Google “Millennials trends 2019” and you’ll find a host of articles about the things Millennials are into – from food, to travel, to dating – to themselves! But is this info helping or hurting brands trying to reach this oh-so-desirable generation as it enters its prime?

The truth is, it depends on where you’re getting your information – and how you’re using it. Here are five ways you’re alienating this target audience – and how to turn things around.

1. Forgetting Their Baseline in Your CX

With an age range spanning 22-37 years old, Millennials are a diverse group. Maybe those on the older side remember a less technologically advanced life, but for many, technology is just part of life.

“For the emerging generation that doesn’t know a world before Uber, Uber is not an innovation – it’s a standard. So that’s where their expectations start,” says Millennial Generation Expert Ryan Jenkins.

This observation is an excellent reminder to look at the customer experience you’re offering – and the way you’re promoting it. If you’re framing something as mind-blowing, when it’s perceived as basic by Gens Y and Z, you’re only promoting how disconnected you are from the reality of your target audience.

Social listening over the long term provides insights about consumer expectations, and how to exceed them.

2. Being Overly Focused on Causes

It’s a well-known fact that Millennials love brands that stand for something – or is it?

NPR reports that Millennial purchase habits are fairly similar to those of other generations with regard to motor vehicle, food and housing. “Their consumption habits are similar to their parents’ and grandparents’ — millennials just have less money to spend.”

Given that, the thinking is Millennials are choosier about where and how they spend – and they want to do some good with their money.

But that doesn’t mean you can throw proceeds at any cause and win their hearts. And it doesn’t mean you can’t win their hearts if you don’t attach your brand to a cause.

Use sentiment analysis to determine where these consumers’ passion lies – and what does motivate them to spend. Maybe it’s attachment to a cause, or environmentally friendly production practices… or maybe it’s just selling a quality product that lasts long enough to be worth the spend.

3. Choosing the Wrong Influencers

Millennials don’t trust marketers – preferring to hear from friends, family, and even other consumers when it comes to evaluating a product or service’s value.

Using influencers to put a human face on your marketing just makes sense – as long as you’ve got the right humans for the job.

Sincerity is key, so be sure you use social analytics and sentiment analysis to find engaging influencers that resonate with your target audience and get them excited about your brand. This could mean celebrities, or not. It could mean an army of micro-influencers who share their values. Your analytics will tell you.

4. Not Focusing on Mobile

Brands should be well aware by now that mobile optimization is critical for reaching modern consumers – especially those in Gens Y and Z. But what does that mean? Consider these stats:

  • Of Millennial smartphone owners, 50 percent use their phones more than a computer to access the internet
  • Millennials use their phone for an average of 14.5 hours per week
  • Americans aged 18-34 make up 29 percent of the US population, and account for 41 percent of the total time spent using smartphones
  • In the US, 18-24-year-old smartphone users spend an average 37 hours 6 minutes monthly using apps; those aged 25-34 spend an average of 35 hours 40 minutes monthly

Given that last bullet, in-app ads could be an avenue for some brands. But in general, focusing more on mobile marketing options – like social media – versus things like print and TV is also important.

Which channels? Do some social recon to find out where your audience is – but Instagram will certainly be one of them.

5. Treating Them All the Same

No matter which audience you’re after, it’s important to treat people like individuals. But this is even more important with Millennials, who demand personalization and authenticity from brands – and no, they’re not narcissistic for it. This applies for every age group.

Remember psychographics? These are the attributes that define behaviors, attitudes, feelings, and values for consumers – and they’re far more useful than simple demographics. Millennials aren’t all one thing, so you have to look for commonalities and define audience segments based on shared interests and passions.

What audience segmenting always reveals is that in most things there is demographic crossover. So, you’re never really just marketing to Millennials, or Centennials, or Baby Boomers. You’re marketing to “people who love goat yoga and chai tea on a Saturday morning.” And that segment will include several age groups and genders.

This is why sentiment analysis is the most important component in modern AI analytics tools. You can’t get anywhere by stereotyping Millennials – or anyone, really. They want to be treated like individuals.

Everyone does.

Keep that in mind as you market to them, and as you lay the groundwork for Generation Z. They’re about to outnumber Millennials – and they have their own unique wants and needs. Use social data to guide your efforts, and you’ll deliver on them just fine.

Have you seen our AI-boosted sentiment analysis tools in action? Reach out for a customized demo!


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