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Demystifying the millennial market

03.12.15

Do you know a millennial? Are you a millennial yourself? Do you know how to market to millennials?

You might be struggling to answer the above questions and this is down to a massive amount of confusion surrounding the demographic.

Firstly, demographers disagree about the exact time frame that this group encompasses. Some say that millennials were born between 1982 and sometime in the early 2000s, while Pew Research says that millennials range in age from 18 to 33 years.

Some will admit to having never used or heard of this term and, according to research, many young people do not accept that the term applies to them. Apparently, a third of young people identify more strongly with the term ‘Generation X”

While the debate continues, there is no escaping the fact that PRs and marketers should be focusing efforts on this generation. It represents about a fourth of the entire population, with $200 billion in annual buying power.

As we head full-steam towards 2016, we have compiled a list of key learnings around millennials that PRs and marketers can use to shape a communications strategy:

Millennials are ‘digital natives’:

Millennials are the most digitally connected group. They are the most avid users of technology, and what’s more, they didn’t have to adapt to new technologies. Today, young shoppers’ attitudes and behaviours are largely inspired by people they know online, or even strangers who share their interests on social networks. A brand must maintain its social media channels and handle online complaints in a timely manner in order to remain in favour with millennials.

Companies should consider recruiting brand ambassadors to capitalise on the importance millennials place on inspirational and influential online figures. Brand ambassadors provide credible, trustworthy promotion and visibility to a brand (read our September blog for more information on building relationships with brand ambassadors).

Learn how to speak their language:

When you offer your audience content that they relate to and would happily share with others, you’re building a real brand-consumer relationship.

A great example of this is when Netflix cleverly honed in on a popular millennial phrase, ‘Netflix and chill’ and launched the first Netflix branded condoms:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/netflix-and-chill-condoms_56169ccde4b0082030a1738e

While it may not be possible to completely change a brand’s tone of voice and messaging, having an awareness and understanding of the language this age group uses is important. It’s an easy way of engaging with a highly lucrative market. 

Although, be warned! Trying to communicate with millennials in a way that is patronising or doesn’t align comfortably with your brand’s image will do more harm than good – if it backfires, the messaging could be viewed as a feeble attempt to “get down with the kids”.

Convenience is key:

Young customers are demanding a seamless experience and will be loyal to those companies that can deliver. This is evidenced in the fact that 18 per cent of millennial travellers claim hotel proximity to public transport is a deal breaker when booking accommodation, which is at least 10 per cent more than other traveller age groups – it’s clear that convenience is king for this demographic. Another good example of this is Uber – this service helps bring utility to millennials in a quick and convenient way.

The same can be said for marketing material. Rather than product and service listings, millennials want blog posts, videos, infographics and images so they can take in lots of information quickly and easily. Including this material in the communications mix enables a brand to reach out and engage with millennials.

JAM devises and implements PR and social media strategies that resonate with a wide range of audiences. No matter what target audience your brand is looking to communicate with, the millennial demographic is a critical consideration, and certainly not one to be underestimated. If you’d like to see what we can do for your brand, get in touch Jaime@jampr.co.uk.

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