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3 Lessons on How to Market to Millennials

Generation Y, or Millennials as they’re also called, are those born between the 1980s and early 2000s. And if your company isn’t already looking into ways to appeal your products and services to them, it’s time to start.

Why should you exert marketing efforts towards wooing them? Because they have $200 million spending power and are 80 million consumers strong. That’s why.

Millennials have been referred to as the “Me Me Me Generation”. Supposedly, they’re the most self-involved, opinionated and impatient generation yet. And that’s why marketers are scared of them. They can sense companies trying too hard to be hip and demand authenticity. But we’ve got three key lessons your marketing team can utilize to successfully romance them—when we’re done with you, they’ll be putty in your hands.

Lesson 1: Don’t try so hard.
Like a nerdy Dad who’s trying to incorporate “rad” and “bomb-diggity” into his vernacular (and failing miserably), your company needs to try hard but not to the point of being totally uncool. Don’t market to them, talk to them. Tell them your story, but above all else, be real with them.

If you’re a nerdy company, embrace those duct taped glasses and video game themed t-shirts. If you’re smooth, sleek and sexy as a GQ ad, be true to that. Whatever your personality, being genuine will attract a real audience of millennials appropriate for your marketing efforts.

Lesson 2: Be good at something.
You can’t be good at everything. Those movies where the star jock could also sing and had flawless Bieber-like hair? We’re calling bologna.

Rather than being a company that does everything well, stress your best quality. Your competition will inevitably beat you out at some aspect (customer service, newer or faster technology, etc.), but you too are better at something than them. And that’s what you need to focus on. They won’t be fooled if you tell them what they want to hear.

May we make a suggestion? If you’re looking for a new product development to appeal to millennials, make your product customizable (if they aren’t already). Millennials have been spoiled in their ability to pick the color, size, style, etc. of many products. They love the concept of co-creating your product when at all possible—cater to this by allowing them to express themselves through customization.

Lesson 3. Exist to them.
If you’re not on social media, you don’t exist. According to Heidi Cohen, actionable marketing expert, 93.3% of millennials are active on the Internet (75% are on Facebook) and over 90% of them have cell phones.

Assuming they’ve had a good consumer experience, millennials will be some of the most loyal brand advocates for your company—if you’re sharable. A Facebook page, Twitter feed, “pin it” button, or “Share This” button will encourage millennials to recommend your company to their friends. The easier and more convenient you can make it, the better. Buyers in this generation love being affirmed by peers that they’re making a smart choice—give them ample opportunity for this validation.

We know it can be intimidating to attempt to market to a demanding, opinionated, diverse generation. But you love a good challenge, right? Trust us, it’s worth the effort and research if you can engage millennials successfully. (And we know you can).