Competing for market share is a challenge that crosses all industries. Is your business currently marketing to the largest generation segment, millennials? Now out-pacing baby boomers, millennials are 80 million strong in America alone, with $200 billion in annual buying power. They are the most ethnically and racially diverse generation, and are on their way to being the most educated.
How can businesses reach this valuable demographic? According to the Elite Daily Millennial Consumer Study for 2015, 33 percent of millennials named blogs as their top media source. Does your marketing strategy include this vocal and active group? Consider how the results of this study should influence how you engage millennials.
Trendsetters And Brand Ambassadors
Elite Daily, an online platform geared specifically for millennials, has an audience of over 74 million unique monthly visitors. They say, “We believe that millennials are valuable to brands because they are early adopters and active brand ambassadors on social media.”
It’s about more than just reaching millennials, though. This young and vibrant group make up 25 percent of the U.S. population, and have a lot of influence over older generations. Millennials are considered trendsetters across industries, including food, clothing, automobiles, electronics, and health and beauty. Therefore, grabbing their attention and loyalty is key to reaching other generations as well.
In fact, a 2012 study found that seven out of 10 millennials feel it’s their responsibility to share feedback about good and bad experiences about the products they use. Even more telling, 74 percent of the 4,000 millennials interviewed for the study believe they influence the purchasing decisions of their peers, including those in other generations.
Millennials are quick to see through traditional advertising campaigns. Only one percent of those surveyed said that traditional advertising makes them trust a brand more, and less than three percent rely on news, magazines, or books to make their purchasing decisions.
Even when it comes to obtaining news, 43 percent of millennials rank authenticity as more important than content. They have to trust a source before they will even read the content of their news. “That’s why they like blogs so much. Blogs, they feel, are written by an individual, there’s typically not an agenda, and it’s a personal account of their thoughts and how they’re feeling, and so they can better align with that, especially if the content is written by someone who understands them or someone who is a millennial themselves,” explained Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding.
Blogs help millennials connect with people, not with large corporations. Millennials want to be engaged, not feel like they are being told or coerced into buying something. Sixty-two percent say that if a brand engages them via social media, they are more likely to remain a loyal customer. Forty-two percent are interested in helping their favorite brands develop future products.
A company using its blog or social media outlet to engage and gather feedback adds to the company’s authenticity. Blogging and social media use shows millennials that a business is really interested in its customers’ opinions and satisfaction.
Use your blog to engage readers in industry-specific topics too, not just to feature your products. For example, a whole-foods company may blog about how to get more fruits and vegetables in people’s diet. Or, write about how to make healthy meals for children to eat. These topics show that a business is interested in the welfare of its customer. Through a blog, a company builds trust and adds to the authenticity of its products.
Millennials Are Loyal
The thought that millennials are not brand loyal is a myth. “Despite popular belief, [millennials] do indeed develop strong brand loyalty when presented with quality products and actively engaged by brands,” said Elite Daily co-founder David Arabov. In a survey, 60 percent said that they are often or always loyal to the brands they currently use. What influences this loyalty? The key is to build a relationship and help the consumer form a deep connection to your brand. Secondly, more than half of the respondents said they choose quality over price. “Quality product” and “good customer experience” were the two most cited reasons for millennials wanting to share information about a brand they like.
In the survey, there was a surprising factor that influenced brand loyalty: giving back to society. Despite the belief that millennials are supposedly self-absorbed, 75 percent of them say that it’s important to them to buy from a brand that gives back to society instead of only focusing on making profits. This is partly because of the millennial’s lack of trust in corporations and the view that big business is greedy.
It’s important to remember that millennials have been hit hard by the financial crisis. In addition to facing high unemployment rates, student-loan debt has now topped $1.2 trillion dollars. Sadly, 75 percent of millennials said that the economy has negatively affected their ability to save and spend money, and 62 percent think they will not receive social security at age 66. The burden of debt and the lack of high-paying jobs has left many millennials with a negative impression of corporate America. Conversely, millennials love companies that support local communities. Seven in 10 recycle at home. They want to buy from companies that care about people and the environment, too.
How can a blog build on consumer loyalty? Use your blog to build a deep connection with your customer. Let them know about your community involvement. Get them involved. Invite customers to participate in charity events that your company may be involved in. Offer incentives, such as discounts on products for participation.
Above all, integrate these promotions with your social media. Forty-three percent of millennials said that Facebook is the social network that influences their spending habits the most. Instagram was in second place with 22 percent saying that it had the most influence. Use these mediums to promote community activities that link to a larger article on your blog, including pictures of employees volunteering their time.
The benefit is two-fold. First, you are informing your current customers and followers about what you are doing. Secondly, by promoting a community event, new customers may find you when searching for that event via their search engine. Even if they do not go on to buy from you then, you have left the impression of being an authentic and community-driven organization.
Millennials are part of the social generation, and they use technology to stay connected. Eighty-seven percent of millennials have two or three devices they use on a daily basis. Engaging them via the platform they prefer is imperative.
However, it’s critical to remember millennials aren’t just tech junkies posting selfies to Instagram everyday. They are deeply connected to their brands, feel passionately about the products they use, and they want to share their experiences with others. Creating a vehicle for conversation between business and consumer is key to engaging this pivotal group. A blog creates just that opportunity.
Start a conversation by starting a blog. Think of it as more than just your regular ramblings about products or your industry. Create a content strategy. What do your customers want to read about? What topics will influence their perception of your company and the products or services you sell?