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MarketingAUG 2020|Chris Marcus

How to Sell to Millennials: A Digital Advertising Guide

Every marketer will tell you to follow the money. Well, right now, the money is with millennials.

Millennial shoppers, those between the ages of 18 and 35, are currently the most valuable demographic.

Wanna know why?

As of 2019, millennials are the largest demographic, possessing a whopping $600 billion in annual buying power.

By 2025, they will constitute nearly 75% of the U.S. workforce. 

So if you’re following the money (and we hope you are), continue reading to learn how to sell to millennials. 

Millennial Buying Persona 

First, to ensure your marketing is on point to attract millennials, it’s important to understand who they are and how they differ from previous generations.

If you have not read Colormatics' article covering the difference between selling to millennials and selling to baby boomers, we suggest you start there. 

Millennials cover a wide range, but there are some distinct characteristics to this buyer persona

  • Range in age from 26 and 40 (born between 1981 and 1996)
  • Are part of the “fastest growing, most diverse generation of consumers in the United States.”
  • Are currently entering their wealth accumulation life phase
  • Offer the “greatest lifetime value of any customer in the marketplace.”
  • Are most likely to refer their friends when they have a good shopping or buying experience

The most important takeaway for digital advertisers is that millennials communicate, shop, and buy differently than any previous generation. 

If you’re looking to reach a millennial audience, old school methods won’t work.

A reported 84% don’t trust traditional advertising according to a study reported on by HubSpot

Learn how to reach a millennial audience in this digital advertiser’s guide to selling to millennials.

Attracting Millennials

Millennials hate feeling “sold to.” It is important to think less of how to sell to millennials and more along the lines of how to attract millennials to your brand. 

Follow these 5 actionable steps to gain trust and build relationships with your millennial target. 

Offer Help

If you want to successfully market to millennials, you need to show them a solution to a problem they’re facing.

By tapping into the issues they’re facing, you can find a way to spin your product’s story or function to fit their needs.

Then by providing that help, you’ll build brand advocacy, so they rely on you as a solution.

Millennials value, well, value, so give them more than you’re asking for in return, and be transparent with your information (e.g. don’t hide it behind paywalls or email captures).

That transparency and trust will have them returning again and again. 

Get social 

As one of the most technologically savvy generations, social media is a place that millennials clock a lot of hours. 

And you should be spending just as much time there, too. 

By building a strong social media strategy, you’ll have an easier time connecting with the millennial buyer. 

Take for example the use of micro-influencers.

As a tactic that’s become extremely prevalent in the space because micro-influencers take the truths we know about trusted referrals, and expand that reach to a wider audience. 

So while a micro-influencer may not technically be a “friend,” they’ve already set expectations with their millennial audience, so you in turn, reap the benefits. 

Make it visual

Millennials communicate differently than other generations. And as we can see with the rise of social media, the idea of beautiful branding has been disseminated beyond just an interest of brands themselves or designers. 

Millennials want their products to look as good as they function. And are often making decisions based on the visual branding alone. 

Millennials demand content that looks good. Images, online experiences, and the overall feel of a website’s presence needs to be optimized across devices in order to reflect well on the brand.

Say it with video

“Content” doesn’t, in this case, mean television or print advertising. By and large, millennials ignore these marketing channels, and instead view all of their marketing online.

Based on a recent survey, “among the respondents, 85% of millennial consumers report they’ve purchased a product or service after viewing a video.” 

There are three key takeaways that highlight video as one of the most powerful forms of content:

  • Memorable 

And there’s the data to back it up. 21 percent of consumers overall and 29 percent of millennials find video more memorable than other forms of content, over display ads, email marketing, and especially something as dry and time consuming as a case study or all text ad. Video can engage and share your message quickly, in a way that not only entertains, but will stick with your audience.

  • Engaging

Consumers opt for video more than any other form of content: 45 percent of consumers overall and 56 percent of millennials have said they feel that video is more engaging than any other type of content. Hands down.

  • Preferred

Insights and data on brand and marketing communications is clear: 36 percent of consumers overall and 46 percent of millennials prefer video content to other forms of brand and marketing communication.

Support a Cause

Social issues are often a big consideration for millennials’ purchasing decisions. They’re typically more likely to avoid purchasing a product from a place whose values they don’t believe in. 

Even further, an astonishing 50% of millennials are more willing to make a purchase from a company if that purchase supports a cause.

Partnerships with organizations that support social causes are also very effective.

A reported 90% of millennials are likely to switch from one brand to another if the second supports a cause—even if cost and quality of the two are the same.

Video Ad Success

We know that video is successful with a millennial audience because we’ve seen it work first hand.

Lemonade, a digital insurance company tasked us with creating a video for them to explain how their insurance has turned the old, stuffy model on its head, and completely disrupted the industry.

To tell the story of why millennials need insurance and how Lemonade fills that need we used an animated explainer video.

Explainer Video: Lemonade Insurance

This video was viewed more than 1.5 million times before Lemonade launched in the US and to date has been viewed more than 10 million times.

The video is often used to introduce Lemonade leadership at events and television appearances, and makes it clear why Lemonade is one of the top choices for tech-savvy millennials out there.

So, if you’re wondering how to market to millennials, keep in mind advertising to millennials is a completely different model than old school tv, radio and print ads.

Attracting millennial consumers means you have to offer help, get social, make it visual and chances are, if you’re not doing it with video, you’re not doing it right. 

Need video help? We’re here. Reach out to Colormatics for help crafting a video, like the ones created for Lemonade, for your brand or business.