Want to Reach Millennials? You Need to Get Personal

By Lindsay Macdonald - January 2, 2019
4 mins read time
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Millennials are changing the way brands interact with their customers. Gone are the days in which brands dictate the way consumers look and feel. Instead, more and more brands are taking inspiration from their own audiences.

Millennials, more than any other generation, aren’t going to just accept products the way they are. According to Salesforce’s Trends in Customer Trust study, “More than preceding generations, Millennials and Gen Zers demand connected, personalized experiences across their entire customer journey.”

Updating the buying experience to be relevant for Millennials means moving away from the cookie-cutter customer profile. It means understanding and acting on the diversity of your customers’ preferences. It means that making your customers feel special can make them your most powerful advocates.

With Millennials, buying is personal. Your marketing strategy should be too.

For Millennials, authentic content drives decision-making

Right now, there are more Millennials in the workforce than any other age bracket, and their consumer choices matter.

According to a recent Stackla report, “Sixty percent of people said user-generated content (UGC) is the most authentic form of content, and that social content from their friends and family impact their purchasing decisions. And this isn’t just talk. Over half of Millennials have made travel plans or decided to eat at a restaurant because of consumer-created content they saw on social media.

Because sharing and engaging with authentic, trusted content is heavily affecting Millennials’ purchasing decisions, brands have to place content strategy at the forefront of their marketing planning. For travel and food-centric brands especially, leveraging the UGC your customers — especially Millennials — are creating isn’t just a recommended best practice, it should be a necessary component of your marketing strategy.

Over 50% of Millennials have made travel plans or decided to eat at a restaurant because of consumer-created content they saw on social media.Click To Tweet

A generation hungry for experiences that satisfy diverse tastes

For Millennials, experiences are everything. Eating a meal and spending time with friends are more than just good times; they’re opportunities to create engaging content.

Content marketers need to take this hunger for relatable visuals into account. Creating a campaign that appeals to Millennials is a matter of recognizing them as content creators that can contribute to your brand’s marketing strategy.

Invite customers to participate in your branding with contests and hashtags. By including their content in your marketing strategy, brands can prove their loyalty back to customers. And this strategy works — 98 percent of Millennials report that they are more likely to buy a product after taking part in an experiential campaign.

With 54 percent of Millennials reporting they post about food or beverages about 2x a month on average, brands have the opportunity to tap into an extraordinary wealth of user-generated content. Leveraging that authentic content immediately personalizes the buying journey for customers — a key trust factor for Millennials.

Millennials are on the move and they’re sharing every step

Millennials value a healthy work-life balance, and that means a healthy appetite for new experiences. Attractive imagery makes all the difference when exciting potential customers about jetting off to a new a travel destination, and for Millennials, engaging content is even more important. What better way to entice them than to show where they could be going with incredible, relatable images?

Millennials say content is most influential in making travel purchase decisions. In fact, according to Stackla’s recent report, 49 percent of travel purchase decisions are made based on consumer posts. In comparison, only 18 percent of travel decisions are made based on professional photography and just 5 percent are based on celebrity or influencer posts.

Millennials are looking for the authentic, user-generated content they trust to provide a more personal look into what a potential vacation spot may actually have to offer them.

Millennials don’t care if content is professionally produced, they’re just concerned if it is cool and authentic. Selling a travel spot isn’t about mocking up a flawless presentation of a perfect day on the beach. Millennials care about the nuances of new experiences, rainy days and all.

Talk the talk (but mostly walk the walk) when it comes to company values

Marketing to Millennials means that you can’t just slide by with a good product. Millennials want to know that the company, as a whole, stands for something that matters to them.

According to Trends in Customer Trust, Millennials and Gen Zers will trust a company 54 percent more if the company works to protect the environment, 53 percent more if the company provides equal pay for equal work or fosters diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and 52 percent more if the company gives back to the community in the form of corporate philanthropy.

And Millennials are significantly more likely to be concerned with sustainable living than previous generations, as well as the most willing to pay for products and services with a social or environmental connection.

Prove that your brand stands for something by not only expressing values, but showing them. Authentic, relatable visuals can tell a consumer a story about your brand’s values in a matter of seconds. Share images of employees volunteering and spending time outdoors. Post photos of partner charities and employees using time off for volunteering. Millennials want to know they can personally connect with your brand.

What can we learn from Millennials? Get real

If there’s one mantra that brands can take away to develop an effective marketing strategy geared toward the Millennial generation, it’s this: just be real.

Millennials know that there are real people behind your brand. Develop personalized buying journeys that reflect human values and preferences. Ditch the stock-art library; original content is always king. Treat your customers like you would want to be treated: as more than just a number on an Excel spreadsheet. Simply put, be authentic and get real with content.

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