Millennials are the golden generation for small businesses. Boasting a spending power of $200+ billion, generation Y has fewer financial burdens and more money at their disposal than any other consumer demographic.
Furthermore, according to most researchers and demographers, millennials were born between the early 1980’s and the later 1990’s, so grew up around computers and other emerging technologies of the late 20th Century. They eased into the technological age seamlessly and are among the early adopters of mobile shopping.
Yet millennials are notoriously difficult to engage. This stems from the fact they have been consistently bombarded with products that have not met the expectations of corresponding marketing campaigns since they were children. As a result, they have an innate distrust towards brands and do not fall for standard advertising.
That said, millennials do have a soft centre and are prepared to champion brands they feel justify praise. More than anything, millennials want honesty and favour brands that are transparent, reliable and deliver on promises.
As the technological age enters a new phase, getting millennials on your side is a prerogative for small businesses. Not only do they have money to spend, generation Y are more inclined to stay loyal to brands they trust.
Mobile technology is commonplace for millennials. Most of them could find their way around a mobile phone before they left primary school. Shopping online, streaming video content, sending SMS and conducting thorough research online before buying products or services is second nature to them.
The 18-34 age group lean towards brands that demonstrate social responsibility. Having grown up in an environment polluted by waste chemicals pumped out by corporates, millennials are in favour of supporting businesses that give something back to the community. And if it’s environmentally friendly, a brand can earn extra kudos.
Transparency also gets a thumbs up. Millennials are experts at vetting brands and your products and are accustomed to the tell-tale signs of false reviews, overblown advertising and poor quality products or customer service.
However, they are forgiving when small businesses acknowledge mistakes and immediately rectifying issues. In contrast, only one per cent of millennials trust advertising – compelling or otherwise.
The influence of social media networks has turned the tide of power into the hands of consumers. But marketers can use these powerful platforms to your advantage by getting millennials on your side.
Generation Y are happy to share content if it is meaningful and actionable. Modern consumers are inclined to share content they feel proud to be associated with. So provide relevant information that is fresh, useful and opens eyes to new possibilities.
Companies can reinforce social media marketing campaigns by using SMS messaging to drive traffic. But focus your efforts on marketing campaigns that will interest millennials and compel them to act.
Generation Y do not trust traditional advertising. Standard campaigns to this age group are destined to flop. Marketers have to look at ways to drill down deep into the emotional sensibilities of millennials.
Understanding the psychology and user preferences of your audience goes a long way to increasing engagement. Millennials prefer to receive SMS and interact with brands through social media or virtual chat assistants.
And because millennials question everything they see online, they will get involved in a conversation with brands. It’s therefore pertinent to open up multiple lines of communication and encourage two-way conversations.
Inbound marketing is the way to go online, although marketers should have both push and pull tactics in your marketing arsenal. Push marketing has to be gentle with this age group, especially when you are using intimate tools such as SMS messaging services.
Respect the privacy of millennials together with their sensitivity to floods of advertising. Too many messages or irrelevant ads will push them away. Rather than promoting, provide information. Millennials will engage with a wide variety of content including blogs, eBooks, white papers, podcasts and video.
The ultimate goal is to earn the trust of millennials. This age group are happy to be ambassadors of brands that intend to make a difference. So show Generation Y that you are on a mission and they will be happy to carry your backpack.
Millennials may be challenging for marketers, but they are not as difficult to engage as you might think. And when you do get them on your side there is huge potential for them to be a valuable weapon.
Brands that prove to be genuine, trustworthy and reliable will develop customer loyalty with millennials. So consistently deliver on your promises and create a brand that thrives rather than survives.
Editors Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.