Of all the demographics that marketers can try to target, none is as prized and as elusive as millennials. The current focus on young adults isn’t without merit. According to estimates from Nielsen, millennials account for 24 percent of the US population, or about 77 million people. This is a sizeable chunk of the population, so business owners, marketers and researchers are right to spend time trying to find patterns in the behaviors of this age group. Targeting millennials can be a little like fishing; you need to know the right spots, the right lure, and best tactics. This post is a pocket guide for fishing for millennials. It will cover some of the most recent research about group, and how that research shows the best practices for reaching young adults.
As a group, millenials have a lot of purchasing power. Despite the temptation to think of young adults as out-of-work college students, this characterization is incorrect. According to data from Deloitte, nearly half (47%) of consumers aged 21 to 29 work full-time, and just under a third (31%) have annual household incomes over $50,000.
Another reason why marketers are interested in millennials is the potential to start long-term relationships with young consumers. For whatever the reason, millennials tend to be loyal to their favorite brands. According to a 2014 report from Adroit Digital, 61 percent of US millennial males and 56 percent of females are loyal to their mobile phone providers. For a mobile phone provider, there is a clear advantage to hooking a millennial customer early.
One thing business owners and marketers should keep in mind is that millennials are the first generation to have grown up with technology like the internet and widely affordable PCs. This has an effect on their choices for media and in shopping. The Adroit Digital report, What Makes Millennials Brand Loyal?, stated that 39 percent of US millennials believe brands that do not advertise on mobile platforms are less desirable and outdated. This may seem like a clear endorsement for internet marketing when it comes to young adults, but the truth is, an integrated marketing approach is best. Even though a third said brands that weren’t advertising on mobile were “less desirable and outdated”, only 36 percents of the respondents said they believed digital ads are more effective than traditional ones. In fact, when it comes to new products, TV advertising may be the way to go. According to Adroit, 29 percent of US millennials say TV advertising is the medium most likely to introduce them to a new product. This was followed closely by social media with 26 percent, and mobile with 15 percent.
For online retailers trying to reach millennials, it’s important to note that millennials are not the tablet toting army that we are sometimes led to believe. According to Deloitte, 57 percent of consumers aged 21 to 29 shop online using laptops, compared to 19 percent for smartphones, and 10 percent for tablets. These numbers show that a multi-platform compatibility is a must for e-commerce sites that want to make their sites millennial-friendly. There is no one type of device that all millennials use for shopping.
When trying to appeal to young adults, one tactic is to focus on their desire for a better future. As a group, millennials are very optimistic about their futures. According to the Nielsen report, Money Matters: Upscale Millennials are Saving for Tomorrow, 83 percent of US millennials with annual household incomes over $70,000 believe they will meet their financial goals, compared to 77 percent of all US millennials. Either way, more than three quarters of millennials are planning for a better tomorrow.
Social media is a key tool for marketers trying to catch millennials. According to Adroit Digital, 60 percent of US millennials say social advertising has the most influence over how they perceive a brand. Additionally, 44 percent of US millennials want to have open dialogues with brands via social media. However, this social element means that millennials are more concerned about the image of the brands they use. The study found that 38% of US millennials are willing to leave brands they perceive to have bad ethics.
Fishing for millennials can be tricky, but it can be done. Business owners need to make sure they are following these best practices and paying attention to the research. This way, they can make sure they are attracting their target audience instead of scaring them away.