Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

The Millennials are coming … but wait, they’re here!

This audience requires new marketing strategies … Millennial marketing is here and now

Generation Y, numbering 80 million young people born beginning in the mid-1980s, is already shifting how we communicate, how we work together, expectations for work/life balance, career building … and marketing. Millennial marketing requires a new approach.

Organizations large and small are preparing for the new generation as Boomers retire and leave vacancies in traditional hierarchies. Marketers are seeing the impact of mobile online access–from research to shopping. Every industry is affected, whether they’re ready or not.

The numbers alone tell a story

Millennial marketing statistics

Boomers, a generation of 78 million, are retiring, leaving gaps in leadership and management that can’t be filled by the smaller numbers of Generation X.

“As the year 2011 began on Jan. 1, the oldest members of the Baby Boom generation celebrated their 65th birthday. In fact, on that day, today, and for every day for the next 19 years, 10,000 baby boomers will reach age 65.” (Pew Internet Research)

10,000 a day. Really. 

It’s not just the huge move Boomers are making towards healthier aging, a more active retirement or even second careers. It’s the gaps this generation is leaving behind as they move out of the workforce. And the shifts in marketing … requiring new marketing strategies … that organizations of all sizes must address now … or be left behind.

Are you ready for the far-reaching shifts in your workforce and in your marketing?

Many organizations, particularly in traditional industries such as manufacturing, have noted the loss of experienced, long-term employees, and the lack of interest or commitment in the younger generation to step in and learn a trade.

And, as you position your organization and market to this generation, both to recruit employees and to build your brand  and reach new audiences, keep in mind … it’s not going to be the way it used to be. The influence Gen Y is having on our communication styles affects all generations, not just how you reach the Millennials.

Gen Y/Millennial characteristics that will drive how you recruit
  • Talented Millennials are extremely discerning when it comes to selecting an employer.
  • They value social media freedom, device flexibility and work mobility over salary in accepting a job offer.
  • They want to know your story. They want to connect with your brand. They expect you to stand for something.
  • Millennials change jobs at an almost staggering rate, averaging a new job every 3.2 years.
  • They’re highly ambitious, with most placing an importance on jobs with chances for career progression and personal growth.
  • Millennials are much less likely than their predecessors to stay in unrewarding jobs. “They’re smart, they’re mobile, and they know it.”

How does this apply to marketing … and recruiting?

After all, isn’t recruiting a form of marketing? You must connect with a specific target audience, engage them in what you have to offer, then decide if there is a good match. How and where you communicate must align with how and where they communicate.

Millennial marketing uses social media and technology


5 essential principles to apply to your new Millennial marketing strategy

1. Social media and technology are essential communication tools. And messages must be simple, conversational, visual and authentic.

2. A mobile, online presence is more important than a basic website … a recent webinar I attended included an admissions and enrollment director for a college … he said they were doing okay with their website, but when they built a responsive, mobile-oriented website, their inquiries doubled … DOUBLED! A website isn’t enough. It must function well on a smartphone and communicate in straightforward, simple, direct language. It must be dominated by pictures and video, not copy. It must offer something of value to the browser.

3. Define your authentic story, the “why” behind who you are and what you offer. Gen Y craves authenticity over anything else, according to many sources. And they have been raised on corporate messaging so can see through words that don’t ring true or ideas that might seem off. Every organization has a story to tell about their values, who they serve, their reason for being. Make sure that’s being communicated.

4. Appeal to the multi-tasking perspective by using multiple levels of contact, from a mobile website to social media to email to direct mail. Provide information in short nuggets (for short attention spans) and build the story from different directions. Use testimonials and quotes, videos, memes on social media, pictures on Instagram. One story can be communicated in many ways through different channels.

5. No more stuffy language and formal conversations, no matter how you’re communicating. Whether it’s the website or an email, shorten information, use bullet points, eliminate acronyms, speak and write authentically as if you were having a conversation. Tell your story in a way they want to hear it. They want to be part of the story of your brand.

How does your program measure up? Is it time to create a new Millennial marketing strategy?

No time to read. Stronger visuals instead of more words. Mobile-friendly communications. Authenticity and a story that’s worth sharing. No matter who your audience is …  this is where marketing is going. Look again at those numbers. 36% of the workforce by next year. 46% by 2020, just seven years from now. Don’t fall behind. Don’t fall victim to entropy.

Begin now to plan and carry out a new Millennial marketing strategy … and the rest of the audiences you must reach to be successful. Because those Millennials are leading the massive changes we’re all experiencing.

Interested in talking further about creating Millennial marketing that aligns with these principles?

Contact us by email, or visit our website for more information on our audience-focused brand optimization process.

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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