Accounting for almost a quarter of the total population and being more likely than any other age group to adopt new technologies, millennials present the most lucrative market of all. Young adults are also the driving force behind the changing consumer habits that are shaping the business world and, recognizing this, successful marketers are making millennials a priority or, at the very least, working to understand what makes the generation tick. Out with the old and in with the new, brands now need to know how to appeal to the younger generation, even if they don't make up their primary audiences. Following are five tips for success:

#1. Provide Authentic Content

Content marketing is not just another passing fad, and it's actually been around since the late nineteenth century, at the dawn of modern advertising. However, today's young adults crave content-driven media in a wide variety of forms, particularly video, infographics, scannable list-type blog posts and other fun and engaging content. The average millennial spends 25 hours per week online, reading, sharing, liking and forwarding content, so it's imperative that you provide a consistent stream of content to accommodate this unending desire. However, and most importantly, your content needs to be authentic.

Authentic content needs to be delivered in an environment centered around the target audience rather than one that is nothing more than the product of a brand trying to boost its sells. It needs to empower audiences by inspiring them to leave feedback in the form of comments and share things they like on social media. As such, user-generated content is among the most powerful types of content of all, and the vast majority of millennials claim that things like reviews and ratings influence what they buy. Your own content also needs to prove that your brand is in touch with its younger audiences by using the right sort of tone and language.

#2. Stick to Inbound Marketing

Today, traditional marketing is often known as outbound marketing, which relies on interrupting the user experience in order to effectively force advertisements on them. Outbound marketing is still relevant today, even in the digital world, particularly in the case of paid advertising platforms such as Google AdWords. However, the cost per lead of outbound marketing is constantly increasing, and it's very easy to get it wrong to the extent that you end up hurting your brand's image by annoying your target audience. Instead, millennials expect brands to make meaningful and personal connections with their target audiences by way of inbound marketing methods.

Millennials usually know what they want, and even older generations are getting more tech-savvy to the extent that they either ignore or even actively take steps to block intrusive ads such as popups. Instead, consumers are now looking for genuinely useful information, and this is where inbound marketing comes in. Today, young people are more interested in content that improves their experiences, so they appreciate authority, leadership and expertise to the extent that they'd far rather see useful and relevant content such as blog posts and e-books than be disrupted by boring product listings and traditional ads.

#3. Prioritize the Mobile Experience

According to a whitepaper published by comScore back in 2014, 18% of millennials used only a mobile device to access the Internet, followed by 67% who used both desktop and mobile devices. In other words, the smartphone and tablet are now the favorite ways for younger people to get online. Recent years have also seen the gap between older and younger consumers using mobile devices get smaller, so there's no doubt that mobile is here to stay. Of course, there's no substitute for the big screen and a full-size computer but, for everyday computing activities, the small screen has already taken over.

With almost one in five millennials accessing the Web exclusively through a mobile device, brands absolutely need to prioritize every stage of the mobile experience to have any chance of success. Responsive design techniques, touch-friendly navigation and mobile apps are just some of the methods that modern brands are using to reach out to the increasingly large mobile audience. It's also important for brands to recognize the fast-changing social media and messaging habits of younger consumers. For example, many teenagers are now abandoning Facebook in favor of mobile-centric platforms such as Snap Chat and WhatsApp.

#4. Empower through Collaboration

Providing authoritative content is not the only way to empower target audiences. It's also becoming increasingly important to empower people by facilitating collaboration. An increasing number of millennials want to have a say in the creation of new products and services, but asking for feedback is only the beginning. Traditionally, companies relied largely on coming up with new products and services in the hopes that people would be interested in them. Today, however, younger audiences actually want to be involved in the creative thinking behind the development process, and this presents tremendous potential for brands to build powerful relationships.

From competitions and surveys to sneak peaks of as-of-yet unreleased products, empowering your target audience through collaboration helps to make them feel appreciated. After all, the very social nature of the modern Internet has come to play an extremely important role in the shaping of new products and services created largely based on consumer opinion. For example, recent years have seen the video game industry, with great success in most respects, launch the Early Access program, whereby consumers can become actively involved in the development of video games before they're released in full.

#5. Make It Enjoyable

Ultimately, young people just want to have fun, and millennials often find the process of researching, comparing and browsing through product reviews, video demonstrations and other engaging content more enticing than the actual purchase process itself. After all, a great piece of content should serve to complement a product, service or industry to the extent that it helps potential and existing buyers get more out of their purchases. Online exploration is not just a means to buy something as quickly as possible; it's often a form of entertainment in itself, and it is precisely this reason that inbound marketing has become so important.

Successful brands understand that younger consumers expect and want to have an enjoyable experience when they're browsing the Internet, rather than be interrupted by annoying ads. As such, brands are appealing to younger audiences through a variety of interactive mediums, one of the most powerful of which is gamification. Gamification is a relatively new marketing strategy that involves fun and competition, often by way of mobile apps, competitions and other interactive methods. A successful strategy will get people engaged, make them feel involved and keep them coming back. It can also make less glamorous industries that bit more interesting.

Final Words

Although it's no secret that younger people tend to be fickle in nature and change their minds very quickly, the above tips will endure for a long time to come. Additionally, as older generations become more tech-savvy, using modern inbound marketing methods to appeal to people in a meaningful and relationship-building way is clearly the right approach to take. Given that today's consumers are inherently more influential than ever before, due to the modern Web giving them a platform to speak to the rest of the world, it shouldn't be difficult to see why marketing to millennials is important in almost any industry.

comments powered by Disqus