We have a diverse group of clients at Thrive. We have some clients entirely focused on reaching Men ages 25-54 with their advertising messages. We have others only interested in reaching women. Some want families and others want Millennials, Generation Y. I felt compelled to write a blog about Millennials specifically because that demographic is the hardest to reach of all. Lately, we’ve had a lot of requests from our clients to show them how to reach this valuable group which typically represents 80’s and 90’s babies. Being an 80’s baby myself and the rest of my team being under the age of 40, I thought that we’d have some valuable insights to share with advertisers who want to reach this highly coveted demographic.
Millennials are unlike previous generations. Some of the stereotypes are good, others bad. We are personified as having short attention spans, little loyalty, demanding of choices and little appreciation for commitment. We are tech savvy, uber connected, we overshare online and feel a constant need to be connected to others; but different than other generations because we prefer to be connected through devices and computer screens more so than through face to face contact. We research companies and products online, we read reviews, share experiences with the world via the internet. We have Yelp Accounts, Google Accounts, Facebook Profiles, Linkedin Pages, Instagram Accounts, and Twitter Handles. We text faster than we type. Many of us are starting to make money, some good money. We graduated in early 2000 and worked our way up the corporate ladder just enough now to have a W2 that says we qualify for financing but often our generation is stereotyped as being afraid of big purchases. Many aren’t buying homes, they are renting. Some are using Ubers instead of buying cars and spending the greater portion of their paychecks to live in high rise apartments in downtown where they are close to activities and food. The Great Recession rocked us. Made us timid. Many of the Millennials who graduated from college in the later-2000’s couldn’t get a job, at least not like the ones their friends got who graduated just a few years prior… Others like me, bought our first houses at the peak of the market. Me in 2006. Terrible. Still can’t sell that darn house! So I’m stuck being a landlord renting a house that doesn’t fit my new lifestyle. Some of us, myself included, have children and a spouse, a mortgage and safe cars to ensure our kiddos are transported with the latest safety technologies. Another subsect of the Millennial Generation is part of the highly sought after DINKs demographic! What’s a DINK? Double Income No Kids.
In general, Millennials are sold on value and service based on research and friends’ reviews, more often than not though those reviews are ones friends posted in their Facebook Feed more so than ones they’ve given us personally. We might private message them to get the scoop on the photographer they raved about a few months ago but it’s unlikely that unless they are a very close friend we’d take the time to call. Maybe we’d shoot a text.
So how do you as an advertiser reach these elusive Millennials? How do you break through the clutter and reach them through media that they actually engage with? How do you resonate with Generation Y which is so unlike any generation before us?
4 Steps to Reaching Millennials with Your Advertising Message
1. Break Through the Clutter.
We’ve all heard the statistics about how many ads we are bombarded with daily. It’s always a shocking number. I’m not even going to quote a number because that number changes all. the. time. but the bottom line is we are inundated with advertisers trying to solicit us with everything under the sun. Millennials require a “surprise to their Broca”. “Broca is the area in your brain that anticipates sounds, words, and basically what’s going to happen to you next. And if Broca sees something coming, it means it’s pretty unmemorable or even boring… In order to make your message “stick”, you must first surprise Broca. Most ad messages are anticipated by Broca. And Broca slams the door on a ho-hum, predictable message, denying access to your memory. You can surprise Broca and gain further entrance into the brain by telling people something they didn’t expect to hear…Tell a unique story; use words that are colorful, new, and non-cliche; provide interesting information that’s truly useful; etc.
2. Engage Where they Engage.
Understanding Generation Y is key to knowing where to reach them. Gone are the days where you can buy blanket advertising on a radio station or TV network and wait for results. Your ad buys have to be strategic. They absolutely have to be calculated and placed in the optimal places to reach your very specific demographic. Millennials use media differently than any other generation. This is where we come in. We are experts at helping you figure out exactly where to place your ads to reach this highly sought after goldmine demographic. We will work with you to discuss your specific goals and map out a media buy that purposefully targets new customers. Whether it be through media like Pandora Radio, YouTube, television ads that won’t be DVRed (time shifted viewing is a real buzz kill!), or online targeting ads that effectively find “look alike” users that are eerily similar to your current customers.
3. Sell Your Value.
Because Millennials are research driven consumers it’s very important that your marketing message sells your value. Generation Y will do their due-diligence… They’ll read reviews online, they’ll ask their friends, they will shop your competitors and ultimately use these research skills to compare value and options. Millennials love choices. They need to feel they are getting the best value. For instance, when Gen Y is shopping for a new car they may do something like this:
Step 1: Research makes and models online.
Step 2: Ask friends, family, and connections on Facebook for opinions.
Step 3: Start shopping online for dealers that may potentially have the vehicle they are interested in. They aren’t worried about geography, typically. They’ll drive to Portland from Seattle or Seattle to Portland to get the best value. But if the local Seattle dealership can offer the same price as the Portland dealership but offer additional value like free oil changes for a year or free car washes, they’ll likely pick local because that adds value to tip the scales in the local market’s favor. This Generation won’t go to a dealership down the street and pick from the cars on the lot. They may stop and peek at a car on the lot but they’ll whip out their smartphone and shop Autotrader within a 500 mile radius for the same vehicle to see what the market value for that specific vehicle is. They won’t just trust the slick sales guy who can “make ‘em a deal”. Gen Y is a savvy generation.
Step 4: Most likely, they’ll move forward toward purchasing a vehicle from the dealership that offers them the most value, best service and has the best reputation online. Word of Mouth has never been more important, which leads me to the 4th step to reaching Millennials with your advertising message…
4. Ask for Reviews.
Generation Y, like previous generations, rely on Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) more than any other form of advertising. But, unlike previous generations, they rely on WOMM that comes from online reviews, possibly more than word of mouth from friends. Online reviews are Word of Mouth Marketing on steroids. Instead of a customer telling their neighbor at the mailbox about their experience with your company, they now have the ability to tell the whole online world with a few clicks on their iPhone. So getting positive online reviews for your business is absolutely imperative to the success of your company’s brand, reputation and ultimately sales.
There are many ways to do this. We can help you create ideas like incentive programs, show you ways to include this “ask” in your advertising message and help you brainstorm ways to improve your online reputation. Online reputation management is now more important than ever.
From small businesses to large corporate brands, positive reviews are essential. In addition to the value these reviews will add to your business by offering potential customers something to read, they will also help your company’s website performance by improving their organic search ranking.
We love discussing strategy with our clients. It’s our favorite part of the job. If you are trying to reach Millennials with your message, give us a call and talk with us. We’d love to earn your business by showing you our value.