Breaking Through To Millennials


In today’s ultracompetitive mortgage market lenders of all sizes are realizing the need to connect with millennial borrowers. To do so, it is critical to understand who these potential borrowers are and the best ways to market to them.

I recently listened to a webinar that provided great insight into this topic. The title of the webinar was “Marketing to Millennials: Essential Strategies for B2B and B2C” Presented by: Trish Witkowski, Foldfactory with Steve Belmonte, of Accuzip.

Here are some of the key insights that they shared. They started with who are Millennials and how big of an opportunity this demographic represents?

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Who are the Millennials?

  • k.a. “Gen Y”
  • 1980-2000 15-35 years old
  • Gen Y= 87+million
  • Gen X=69 million
  • Baby Boomers 78 million

Gen Y will be the largest and most powerful group of consumers this nation has ever seen (Kenneth Gronbach, The Age Curve). Its members are already consuming at 500% of their parents’ level in adjusted dollars for age. (Kenneth Gronbach, The Age Curve)

Millennials are digital natives. They have grown up in digital environments. The rest of us are digital pioneers. Only 6% think online advertising is credible. (SocialChorus) 95% see friends as their most believable source of product information. (SocialChorus)

The topic of marketing to millennials is not a new one but everyone wants to talk about what the big guys are doing. The challenge when looking at the big guys is the resources that they have at their disposal and understanding how to apply that to your business. Look at Coca-Cola, their marketing budget is just under 3 Billion. Nike is at $2.4 billion in marketing spending.

The good news is that budget aside, the same principles that these companies use to market to Millennials can apply to your business.

Here are ten principles of Marketing to Millennials (M2M)

  1. Authenticity– Are you authentic? So you have to ask yourself…
    1. Are we who we say we are?
    2. Are we transparent?
    3. Do we accept responsibility?
    4. Do we share our passion?
    5. Are we consistent?
    6. Do we care?
  2. Accessibility– 70% of Twitter users surveyed expect a response from brands they reach out to on Twitter (Lithium Technologies) 53% want that response in under an hour. 72% want that response in under an hour when they have a complaint. In this study it talked about how a negative brand experience could quickly change into a positive one if the response came within under an hour. They want you to acknowledge them and let them know that you are working to address their problem or concern.
  3. The Human Touch– Brands are moving from intellectual connections to emotional connections. The ability to have a human touch is really important. It’s all about creating those brand connections that create brand loyalty. 95% of all decisions are based on emotion. Think about it, you buy from people you like, you buy products that you love. It s about creating the relationship.
  4. Consciousness– Over 85% of Millennials correlate their purchasing decisions to the responsible efforts a company is making. (SquareSpace) Is your company making responsible efforts?

An example of a company that is applying this principle is Life is Good. The last page of their catalog talks all about growing the good. Giving Back. Cause marketing. Cause marketing is when for-profit business partners with a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. Cause marketing tips: Be authentic, make a connection, work it into corporate culture and don’t just write a check.

  1. Personalization– Personalized marketing communications stand out. Advancements in print media have taken the cost and complexity out of versioning. This allows companies of all sizes to do amazing things that really stand out.
  2. Speed- Millennials have a great need for speed. So, as a company you need to think about: Load speed of your web pages, quick clicks, fast checkout process, and fast response. They don’t have a lot of patience waiting for things.
  3. Technology Integration– In general Millennials expect a technology-integrated brand experience. We now spend more than 8 hours a day consuming media. (ZenithOptiMedia, 2015) So much of that is digital- our phones, tablets, laptops, podcasts etc. So print and the tangible experience have the opportunity to have a huge impact. Print + technology (email, PURL’s QR codes etc.)
  4. Social Media -Millennials are very social. Social media tips: No blatant sales pitches, keep it short, use good social media manners, interact with them, create opportunities to share, have a sense of humor. 41% of Millennials said the main reason they abandon content is that it’s too long (NewsCred) You have to be thinking about getting to the point before they abandon the content.
  5. Rewards– Millennials love loyalty programs. 68% of 20-34 year olds said they would change where they shopped if it meant getting more program rewards. (Bond Brand Loyalty) One third of those surveyed reported buying something they didn’t need or want just to earn points or increase membership status. (Bond Brand Loyalty)
  6. Ease of Use– There should be no barriers to entry in the brand experience. Easy access to website, mobile friendly etc.

Reach Millennials on their mobile devices. Think about how to get them on their mobile devices. They are always on their mobile devices. Use print to enhance the digital experience.

B2B- 46% of potential buyers researching B2B products are Millennials today, up from 27% in 2012. (Google and Millward Brown Digital) By 2020, the U.S. workforce will be 50% Millennials. (Millennials as B2B Buyers) So the key is the principles are the same.

So where should B2B focus their efforts? Definitely in mobile. 42% of researchers use a mobile device during the B2B purchasing process. (Google and Millward Brown Digital) and that trend is only going to go up and up.

The “Mobile First” Strategy: Responsive web design, intuitive navigation, speed, ease of use, and integration of video. 70% of professionals researching B2B products and services now use video across the purchase path. (Google and Millward Brown Digital) Integrating video is a big part of the purchase process. Get your clients to take video of themselves using your product and post it to your website.

Millennials preferred attributes for doing business: ease of doing business, willingness to collaborate, and industry/marketplace expertise. (IBM Institute for Business Value) Millennials rely on analytics…and the opinions of others.

70% of B2B decision-makers today begin their research through a generic online search. (Google and Millward Brown Digital) Millennials are open minded. Whether they are spending their own money or someone else’s, Millennials expect the best value.   So what works? Stand out format, personalized content, targeted audience and it must be memorable.

The key to breaking through to Millennials is understanding who they are and how they prefer to be marketed to. What works? Creative and interactive format, integration of mobile technology, combination of print and digital, integration of video, and simplicity of concept.

This is the digital generation who demands personalization, ease of use, and the ability to interact with your brand where and when they want. The combination of digital and print will help you stand out to the Millennial crowd.

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