If You’re Not Marketing to Millennials – You’re Doing It Wrong.

I know, I know. I just poked the bear – big time. But the truth is I don’t care if your target audience is 65+. I don’t care if you sell retirement homes, or Viagra, or luxury handbags. If you’re not marketing with millennials in mind – you’re doing it wrong.

Go ahead, roll your eyes. Tell me 6 ways from Sunday that your audience ISN’T like Millennials.

Now listen up. They will be.

Millennials don’t just do things differently. They do things first. Whether it takes 6 months or 6 years for the older generations to follow suit, eventually – they do.

Don’t believe me? In 2010, only 8% of U.S. adults 65+ used social media. People laughed at businesses that said they were going to use the platform to communicate with customers, and wrote it off as just another “Millennial trend.” Today, more than 30% of adults 65+ use social media (more than 60% of adults 50+, and 80% of those 30+), and if your business isn’t on Facebook you might as well not exist.

So, what does this mean for marketers?

It means that even if your audience isn’t Millennials, you should be taking your marketing cues from them. Things like where they consume information (online), the types of content they prefer (video), and the ways in which they consume it (streaming). Your target audience might not be there quite yet, but eventually, they will be.

So, without further ado, 4 facts about Millennials that can help shape the way you market to them – and to everyone else who, eventually, will follow in their innovative footsteps.

  1. They’re Ditching Traditional TV

Millennials are cutting the cable cord at an inspiring rate, with Gen X only slightly behind them. According to Prosper Analytics’ Media Behavior and Influence Study, 38% of millennials already watch their favorite shows online, presenting advertisers with an interesting mix of options to replace broadcast – everything from digital ads to native and sponsored content.

  1. They Want Access, Not Ownership…For Now

You’ve probably heard a lot about how the whiny, pathetic Millennials are choosing to shun the real estate market and instead cozy up with their parents. While it’s true that the number of 18-34 year-olds living with their parents has been on the rise since 2006, the notion that Millennials don’t want to own their homes is, well, false. According to Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research, a whopping 93% of Millennials who currently rent, say they would like to own their own home sometime in the future. Crushing student loan debt (just over 20k for the average 25-year-old) and lower incomes have simply put those plans on hold temporarily.

So, what does this mean for marketers? It means that while the “ownership market” will likely see an uptick down the road – for now Millennials want access to services they can rent, without compromising on quality. Things like shareable cars, homes, and even luxury clothing rental services like Rent the Runway are popular among the generation that values form and function over forever.

  1. They’re Thrifty, Not Cheap

Often confused with being cheap – Millennials’ thriftiness is actually just the opposite. Millennials are often willing to pay more for products they perceive as being a good value, or socially responsible – they just don’t want to spend more than they have to spend. The first generation of digital natives, more than 50% of Millennials say they price shop in store on a smart phone or other connected device. With endless information and reviews at their fingertips, a product’s value proposition (vs. brand awareness) must be in strong in order to win over Millennials.

  1. They’re Not into Smoking or Heavy Drinking

It may seem counterintuitive that it’s the younger generations that are giving the boot to unhealthy and/or indulgent habits, but more than 80% of younger Millennials disapprove of smoking one or more packs of cigarettes a day – and more than 70% disapprove of frequent alcohol consumption (1-2 drinks every day). Brands should take this as a cue to move away from products that promote an unhealthy lifestyle, and begin or continue to embrace holistic wellness.

All of this isn’t to say that you should try to sell retirement homes to Millennials (mostly because it’s already been done), but rather, consider how Millennials consume and react to marketing, and apply those learnings to your current marketing mix.

About Ethos

Ethos is a multiplatform branding agency that develops and executes integrated marketing campaigns across multiple channels for companies inside and outside of Maine.

At Ethos, we believe that the most effective way to set a company’s marketing course is by finding its core truth – its ethos. We know that once we discover and communicate that core truth, we can truly make a difference for each client’s unique marketing and business objectives.

With Ethos, you get more than a Maine marketing agency. You get a long-term partner whose goals are your goals.

Learn more about the Ethos approach and the work we’ve done for our clients. Want to have a conversation about your brand’s core truth? Contact us!

Written By

The ETHOS Team