How to Sell to a Generation that Hates You?

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Marketing to the Millennial Generation presents a bigger challenge than marketing to the previous generation. Part of the reason for that is that millennials hate ads. There are some things you can do to reach them, without turning them off when you do.

According to Alex Rynne, Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, one of the reasons millennials hate ads is because they view them as “authoritative and one-sided”. The millennial mindset is geared much more towards cooperation than competition, as well as more towards autonomy than authority. The type of “nine out of ten experts recommend…” advertising that proved so effective in the past is proving to be completely ineffective with millennials. In fact, they do everything in their power to avoid such ads.

They’ve also proven to be resistant to ads that attempt to use popular catchphrases appropriated from their various subcultures. Many of those subcultures are based on the principles of anti-consumerism, and they tend to be offended rather than flattered by corporate attempts to reach them by using phrases developed within them. Rather than creating a desire to purchase the product, it can instead create a resistance to purchasing it.

Millennials prefer to initiate contact with companies, rather than be confronted with an aggressive sales pitch. They are also much more likely to read consumer reviews about goods and services than company literature, which they view as biased. All this may sound discouraging, but there are still some things you can do, as well some you can avoid doing, to successfully reach millennials, now the largest demographic in the consumer market. However, not all members of that demo

Effective Marketing Strategies

  • Market Segments

Although millennials are now the largest demographic, not all of its members are alike. Painting your product with a broad brush won’t satisfy detail-oriented millennials. In an article in Forbes, AJ Agrawal said that , “Millennials are the most diverse generation to have ever existed…Marketers must think in terms of segments rather than demographics.” Each segment has its own preferred style of communication and set of personal priorities. Effective marketing demands learning exactly what those priorities are.

  • Customer Relationships

The best way to learn about customer priorities is by developing and maintaining strong customer relationships. Social media has made it possible to create consistent ongoing dialogue with customers. Millennials prefer to engage in two-way dialogue rather than merely having their questions answered by an authority. Conversations with customers enable you to learn a great deal about their preferences.

Ray Wood of LockedOn has found what he calls the R.E.D. approach to be very effective. It incorporates millennials’ desire for relationship, engages them by demonstrating specific benefits of the product and shows how a company differs from the competition. Perhaps most importantly, it acknowledges and respects the individual differences of consumers. After all, nobody wants to be treated as nothing more than an identical member of a consumer group.

  • Increased Availability

Today’s consumers aren’t satisfied with receiving customer service during regular office hours. In today’s fast-paced society, most people don’t have time to make purchases or compare product information until after working hours. Consumers want customer service to be as readily available as products are.

.While it may seem daunting, providing stellar customer service doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Creating and utilizing customer support forums is a great way to not just stay in touch with your customers, but allow them to meet and stay in touch with one another. YouTube videos are another inexpensive way to provide superior customer service and answer potential questions about your products.

Customers and Marketing

Through the power of social media, some of your most effective marketers can be your customers themselves. By establishing a strong presence on social media and encouraging participation through the use of special offers, your customers are happy to help spread the word about your goods and services. Social media is also a great way to track the success of any marketing campaign through the number of likes and shares it receives.

Millennials invest a great deal of time and energy in establishing their personal priorities. Investing in demonstrating your interest in learning more about them as individuals can reap great rewards.

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