3 Way Startups (and Established Brands) Can Earn Business from Millennials

By on August 8, 2019

Millennials are no longer kids showing their parents how to use an iPhone. Today’s millennials are categorized as people born between 1981 and 1997 and they are buying their own iPhones among many other things.

In fact, this very large generation (bigger than the Baby Boomers) will collectively spend $200 billion annually starting this year!

As the millennial generation gets older, not only will they have more purchasing power of their own, but they will also advance into careers where they have B2B purchasing power as well.

It’s no surprise that many startups and established brands are wondering how to serve the needs of this new generation of savvy consumers.

So, the big question is: have you thought about the ways your company can meet the demands of millennials? If you can figure out the puzzle you’ll be rewarded in cash flow.

If you’re not sure where to begin when crafting your marketing strategy for millennials, this post is for you. Today I want to discuss the most important aspects of any marketing strategy you have with this new group of big spenders.

1. Personalize Your Communication Whenever Possible

Millennials excel at multi-tasking. They’re used to scrolling, clicking and moving on. To grab the attention of this generation, provide personalized communication as often as possible.

Jewelry company, Monica Vinader, does personalization really well. In the email below to a recipient named Kristina, we see three areas of personalization: in the subject line, in the image (we see the bracelet has a K charm on it), and in the headline which also includes the name of the recipient.

This tiered level of personalization works like a charm for millennials because it increases engagement in all the right areas.

Personalization in the subject line will increase open rates, personalization in the image immediately captures the recipient’s attention, and personalization in the copy increases the likelihood that the recipient will actually read the email!

To put some exciting numbers to it, an email marketing study from Experian shows that personalized emails have 29 percent higher open rates, 41 percent higher click-through rates and double the transaction rates of non-personalized emails.

2. Find a Way to Incorporate Pets into the Mix

Millennials are less likely to be homeowners, car owners or parents, but they are more likely than any other generation to have a pet – and they take pet parenting seriously.

One excellent way to make a millennial smile and associate your brand with warm feelings is by incorporating pets into your marketing.

In this email example, Embrace Pet Health Insurance took marketing personalization and pets to the next level. Cecil is the name of the recipient’s cat, and it’s incorporated into the subject line. What pet parent wouldn’t open an email with such a compelling subject?

Inside the email, the main image is a picture of a cat, whereas dog parents received an email with an image of a dog. This type of email is very appealing to the millennial generation that loves their pets as much as they love personalization!

According to Rebecca Armstrong for ForbesAmericans are extending their lifestyles to their pets and investing in their fulfillment. They don’t just go on a run with their dogs — they talk to them, watch TV with them, buy them holiday gifts, have their portraits made… pet owners aspire to give their furry friends the best of everything.

While incorporating pets into branding, emails and ad campaigns is a start, Armstrong suggests that forward thinking companies and startups can go a step further. She says, “For an even deeper connection with pet owners, go beyond branding and consider where your company can find an opportunity to serve their needs… If you run a hotel chain, don’t just offer pet-friendly rooms. What are guests supposed to do with their pets during the day? Think about extending your brand to on-site pet day care.

Armstrong continues, “If you’re a retail brand, consider the example of IKEA Germany, which build ‘dog parking lots,’ astroturf beds where dogs hang out while you shop. This move not only bakes the idea of pet-friendliness into the core service, it adds real value to people’s lives.

3. Don’t be Afraid to Take a Stand

Millennials are growing up in the digital age where access to information about politics and social issues is easily accessed. Because of this, 51 percent of Millennial say they appreciate it when a brand takes a political stance in its advertising.

Lucie Green, worldwide director of the research company Innovation Group says, “We’re seeing a rising politicized consumer who is viewing the world in a new light through the lens of their personal circumstance and vocally questing brands, institutions and platforms – propelled by social media, live video and digital platforms.

According to Cone Communications, a public relations firm specializing in cause marketing, “Millennials are hyper aware of and have high expectations for, corporate social responsibility efforts to make the world a better place — for themselves and broader society.

Debra Kaye for Entrepreneur adds, “Indeed, millennials will switch from companies that do nothing in this arena to ones that publically share their values.

This can be seen in the #GrabYourWallet campaign and website which came into existence in 2016 when many Americans decided to boycott companies that profited from selling Trump family products, and from companies or CEOs that directly donated to the Donald Trump presidential campaign. The website’s sole purpose is to list companies that anti-Trump consumers should avoid.

On the flip side, #GrabYourWallet also provides a list of Brave Brands that “have expressed support or taken action in favor of inclusivity.

What it is important to note here is that it’s not necessary for a startup or established brand to take a strong political stance on specific issues, rather you’ll want to show that your company cares about basic human rights.

According to AdAge what we’re seeing right now “is not defined by a single issue or even a political party. This new breed of activism is predicated on a deep-seated belief that democracy and even humanity are under attack.

You’ll notice that the #GrabYourWallet campaign doesn’t list Brave Brands by their support for specific causes but rather by their support for inclusivity. That’s key. Brands don’t need to be political but they should stand for something or risk being outshined by the competition — especially when it comes to millennial buyers who want to see brands take a stance.

Getting Started

Reaching the millennial buyer is becoming a necessity for brands that want to thrive and grow their online businesses. This generation is too large to ignore and they have a lot of purchasing power.

Whether you’re an established brand or a startup, it’s time to begin brainstorming ways your company can cater to the needs of this gigantic influential generation.

About Ivan Kreimer

Ivan Kreimer is a content marketer at Foundr, a leading media company that helps entrepreneurs launch and grow their online businesses. His advice has been featured in Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, KISSmetrics, among others.
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