A lot of boomers in the marketing field attempt to connect with millennials on the Internet by using the latest memes and GIFs of whatever they think "the new big thing" is. And let's face it: it's pretty painful. As a millennial in the marketing field, I thought it was time to clear some things up. You fellow millennials will have to put your two cents in the comments!
MILLENNIALS ON THE INTERNET ARE THERE TO DISCOVER SOMETHING OF VALUE.
Being a dishonest company is not going to win us over. Sorry not sorry. If you're honest and transparent, we'll be honest and transparent right back. We like companies that speak from the heart and care about the way the world perceives them (much like our selfie-loving selves). If you lead with love and honesty, you're already on the right track.
"HIGH-KEY" PROVE YOUR VALUE
We don't want some cheesy 30 second commercial with little to no value. We want companies to exhibit their product/service's true value by demonstrating it in everyday life. We like the marketing concept of social proof, for one reason: IT'S REAL! We pay more attention to the reviews left on your Yelp page than a paid celebrity endorsement on TV. Work on asking your customers to consistently provide feedback on your social media profiles and online review sites.
DON'T THROW SHADE
At us, that is. We're not about your ageist complex and don't desire to hear your commentary on how "lazy" or "unmotivated" we are. In fact, we are the most educated generation to date, with 34% of us toting at least a Bachelor's degree if not more. Don't make us the butt of your jokes, unless it's done tastefully. We sure get a kick out of laughing at ourselves, but we don't like the prejudiced commercials. Get on our good side and don't lead with negativity.
SHOW, DON'T TELL
If you can show us exactly why we should invest in your company or buy your products, we will. We'd rather spend more money on products that have meaning and a fabulous business behind them than save a couple aces. Catalysts for Change suggests that we may just become the wealthiest generation in history - and we're already putting our money to good use!
Use multimedia to show us why you are making a change and fighting the good fight. Beautifully thought-out and well-produced video marketing on both social media and television explaining your involvement in social causes and giving campaigns is where it's at. Companies that exercise corporate social responsibility will set themselves apart from the masses - a whopping 73% of millennials are more likely to give their dolla-dolla bills to companies with CSR initiatives.
PLEASE SPILL THE TEA
We loooove clickbait, if you couldn't already tell by one of our favorite online publications: BuzzFeed. Many millennials will argue that they "dislike" clickbait (I hear it all the time and am quite frankly over it - that's like saying we hate to travel), but point blank: they are the generation of it and continually prove to us marketers that it does the trick to catch (and hold) their attention.
"Spill the tea", as RuPaul would say. Tell us the 411 on the latest acai bowl locations in town, give the deets on "The Top 30 Spots for Colorful Walls in Austin, Texas That Will Help You Nail The Perfect Selfie", or produce a hilarious viral video series of a curvy gay dude in a flannel shirt complaining about life and consuming bottles of wine like there's no tomorrow - ultimately working to catapult your brand awareness.
C'mon millennials. Don't deny that shit - Matt Bellassai could sell you dirt if he tried.
P.S. Don't forget the puppy videos.
EMBRACE YOUR INNER SJW
SJW stands for "Social Justice Warrior", if you didn't know. My alma mater, liberal arts college The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington consistently makes great examples of these! All jokes aside: Evergreen produces incredibly brilliant thinkers, including Matt Groening (the creator of "The Simpsons"), Ben Haggerty aka Macklemore, Lynda Barry and Lynda Weinman, and our beloved YouTube sensation Tay Zonday (the "Chocolate Rain" guy).
Millennials are widely concerned about all sorts of world matters: marriage equality, gender identity, climate change and pollution, women's rights, safe firearm use, ending poverty, the list goes on. If you join the fight in resolving one of these issues, it can be a risky PR move depending on your stance, but trust me: your younger audience will get it on a deeper level.
When marketing to us millennials, the most important thing that you cannot forget is this: make us part of your community. We love to be included and asked our opinion. Leverage branded hashtags to engage us with your social media efforts and encourage us to voice our beliefs/experiences/feelings. Connect with us in a meaningful, friendlier way and we'll be BFFs for life.
Are you a millennial? What other aspects do you think professional marketers need to touch on to connect with us better?
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THE BLOGGER: KATHRYN COFFMAN
Kathryn is the lead contributor + founder at FashionablyFrank.com. Obsessed with leading a life of balance, she started the blog in 2013. Since graduating college in 2016, she is now a digital marketing specialist through her business, Fashionably Frank Marketing. She believes a cup of coffee is the answer to life's problems + that all women should embrace a #girlboss mantra.