Millennials, sometimes called Gen Y, make up the demographic of Americans born in the 1980s and early 1990s. There are 86 million of us (7% more than our parental baby boomers), and we have a projected annual spending power of $2.45 trillion by 2015.
But while my generation enjoys an unprecedented populace and purchasing power, don't boost those projected profit margins just yet — we are tough customers. Coming of age in an information-rich digital world has instilled in us high expectations for the services and products on which we choose to spend our time and money. We value excellent service and high quality goods over blind brand loyalty. And while this could be a problem for large corporations that spend millions on developing brand recognition, there is an opportunity here for smaller businesses.
Want first-hand advice on how to market to Millennials from a real live 90s kid? Here are 5 tips on inbound marketing strategies for small to mid-size companies that will help you reach Gen Y! 1. Make it easy. 63% of adults use their smart phones to get online, and Millennials are not afraid of accessing information or making purchases via cell Internet. Hint: we love our smart phones and the apps we download to them because they make buying, communicating, and finding information easy. So make sure that your website is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate! If we can't find what we want or figure out how to pay for it immediately, we'll move on, likely to a competitor that provides a more convenient customer experience.
2. Be straight with us. We are extremely well-informed and have constant access to tons of information. We aren't fooled by your company's self-promotion if we've heard or read bad peer reviews, which are available in abundance. So be transparent and honest with us! We respect businesses that pay attention to criticism, take responsibility, and make a change. If you make a mistake, tell us — we'll probably find out anyway, and we'll trust you more if you're honest about it in the first place.
3. Provide high quality goods and services. Millennials prefer buying things that have real (rather than perceived) value. We have very little brand loyalty, and choose instead to rely on peer recommendations and product experience when making consumer decisions. This is great for SMBs, because you can focus on producing a great product instead of spending money on advertising a mediocre one.
4. Start a conversation While we are guilty of allowing a few cat videos to go viral, we appreciate substantial content. Give us something meaningful or controversial (we love to argue!) to talk about, and it will help direct attention to your company. We are very into values-based buying, and we care about things like social responsibility, sustainability, and ethical treatment of employees. Draw attention to the socially positive efforts of your own company to earn our respect and recommendations!
5. Be quick. This hardly needs to be said, but we are a generation accustomed to instant gratification. Make sure that your website works well, you provide timely and helpful responses to queries on your blog or social media pages, and that your customer service is excellent. Prompt service (whether it's over-the-phone troubleshooting or an email notice that our order has shipped) is highly valued, and will keep the harsh judgment of the Gen Y consumer at bay.
With its focus on social media, informational content creation, and better customer engagement, inbound marketing is a great way to delight your Millennial customers. Gen Y is the future of consumer behavior, and that's why we believe that inbound is the future of marketing. Want more information on how inbound can help your company succeed? Contact us, or click below to check out a free e-book!