldn't be caught dead writing a status. They'd rather be Snapchatting or Tweeting. Taco Bell does a great job of targeting millennials across age-appropriate platforms.
- Add visuals to everything. Millennials appreciate pretty images. Personally, I hardly look at a Facebook post or tweet that doesn't have a visual. When there is a visual, I pay more attention to that than the content. Make your visuals count and send the right message.
- Make it funny. It seems that traditional marketing platforms turn up their noses at humor. Humor is often seen as unprofessional and tacky, but not for millennials. They appreciate wit and a good pun. This blog post gives several tips on how to tastefully use humor in marketing.
- Let them help themselves. Growing up with technology, millennials are used to doing things themselves. They don't want handholding or authority. Make all forms, downloads and purchases user friendly, so millennials can feel that they're providing for themselves.
- Have a cause. Millennials are reshaping charity and philanthropic efforts. They are more likely to side with businesses that have a cause. Whether it's a buy one give on effort like TOMS, or a KickStarter for a charity, millennials need a hero.
- Understand how they make decisions. Problem and solution decisions are more intense for millennials. Not only do they look for solutions in a different way, they make decisions based on what's easiest and most accessible to them. Don't make them jump through hoops to make a decision.
- Show you work hard and play hard. This mentality is driven into millennial's minds. While they may be one of the most innovative and hard working generations, they also play hard. Don't just share work successes, share company parties and outings on social media to make your company more relatable.
- Implement social listening. Marketing on social media isn't enough to reach millennials. To know what millennials value, companies must listen to the conversation on social media. Follow your hashtags and direct tweets like a hawk.
- Build trust before selling. Use social media as an engagement tool to indirectly promote your product by answering millennial's questions and sparking conversation with them. Starbucks is a great example when looking at building millennial trust.
- Incorporate peer reviews. More than ever, millennials are turning to their friends for product information, rather than the company itself. Focus on getting a solid group of brand lovers, and they'll get leads for you.
- Make them a part of the brand experience. Whether it's through product suggestions or feedback, millennials have a desire to be involved with your brand beyond the transaction. By inviting them to play a more active role,like Lays has, you'll satisfy their need and develop more trusting relationships with them.
- Be provocative. Millennials love it when companies push things to the edge.While you don't need to do anything that warrants an HR report, youdo need to show you can be edgy and keep up with their lingo.
- Use videos and GIFs. Now that Twitter is playing videos and GIFs automatically, companies need to utilize this tool with millennials. Millennials love GIFs, especially when they're from their favorite TV shows and movies. Do your research and find what GIFs are the most popular and shared.
- Recognize what's going on in pop culture. Whether you compare breaking up with a client to the latest celebrity breakup or incorporate popular lyrics in your social media posts, millennials will recognize you as a "hip" company.
- Give validation when they like your product. From favoriting a mention to commenting on Instagram, millennials need validation. Giving them validation is like thanking them for being a customer, and will improve the relationship.