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Marketing to Reach the Millennial Generation

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It’s coming, one of the largest changes shaping the marketing landscape.

It is expected that by 2018, the spending power of Millennials will surpass that of the Baby Boom generation. That means the teens and 20-something’s that make up the Millennial Generation will be influencing marketing in the pet industry.

In addition to this generation toting their smart phones and love of social networking sites, they are widely considered the most educated generation in American history, with the largest percentage attending college and graduate schools.

While many Millennials are still struggling to build a career for themselves, within a few years the majority will have reached stability and will be ready to spend. Now is the time to start marketing to them and building brand loyalty.

This is also a generation that favors individuality and a strong online presence, preferably with mobile and tablet-ready websites. They also want to engage technology and take advantage of applications and video to learn more about brands and products prior to purchase.

Despite their potential, there is a significant hurdle in reaching Millennials, because they generally dislike traditional advertising. They take advantage of technology, playing video games, watching television programs pre-recorded and streaming online through cable providers, and posting self-created videos online.

If a Millennial is interested in a product, they will research it before they buy, and will probably consult multiple sites, too. What that means for your advertising is that it must be authentic, interesting and not a hard sell.

Native advertising is a great way to accomplish these goals. It is simply providing content in the place that potential customers are already looking.

Online video is another great place to use native advertising. This is a technique the production company I manage, ReelPaws, uses every day on behalf of clients. Millennials are more comfortable watching videos online than on television, in fact one-third of them watch videos online more often than they do on an actual television.

There are video sharing sites springing up every day, but you can be most effective on YouTube, Instagram or Vine.  While YouTube videos are often longer, videos on Vine or Instagram are limited to a 15 and 6-second limit, respectively.

Try to make your videos creative and efficient, without making a hard sell for your product or service. Instead of trying to fit multiple products into one video, make multiple, short videos on each one. On YouTube, pay close attention to the thumbnail you select, because that’s your best chance to draw the viewer to click on our video.

When it comes to customer service, Millennials expect a slightly different experience than previous generations. They make their complaints or compliments known on social media, like Facebook, Twitter, some even go as far as make YouTube videos in response to a product. You must live in that space as well, and be ready to respond. Your message will not just reach the customer that started the conversation, but all of their friends or follower as well.

Millennials are a fickle, diverse bunch, and pride themselves on being unique. However, despite the difficulties of reaching them, your future as a company will depend on their money. Start marketing to them in the place where they spend their time and you will gain their loyalty.

Do it now and they will be your biggest brand advocates and customers in the years ahead.

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