5 Incredible Ways to Talk to Millennials: Number 3 Will Leave You Speechless!

In our business, the “millennial gap” is one of the most common points of discussion when we sit down with a client and begin to talk about target demographics. Reaching the coveted “20-40” demo is testy: you are speaking to a group with incredibly high standards for marketing, are socially conscious, technologically sophisticated, extremely self-aware and are acutely suspicious of the feeling of “being sold to.”

Still, millennials are 80 million strong and a loyal group to brands and products that appear to share their values, or seamlessly and easily integrate into their lives. In a world of trendy how-do-you-even-keep-up marketing ploys and a ridiculously fast turnover rate for what is “cool” and what is “spent,” it’s easy to misstep.

Here are a few easy tips for navigating this tricky demo:

Develop an eye and ear for authenticity. 
“Authenticity”—my favorite word to put in quotations, and also the word that is thrown around ad nauseam when talking about marketing to millennials. It isn’t fleeting like “trendy” nor is it stuffy like “timeless” and is, I think, the kind of thing you really just have to develop an instinct about. What makes it so difficult is that it is so fluid and somewhat subjective and yet is the No. 1 thing the internet generation has become proficient at sniffing out. The simplest advice: don’t try to put lipstick on a pig; deciding that your ketchup is now “heritage” does not make it so. Be true to the core mission and vision of your organization, hone in on what your values are and what your true story is, and leverage it.

Use social media wisely, not just to use it.
Don’t overuse gimmicky hashtags. Understand when to use which social media outlet for what purpose. If you are going to drive anyone to your Facebook page, make sure it is filled with recent, relevant content. Have a consistent voice and speak in friendly, human language that is subtle on the selling part and engaging on the brand-reinforcement part. Invest in quality photography. Lastly, know that there is nothing more cringeworthy than an ad that uses “internet speak” to try to connect to the internet generation.

Favor straightforward, informative marketing tactics over flashiness.
People want unique products with real value, products that help us put our money where it matters. Flash-in-the-pan marketing gimmicks or too-complicated attempts at “viral marketing” fall flat quickly, but handing them straightforward marketing that demonstrates what makes a product different, or easier, arms them with the information they need to do their own research and ultimately, confidently make decisions as consumers.

Don’t use stereotypes as comic relief.
Yes, man buns and beards and suspenders are an easy caricature to demonstrate a particular type of human. Yes, many have developed an air of aloof malaise to deal with the “reality of living in these times, man” while drinking very expensive cocktails. Yes, it’s getting to be pretty funny how everything is “artisanal” and “handmade” and “small-batch.” However, even the cool self-awareness required to recognize these facts and the subsequent use of them as comic relief is becoming its own overused, eye-roll inducing trope.

Remember millennials are a huge group.
Millennials are in garage bands and millennials are building startups and millennials are having their third kid. The connection is the time and technology that they were born into. A big mistake brands make when “targeting millennials” is that they reach for too specific of a group, and it is often on the young side and it is often on the hipper side. If that really is your target, then great; there are plenty of ways to reach them, but probably your consumer base is actually much broader than that what that lifestyle depicts. Your marketing efforts should have a broader focus to match.

For more inspiration check out Block Club’s work geared specially towards millennials, and don’t be afraid to say hello if you’d like to work with us in the future.