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5 Tips For Marketing to Millennials

July 29th, 2012
Effectively marketing to Millennials, or Generation Y, is becoming a key concern for many businesses and brands. The reason is in the numbers: there are 79 million Millennials in the United States alone and they will outnumber Baby Boomers by the year 2030 to comprise the majority of the working population, which translates into tremendous spending power. Millennials, between the ages of 14 and 30, represent a consumer group that requires a different level of understanding. Here are some tips for more effective marketing to this large demographic:

Be Active in Social Media. Millennials use the Internet and social networks much more than other cohorts, with about 75 percent of the generation possessing a social media profile, according to Pew Research. What's more, 1 in 5 Millennials have posted a video of themselves online. This generation uses Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and other social sites to discover, share and connect with their friends on a regular basis. Thus, brands who are consistently using these marketing channels have a better chance at reaching and engaging this young group.

Go Digital Wherever Possible. This is the cohort that grew up in the digital age; therefore, they have a higher degree of dependence on electronics and technology and treat their gadgets almost as an extension of themselves. They are also the most technologically literate, so complex gadgetry won't scare them away, which means marketers can reach this group through the use of mobile apps and other hi-tech channels, as well as implement more tech-oriented features in their products and services. For example, Chevy recently launched a project to include more Millennial-oriented features in their new car models, including technological add-ons like WiFi capability.

Empower and Inspire. One of the major differences of the Generation Y group from other groups is that these young consumers are more "self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change," describes Pew Research. They are more concerned about social issues and the environment and feel confident in their ability to make a difference. As 14-year-old author and speaker Adora Svitak stated at the Mashable Connect event in May of this year, " peers deserve more than products to buy wrapped up in advertising. We need ideas to share and causes to believe in — opportunities to lead and teach.” Levi's is one brand who is trying to reach the Millennial population in this way -- its 'Go Forth' campaign was developed to encourage youth around the world to participate in social and environmental initiatives.

Understand Their Interests. To more effectively market to this group, brands must know what Millennials are talking about and what they're interested in. It's not enough to know what is a popular topic in general; brands need to get in on the conversation in order to build meaningful messages and create campaigns that will resonate among Generation Y consumers in such a way as to compel them to share the message with their peers. For example, understanding that less Millennials prefer to drive and are less excited about cars than older generations, GM decided to partner with San Francisco-based startup RelayRides to create a car-sharing program that would appeal to the Generation Y consumer. Another way to appeal to this generation is through participative campaigns, such as Ford's 'Fiestagram' campaign, that require Millennials (who already love taking pictures with their mobile devices) to snap photos in return for a chance to win prizes and discounts.

Uncover more ideas and ways brands are marketing to Millennials in Trend Hunter's Marketing Trend Report, and find out the innovations and changes affecting this cohort in our Youth Trend Report.