Welcome to the first installment of Marketing: A Millennial’s Mindset. I’m your host - A Millennial. You may be wondering why you should care what I have to say. I’m young and have virtually no money. But, unless your business is something regarding retirement homes, you should 100% care what I/we think. (Even then, we have grandparents that we love and are increasingly becoming the ones to care for them, so you should still probably listen to what we have to say.) If you aren’t convinced, look at the numbers: The 92 million of us that make up “millennials” spend a combined $600 billion each year. That’s insane.
Also, you can check out my favorite study on Millennials here to learn more about us: http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/
Clearly, we are worth marketing to.
So, let’s get started! Do you need help with marketing? Most people that own a business or sell a product will always answer ‘yes’ to this question. Marketing is one of those things that you can never stop improving on. The question usually falls on the “how” side of the spectrum regarding where the improvement is needed. I would like to start out by saying that there is not a one-size-fits-all marketing plan that works for all companies / businesses / products. What works for you may not work for someone else, yada-yada-yada. However, you can always learn from others’ mistakes and victories - which is why, here at The Biz Foundry, we STRONGLY recommend having a mentor. If you are on this entrepreneurship journey and you don’t have one, click here for us to find one for you!
When it comes to marketing, as we mentioned last week, there are two main parts that need to be addressed to have a successful and effective strategy.
Let’s start with the advertising side. This is the part of marketing that most will tend to think of when they hear the term. This is the commercials, the magazine promotions, or the social media posts that we see basically every time we open our eyes. So, I am going to tell you what I think makes a good, effective advertisement, and ultimately sells me.
There are three main things that millennials consider when they see an ad and try to decide whether to purchase or not. Today, we will discuss the first one.
Do I need this more than I hate the carbon/water/social footprint buying/using it leaves?
Millennials, just as every other generation, care about our purchase impact, but we feel it’s our responsibility to only support things we believe in. We care about the environment, we care about our health, and we care about the overall well-being of each other. Studies by The Huffington Post show that “73% of global Millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings”
The ethics behind a company play a huge role in our decision of whether to support or not, because, I think, we want to leave the world a little better than we found it.
Ads tend to be anything BUT this, which is a huge part of why typical ads aren’t working on us anymore. When you aren’t open about the effects your brand has on any aspect of the world, we think its sketchy. And sketchy is usually a no-go for us. (Unless its sketchy on the side of like a dimly-lit, randomly-placed dive bar with weird/cool music, then we might reconsider.) But otherwise, when companies hide the way the materials they use affect the environment or how they treat their workers, we assume these effects are negative and move on.
We want to see advocated and honest corporate social responsibility (CSR). A key way for a company to prove trustworthy, is to be able to have a two-way conversation with us. When a brand isn’t afraid to lay it all on the line and show what they are truly made of, we can get behind it in an instant. This is best backed by social media, i.e. the potential for customers to have conversations with real-life humans behind the brand through a phone screen, having normal people want to post to promote.. (more on this next week.)
Another way to help with CSR, is to focus on advertising a way that the customer can be a part of your plan of positive impact. This doesn’t have to mean you need to take on the Tom’s way of life and literally give away products, because let’s be honest, very few businesses can actually sustain with that business model. But, what it does mean is merely keeping your customers and potential customers in the loop regarding what impact you are working towards. A study done by UC Berkeley’s Business School found, “more than 9-in-10 millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause.”
In short, be a company that is proud of how you run, and then be transparent about it.