From a Millennial-Based Ad Agency to your Millennial-Based Market.
Understanding what it is that Millennials truly want from the marketplace can be extremely confusing. Therefore, as Millennials working for a real-time boutique ad agency that works with Millennials on a daily basis, we thought we’d drop some knowledge on this widely researched topic.
Millennials: Who They Are
As more businesses and brands emerge in this growing market, the fight to stand out has become more and more challenging. That’s why now, more than ever, it is imperative for a company to gain a deep background on their target markets. But on the other hand, understanding what they want from a company can also be tricky with varying nuances in habits and characteristics—take for example, the Millennials.
Also known as Generation Y, this group of individuals born between 1977 and 2000 make up an astonishing 25% of the population (surpassing Baby Boomers by 75.4 million people), and account for 21% of discretionary purchases estimating over a trillion dollars in buying power. Now more than ever, the influence of this group is an opportunity not to be missed, and gathering the right intel could lead to more engagements and purchases.
So how does a company acquire a deeper knowledge of this group? Well, one way to go about it would be to ask a Millennial; another would be to ask an ad agency that works with clients that market to Millennials on a daily basis. A third, and most effective approach, would be to combine the two and ask an ad agency that is full of Millennials—that works with Millennials. Talk about first-hand knowledge.
Why We Should Care About Them
Before we jump into the good, the bad, and the ugly, we have to first understand why this is so important—and we do mean so important. Although it’s a hefty number, the fact that Millennials make up 21% of general consumer discretionary purchases isn’t even the most important factor.
The truth is, social media, online shopping, and mobile ecommerce have leveraged Millennials into revolutionizing the market. 51% of Americans now say they prefer online over brick-and-mortar for their shopping experience, and of these online shoppers, Millennials make up the largest portion. This trend is only going to continue to grow at expedited rates, as ecommerce is growing an average of 23% year-over-year. So what can you do to ensure your company is connecting with Millennials? As a boutique Los Angeles advertising agency full of Millennials who works directly with Millennials, we wanted to shed some insider knowledge on this ever-so-popular topic.
Do Millennials Even Like Advertisements?
It is always important to take a step back and look at the big picture. In this case, we wanted to know how Millennials truly felt about the advertisements they come across online, such as commercials, banner ads, and YouTube commercials. This may or may not come as a surprise to you, but Millennials don’t particularly care for those approaches, nor do they work on Millennials like they used to. In fact, ad block usage surged 30% in 2016; another study shows an astonishing 90% of people skip pre-roll ads appearing before video content.
So what does mean? Well, here are a few direct quotes from one of our surveys that can provide you with insight. When asked about his experience regarding traditional marketing approaches, Mike, 23 years old, said, “Most of the time when there is an ad playing before my YouTube video, I am literally counting down the five seconds until I can press that “skip” button and not even thinking about listening to what the ad has to say.”
Or another quote from Adam, 25 years old, states: “I’ve really come to hate pop-up ads. Honestly, if I am trying to surf the web and one of those ads pops up that takes over my entire screen, I instantly become irritated and not at all interested in what the ad has to say.”
So simply put, today’s market—especially Millennials—cannot stand the standard digital advertisements used in today’s media. Understanding this information is useful (although this news probably isn’t all that new to you). With this in mind, it now comes down to what we, as businesses marketing to Millennials, are able to do with this information that will shape the success (or failure) of our futures.
Millennials Have Been Wildly Underestimated
When it comes to selling to Millennials online, the first thing to understand is that they are not like other generations. The tactics that brought salesmen success in the past just don’t work on them.
Many times when we think of Millennials, we picture the generation that spent more time on their computer or smartphone rather than doing their work. Despite popular belief that members of this generation are lazy, when in fact, most of that time is spent doing research! With this in mind, be prepared for them to know a lot about your product before they even walk in the door or sign onto your website. For example, in the past, an interested buyer would walk into a car dealership and actually learn about the products available via discussion with the salesmen, which gave the salesmen a chance to “wow” the customer and make the sale.
Today, however, customers already have a plethora of knowledge on the car we are seeking when they walk into the dealership, its available options, any discounts or sales available, and other locations where it is listed cheaper. This makes it that much more challenging for those salesmen to produce that “wow” factor and close the sale. And the same goes for selling your product—whatever it may be.
So, Millennials Aren’t Too Fond of Advertisements. Now What?
As the seller, you should be spending more time creating a strong relationship with the customer, rather than “selling” to them—and whatever you do, do not be too pushy. 50.5% of Millennials say they are extremely loyal to their favorite brands; coming from an agency that works with Millennials, experience dictates that this does not happen through pushy salesmen.
So what does this mean? Become their favorite brand! This happens by communicating effectively and creating a relationship before anything else. In fact, we’d go out on a limb and say the quickest way you can ensure you don’t build a strong relationship with Millennials is by being pushy and trying to sell too fast.
But how do you build a strong relationship, you ask? INTERACTION. Millennials love to engage with companies in any way they can. Now, this isn’t as hard as it seems: social media provides you with an expansive platform to interact with consumers: other businesses have used silly “challenges” and polls to engage with customers on Facebook and Twitter, sought social media influencers to increase the awareness of a product, and established communities in which customers can be a part of. Joining a group of like-minded thinkers, they are able to be a part of something bigger than simply purchasing a product.
The Value of Transparency
Another factor to consider when marketing to Millennials is that they value transparency. Millennials care about what is behind the products they buy more than any previous generation and this idea, if implemented correctly, can be of great benefit to your company.
For example, when it comes to purchasing haircare, skincare, or other beauty products, Millennials care about what these companies do behind closed doors. There are literally thousands of YouTube channels that talk about vegan makeup and skincare products, which resonates with the values Millennials hold of animal well-being and self care. Show the audience what the company does behind closed doors, and you will align the product with the target Millennials’ values.
As tough as marketing can be in today’s market, it doesn’t have to be! Keep in mind the ways that Millennials operate, and you can stay one step ahead of the game—whether it be a single advertisement or an entire campaign. At the end of the day, don’t forget to have fun and be creative. If you’re coming from a place of genuine intent and put a bit of yourself in the work, then the results will follow.
– Michael Mueller :: Dreamentia Millenial