With the millennial generation increasing in age, the time has come for B2C companies to begin rethinking their marketing strategies to target this new generation’s wants and needs -- and their growing wallets. The millennial cohort isn't just another generation. According to the Huffington Post, the millennial population is 7% larger than the baby boomer population, and millennialmarketing.com reports that 25% of the United States population is made up of millennials. The key characteristic of millennials’ buying behavior is that they’re informed more than ever. Millennials don’t have to buy a product to experiment with it. They’ve seen the reviews, viewed the product unboxing videos on YouTube, tested out their friends' products, and have already figured out exactly how it will improve their own lives.
So what are B2C marketers to do?
Plenty. Here are five tips to get started.
1. Become a master of Instagram
Get on Instagram, and do it correctly. Instagram is a photo-sharing app that is exploding in popularity. It already has over 400 million users, and the majority of these users are millennials. Instagram must be used in a certain manner by marketers to be effective, however. Photos of the product on their own won’t do it. Post photos of it being used, and photos of the product shaping and touching lives. Then, don’t forget to #hashtag it. Millennials are a generation that is impacted by visual story-telling and experience sharing, and Instagram is the perfect platform for companies to tell and share theirs.
2. Make videos that are shareable
Make video ads or commercials, while forgetting everything you already know about them. Inform millennials; don’t market to them. Millennials can spot a marketing effort a mile away, and thus they will only appreciate and remember it if it is simple, to the point, factual, and, most importantly, shareable. It should be relevant and able to open up a dialogue among millennials. If it’s too lengthy or complicated to share or talk about, millennials won’t be latching onto your product, nor will they if your marketing appears to be blatantly persuasive.
Take a look at this video from Always.
It's simple and relatively low budget to produce, yet it went viral. When a tampon commercial garners over 60 million views on YouTube, you know that marketers are doing something right.
3. Facilitate curating
Focus Internet marketing efforts upon the idea of curation. Millennials love curating. If you don’t believe it, look at the institution of the #hashtag, Pinterest, and Spotify. Millennials are able to select content for themselves to make their entertainment a unique experience. A B2C business can tap into this in simple ways by displaying images and videos of their products on websites that allow curating. For some, it can be as simple as allowing millennials to create a list of favorite products on your website for them to return to later, or share on social media.
4. Allow for multi-platform sharing
This of course brings us to sharing. Create a web environment that is conducive to the word about your product being spread across multiple networks and platforms. Millennials have an affinity for sharing information and experiences in real time with anyone who is willing to listen. This could mean in conversation, on Facebook, or maybe a tweet about your excellent customer service. So leverage this tendendany by plugging into all the major social media platforms and making it a no-brainer for millennials to share your content.
5. Champion a cause
Millennials are always on the prowl for an opportunity to incorporate positive change into their everyday lives, lives of others, and the global community. Their purchases are a huge reflection of this. In fact, a study by ad agency network TBWA/Worldwide and TakePart found that 7 in 10 young adults consider themselves social activists and that 80% report that they would be more likely to buy from a company that supports a cause they care about, if price and quality were equal across competing products. The socially responsible company often “wins the buy” from this generation. So find a cause that millennials care about (environmentalism, civil rights, higher education, etc.) which aligns with your company's values and champion it. Companies that allow their customers to participate in these charities and efforts hold a significant competitive advantage, because of the tendency of millennials to share personal experiences with each other.