marketing-to-millennials
August 6th, 2014

Tailoring Your Digital Marketing Strategy for Millennials

by Ashley Bullin

Appealing to Millennials (the generation born between the 1980s and early 2000s) is most successful when marketers understand the differences between this generation and others. Successful marketing strategies take into account the Millennial generation’s behaviors, values and perceptions that make them so unique. Born in the digital era, Millennials are the most skilled in terms of using computers, smartphones and tablets—especially compared to other generations. They’ve grown up with up with internet, and they’ve been relying on it for answers to everything. They use it for school, work, socializing and—the best part for marketers—shopping. With the power of the internet comes the responsibility of companies to adapt their marketing strategies for this generation.

Social media and user-generated content have been proven to heavily influence Millenials’ purchasing decisions. They’d rather read a blog post or review of a product or service written by their peers before a piece of content published by a company. They are very aware of advertisements targeted to them, and can spot something fake in a heartbeat. This is why the use of stock photos is becoming less of a trend for many marketers. Millennials prefer to see a real photo—you know, a real person using a real product they purchased from a company. Whether it’s a review, blog post, video or photo—many companies are incorporating user-generated content in their marketing strategies.

Here’s how it works realistically. A Millennial purchases a product from a company and they love it so much that they want the company (and the world) to know. They tweet how awesome this product is, how pleased they are about the short amount of time it took to ship (because they probably purchased it online) and include the Twitter handle of the company. Boom. All of their Twitter followers have been informed, the world can see it and the company should get a notification that they’ve been included in a tweet. But it doesn’t end there. Millennials expect an acknowledgement from the company. As a marketer, you’d better be favoriting the tweet at the very least—and if you’re a smart marketer, you’re replying, retweeting it or both.

Millennials are also top of line as far education level—more Millennials than any other generation have college degrees. And despite graduating and entering the workforce in the midst of a not-so-great economy, they’re eerily optimistic. Sure, they know social security may not be there for them when they’re 65. But hey, they measure success with much more than just their paychecks and retirement benefits. They’re volunteering their time to causes they believe in, and achieving a level of self-actualization that many older generations will never understand. And they are most likely to shop at companies that hold the same values.

Look at TOMS—in 2006 this company began to match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes for a child in need. Since then, the company has experienced great success and they’ve expanded on their philanthropic efforts. And if you check out their social media platforms, TOMS quickly responds to each individual Facebook post, good or bad, and retweeting their followers on a regular basis.

TOMS Social Media

It’s no coincidence that the name of this article includes the word “tailoring” because Millennials want just that—a piece of content or image that is tailored to them. This is why many marketers are utilizing tactics like retargeting, an advertising method that shows specific ads to people who have previously visited a website. Ever been on Amazon.com and added an item to your cart just to see the total, only to spot the exact same item in an ad on a completely separate website the very next day? This is an example of how precise retargeting can get.

Now that you know a little more about the Millennial generation, it’s time to get to work. Become an active player on social media, start listening to conversations, think about incorporating cause-marketing into your annual business plan, take advantage of mobile-optimized websites and consider more personalized advertising tactics. And if you need help tailoring your digital marketing strategy for Millennials, give Sage Island a call today.