I wrote this post originally for LinkedIn’s marketing and advertising section
In America, there are 80 million Millennials, which represents about a fourth of the entire U.S. population. With $200 billion in annual buying power, the impact that Millennials are having on marketers is undeniable.
The trouble is that companies are still marketing towards Millennials as if they are similar to the generations that came before them; however, as with every generation, Millennials come with their own set of rules and wants that marketers must learn in order to connect with them.
Traditional marketing doesn’t work
In the age of television and radio, it was all about push marketing. If you had a product you wanted to sell, you had to take that product and push it out onto as many people as you could through commercial and radio advertising.
Instead of pull marketing, which is trying to build relationships with those who need what you have to offer, it was push marketing, which is always trying to convince and persuade everyone that you meet that you have a better product or service than your competitor.
Marketing became a numbers game and this method of marketing was very successful. Because push marketing worked on past generations, marketers continued to do it on Millennials, focusing on width instead of on depth.
As more and more companies use push marketing, it’s becoming a lot harder for businesses to use both traditional and social media to break through the noise and have an impact on Millennial purchasing decisions. Yet, even when companies are able to break through and reach Millennial consumers, companies still struggle to connect with them.
Millennials want relationships with companies
The reason many businesses fail at marketing towards Millennials is simply because they don’t invest time into building genuine relationships with them. If you, as a business, are targeting Millennials and you aren’t able to build a relationship with them, then you will never be able to persuade them, whether it’s to buy your product, to sign up for your email list, or to get them to refer someone else to your company.
In order to persuade Millennials and grab their attention, you’re going to have to make an effort to get to know them better in a way that goes beyond push marketing.
Push marketing is lazy. It’s why marketers do it, but many of the traditional methods of marketing have proven to be ineffective at capturing millennial’s attention. When marketing towards Millennials, persuasion works best when it doesn’t act or look like a television advertisement.
According to surveys, only 1% of Millennials said that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more. This is because there is no relationship being built through this form of marketing. The problem with traditional marketing and a lot of social media marketing is that it’s one way communication. There’s no trust being built through a back and forth dialogue between business and consumer. This is why only 18% of TV campaigns actually generate a positive return on investment. On the other hand, 90% of people said they trust recommendations when it comes from a personal friend, meaning Millennials feel they have to trust your company first before they even consider becoming a buying customer.
Trust can most effectively be built through a blog
The reason your business should have a blog is because blogs provide a two way interaction between business and consumer, which allows you to build genuine and authentic relationships with your Millennial audience.
Surveys show that 43% of Millennials ranked a brand’s authenticity over a brand’s quality of content when consuming news, meaning Millennials are looking for authentic relationships with the businesses they buy and consume content from. This is why 33% of Millennials rely mostly on blogs before they make a purchase decision, compared to fewer than 3% who rely on TV news, magazines and books.
In the past, older generations relied on traditional media, whereas Millennials today look to blogs. This is because Millennials connect best with businesses when communicating with people, not ads.
As humans, it’s natural that people tend to buy from and listen to individuals and companies that they trust. This is even more true with Millennials. Successful businesses, entrepreneurs, and marketers all understand that persuading Millennials to follow through on a call to action is very easy once you have built a relationship. A blog is how you build that relationship.