With many millennials beginning to enter the workforce, marketers and advertisers alike are scratching their heads in confusion. What is it about this generation that makes them so difficult to market to?
Industry experts and business owners alike are in agreement that what used to work to gain business, simply does not work anymore.
The consumer, now more then ever, has the right to decide whether they want to be marketed to or not. Inbound marketing tactics such as SEO, content marketing and social media are quickly becoming the best way to convert these young people into loyal brand advocates.
Marketers know that as we grow into an even more interconnected and digital society, businesses must think outside the box with their strategies to reach this huge generational cohort. Print, television and paid placement ads are simply being ignored by millennials.
The question is, “Why?”
What makes us millennials so resistant to traditional forms of advertising?
Below are 3 major reasons why millennials hate traditional advertising.
1. Traditional advertisements are intrusive and in your face.
There is nothing more frustrating than when you are conducting pre-purchase research and you are bombarded with advertisements you don’t want to see or care about.
Pop-ups? We hate them.
YouTube ads? I personally can’t wait for the moment that I can hit the “skip this ad” button.
Television commercials? We fast forward right through them. That is, unless you haven't already cut the cord to cable and subscribed to Netflix.
The fact of the matter is, millennials have become very good at blocking out advertisements and finding ways to get around them. Shoving your product or service in our faces will do nothing more than cause frustration and hurt your brand’s image and reputation within this generation.
And, as the millennials’ purchasing power steadily increases and they become more active consumers, it is important to build a strong reputation with them to gain their trust and business for years to come.
2. Traditional ads aren’t genuine and we don’t trust them.
Millennials have a genuine desire to make a positive change in the world. We care about causes and we like when companies do too.
Companies such as BP and Exxon have been putting a bad taste in our mouths since our adolescence. The negative press associated with many major corporations has made us skeptical about the ethics of many businesses operating today, including their marketing and advertising departments.
Advertisements are often seen as tricky and manipulative in the eyes of millennials and they can smell them out like a drug sniffing dog.
In order make any sort of impact, companies must establish themselves as experts in whatever industry they are aligned with. They must be real, credible and most importantly authentic.
Generating content that is engaging, shareable and informative is the best way for companies to reach this customer segment.
Utilizing gamification, contest or sweepstakes can be an extremely engaging way to market to this younger demographic.
A recent example of this is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge where everyone from school teachers to athletes and celebrities dumped ice water on themselves to raise awareness for ALS. The results were remarkable in that millions of dollars were raised for the organization and they never asked for a penny.
Fun contests and marketing campaigns such as this have the unique ability to capture the attention of young adults and in turn persuade them to get behind an organization or a cause.
3. We like to search out and make our own decisions about companies and our purchases.
If one thing is for certain, it is that millennials do not like to be told what to do. We are skeptics of everything around us, constantly fact checking people, companies and ideas on our smartphones in order to get the correct information.
Millennials know what they want and they will search out for it on their own until they find exactly what they want and where to get it. Marketers can no longer say: “This is our product or service and you need it because of these reasons.”
Millennials won’t buy into your attempts and ultimately they won’t buy your product or service either.
This makes the importance of having an online presence, being visible and easily accessible to this generation all that much more important. Effective SEO and a social media presence will allow millennials to easily find your product, service or website when they search relevant queries.
After all, because they are going to search out for what it is they are looking for, you need to be able to ensure that your business will be easily found.
So stop wasting your time with overly intrusive advertisements that do not work. Invest in inbound marketing and pull millennials and customers in rather than shoving your business down their throat.
Our millennial generation, like it or not, are the next movers and shakers in this world. We will be writing the checks for the foreseeable future. So if you aren't effectively reaching this demographic, you must adjust your marketing strategy in order to engage with them and to be easily found by them online.