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  • Marketing to Millennials
    Michael Fleischner

    The Millennial Generation was born between 1977 and 1998 and is just beginning to enter the workforce. Members of this 75 million person group are being raised at the most child-centric time in our history and the impact to marketers is undeniable.

    In general, it is said that this group displays a great deal of confidence. This could be the result of focus they receive from parents and high expectations placed upon them – not to mention their new found independence with the advent of cell phones, the internet, and other electronic forms of communication. This is truly the first generation to grow up completely online and as a result, the marketing mix used to target them needs to evolve. As you might expect, this group is technically literate like none other.

    Socially, Millennials are different as well. They are typically team-oriented, banding together to date and socialize rather than pairing off. They work well in groups, preferring this to individual endeavors. They are also good at multi-tasking and were the ones studying while listening to the radio or watching television - all the more reason to ensure that you utilize cross-media marketing and ensure consistency among your communications.

    From an academic perspective, they are the group that was able to play a sport, attend school, and engage in social endeavors. Millennials believe in going green and supporting endeavors that are good for the environment.

    When it comes to work, Millennials seem to expect structure. They acknowledge and respect positions and titles, and want a relationship with their boss. Millennials are in need of mentoring and they'll respond well to the personal attention. When considering the management of Millenials, be mindful that they appreciate structure and stability. Mentoring Millennials should be more formal, with set meetings and a more authoritative attitude on the mentor's part.

    How to Market

    Now that you understand a little more about the target you are seeking to attract, consider the places they go for information and the way they behave. Millennials are logging into their MySpace and Facebook accounts 3 – 4 times each day, sending instant messages to friends, and uploading their videos to YouTube. Are you there?

    1. Listen to the conversation. Where many businesses are failing today is that they are not listening to the conversations that the Millennials are having about their products or their company. Sign up for Google Alerts, visit Technorati and see what individuals are blogging about.
    2. Create accounts in FaceBook and MySpace and other Social Media. Put you name out there. Make sure that you company has a space among social media outlets. One thing to keep in mind though is to not be overly commercial. Millennials can see right through it. Rather, be genuine and let your prospective market understand what you’re really about and what you stand for.
    3. Communicate on a personal level. Create a two way dialogue with your audience. Give them an opportunity to speak to you. Whether you let them rate your products, share comments, or share their experience with friends, providing a forum to socialize is essential.
    4. Focus on consistent messaging. Regardless of which media type you use (email marketing, direct mail, adwords, etc.), keep your messaging consistent. If you say one think and do another, or change your messaging frequently, you will not be building the trust necessary to ensure lifetime customer value.
    5. Be creative. When your marketing is creative, it can very quickly gain momentum. With the advent of YouTube, Flickr, and Delicious, messages are quickly shared and distributed. Don’t force the issue. Rather, create something meaningful, fun, and worth sharing. Before you know it, the Millennials will be sharing and distributing information about your and your brand.

    Improving the effectiveness of your marketing to Millennials is no small undertaking. To be truly successful, you need to understand the social dependence these individuals have when communicating and the value they place on the opinion of others. Although much of Millennial marketing needs to happen online, don’t lose track of some tradition media like direct mail. As much as marketing has changed, traditional media can still be effective – just make sure it has a social component.

    ****************************
    Michael Fleischner is an Internet marketing expert and founder of MarketingScoop.com. He has more than 13 years of marketing experience and has appeared on the TODAY Show, Bloomberg Radio, and other major media. Michael is also the author of SEO Made Simple: Strategies for Dominating the World's Largest Search Engine and The Webmasters Book of Secrets: Improve Search Engine Rankings. Click here!

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