Guide to Marketing to Millennials

1) First, understand that millennials are people, too. 

And there are roughly 80 million of them!

A Bank of the West study found that millennials dream of home ownership (60%), paying off debt (55%) and a comfortable retirement (51%). Most (68%) say they would be content to settle down in a single community, instead of hopscotching from place to place.

The National Association of Relators found that in 2017, millennials were the nation’s top home buyers for the fourth year in a row, and a Zillow trend report discovered that 47% of those newly purchased homes are in the suburbs.

In other words, the American Dream is alive and well among young adults, ages 20-37.

2) So offer the same things.

As we’ve already established, millennials want mortgages and investments. They also want cars, clothes (almost twice as many buy designer than older generations) and convenience, and they’re willing to pay more. (Half will shell out for a taxi or ride-share, in contrast to 15% of Boomers and 29% of Gen-X-ers, while 60% will spend over $4 on a coffee, and 79% are willing to splurge on dining out.)

3) But offer in a different way.

It’s become a buzzword, but for good reason—millennials actually do value “authenticity.” This means traditional marketing—print, radio and TV ads—won’t work. Millennials read reviews, blogs and research before purchasing. And while 64% say they want brands to email them (also popular with Boomers and Gen-X-ers), millennials want social mediaengagement, as well.

Don’t try to “slip” anything past them, either. According to a Charles Schwab study, millennials check their accounts often, so they’re more aware of service fees.

4) And understand the actual differences.

Millennials are optimistic, career-oriented and well-educated. This means they want high-quality, low-impact products. They’d rather drive a Prius than an SUV, eat organic than processed, and pay more for responsible manufacturing.

They want to marry (87%), but later (20% of 18-30 year olds are married, as compared to 32% of Gen-X at that age), and the lack of a spouse hasn’t kept them from having children (46% of never-married 30-somethings are parents).

They’re more likely to be involved in domestic partnerships, nearly twice as likely to identify as LGBTQ, and more willing to live overseas than any previous generation.

What all this means is, millennials are good with convention when it fits their needs. When it doesn’t, they’re assertive about seeking other options. From a marketing standpoint, companies have to earn their trust and keep it. Genuinely offer them options they like, and they’ll be loyal customers with tremendous buying power.

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