3 Strategies for Targeting Millennials

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In your business, that is. Don’t go targeting them for something crazy, like a whack upside the head or anything. 😉 But, I digress. Onward, dear reader.

Expectations have changed. While older generations tended to pick a brand and stick with it for years — maybe decades — today’s customers are much more fickle.

This presents two new realities.

On the negative side, it can mean that retention is a nightmare. If your company makes one misstep, you may lose a millennial customer for life.

On the other hand, it presents an opportunity. When consumers demand more and are jumping ship from company to company in a snap, you can attract new business all the time.

But without good plans to reach this generation, you won’t be able to take advantage. The critical part is shifting your mentality. To understand today’s young customers, you need to think like a millennial.

Understand Influencer Marketing

Advertising works on everyone — to some degree.

But young consumers today are much harder to reach. The traditional paradigm of targeting people through TV, newspapers and radio no longer applies to many millennials. Some can go weeks without seeing a print ad or even turning on a TV set.

This is why companies need to change their thinking. Reaching out to influencers has become one of the best strategies to actually reach those coveted 18- to 30-year-olds. The fact is that many young people now spend more time on Instagram and Snapchat than anywhere else.

To reach them, you need to reach who they are connecting with. One good way to make this happen is through influencer marketing, which at its most basic level means leveraging a well-known figure in your space.

If you’re in technology, find a hip, young “geek” celebrity who has a vibrant Instagram following.

Then perhaps you shoot a short, clever video that integrates your product in a way that will resonate as not just an advertisement, but also as a brief storytelling opportunity.

Or, if a video isn’t in the cards, then create a clever photo or piece of graphic art. The key here is to craft something that is sharable and not as overtly boring as traditional advertising can be.

Your hope is that after a consumer shares it through their social media channels, you’ll get more buzz than you ever could have through a full-page product spot on CBS.

And it will be cheaper — especially if you learn how to identify influencers who don’t demand hefty appearance fees.

Simplify the Customer Experience

The times, they are a-changing — and companies need to keep up. Nobody has the time or patience to sit on hold waiting for customer service reps anymore. Today’s youngest generation has grown up with the ability to do everything online.

If you can’t offer timely, near-instantaneous service when a problem or question arises, they will find a different company that can. Speed and convenience now trump brand loyalty almost without fail.

One way to make progress is embracing the cloud.

When a business moves its contact infrastructure to the cloud, it’s able to provide modernized, up-to-date services to actually meet the demanding customer service preferences of millennials.

First off, offering multi-channel points of contact is key, and that’s where modern cloud contact centers fit in.

Chances are that your internal methods of providing customer service are limited to a few specific channels, which may be fragmented and not provide sufficient real-time interaction.

The pros who provide this as a service have already solved such logistical hurdles, maintaining robust dashboards that instantly display the history and preferences of anyone calling, chatting, or tweeting with a problem.

Some young customers will just start a conversation with a company via Twitter. Other millennials only reach out to a company as a last resort and want to do so via live chat.

To retain their business, you need to be able to handle both of those scenarios — among others — at a moment’s notice.

Develop User-Generated Content

Millennials are our most interactive generation. They have less patience than their older counterparts to remain silent when companies try to sell them through various mediums.

Instead, they want to take part in the action.

In all respects, companies should be thinking about how their operations can be improved from millennials’ input. That might be a simple chatbox for viewers of a live-streaming video to add their two cents.

Or, perhaps, you can offer some type of Wiki or forum about your services and products. No matter the exact rollout, the key is figuring out how user-generated content can improve your web presence and customer experience.

One of the most useful ways to leverage this generational tendency of collaboration is to maintain a FAQ section in which anyone with a problem can ask a question and then get responses from users who have had a similar issue.

Sometimes it takes that outside perspective from a customer — who may have the same issue —to properly show the next person the best solution.

That way, a company both improves its customer experience and learns real-world concerns about its own operations in a way that can lead to major product improvement.

In all ways, that’s a win-win.

Over to You

What are some ways you target millennials in your business?

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