3 Tips to Engage Millennials and Grow Your Business by Curtis Battles

{3:45 minutes to read} I recently attended a seminar about understanding, targeting and reaching the millennial generation. The presentation revolved around the question: Do you know how to market your business to attract millennial consumers?

There are 80 million millennials in the U.S. and collectively this age group (those born between 1980-2000) have 200 billion dollars of annual buying power. By 2020, they’re expected to exceed 1.4 trillion dollars of annual buying power or 30% of all retail sales. They also make up 37% of the American workforce. Here are some statistics for you to consider:

  • 20% identify as night owls and prefer to work outside of normal business hours.
  • 34% prefer to collaborate online with work colleagues, as opposed to in person or via the phone, so they’ll use instant messaging or text.
  • 45% use personal smartphones for work purposes, versus less than 20% for older generations.

This generation likes flexibility and independence, has money to spend, and is willing to do so. They tend to look at the coolest and latest things coming out on the market; therefore, as a business, it is your job to entice this age group to purchase from you. One of the aspects of accomplishing this is to approach them with personalized messages, not just group them together. I see this firsthand from my teenage daughter; it’s all about connecting with her. If you’re pitching something instead of having a conversation, millennials won’t be receptive—so much so that millennials are the top users of ad blockers online.

People on the outer fringes the millennial generation (25-35-year-olds) act differently from those on the leading edge (15-25-year-olds), so avoid painting them with the same brush. Here is what we know about targeting this group:

  • A community is very important to them; they want to stay connected.
  • They comparison shop (in the store), knowing they could go elsewhere if the price is better.
  • They’re more interested in Snapchat, Pinterest, and Facebook.

For this age group, it’s about creating a community, something they can engage with. They’re called the digital generation for a reason! They’re looking for experiences, rather than a one-time purchase. A great example is Coca Cola’s personalized bottle and can campaign. You can look for your name or share a Coke with a friend if you find their name. This campaign created a whole community that allowed purchasers to get in touch and stay in touch with family and friends; they became brand ambassadors of Coca Cola because it had something that they connected with.  

When I’m speaking to young entrepreneurs, I see this mindset. It’s not so much a traditional corporate website that will entice them—it’s the fact that you will be able to connect with them, rather than talk at them. You get what they’re thinking about; you understand there’s a greater good or social purpose to things they’re working on. As a business owner, it’s your job to help them connect to folks that have an equal interest. That way, everybody will be successful! With this in mind, what tactics will you implement to reach and engage millennials? 

Curtis C. Battles