Whether you find yourself asking “Who are these people!?”--or you are a millennial yourself--there’s no arguing that today’s young adults are a generation unlike any other. Highly connected to each other and concerned about social issues, millennials are a breed of their own and hold a lot of potential in making changes in the world. In addition, their needs and preferences can also determine how successful certain companies are, so there are a number of considerations to keep in mind while marketing to those who classify with Generation Y.
GET CONNECTED You don’t have to walk very far to see how many millennials are glued to their screens on a regular basis. Smartphones, tablets and even watches--young adults are finding increasingly creative ways to connect with their peers and it’s essential that your brand is accessible through such mediums.
Jennifer Taylor of Taylor’d Events encourages event professionals to be open-minded about communication efforts with millennials. “Make it easy for them to communicate the way they want to,” she expresses. “Not necessarily over the phone, but by email, text or intuitive task management programs that allow them to review tasks and leave notes on their own time.”
Now, it’s not just about method--whether you’re open to texting, Snapchatting or email, none of it matters if they can’t rely on promptly hearing back from you. Between constantly-updated Twitter feeds and same-day delivery by droid, Gen Y is truly the generation of instant gratification.
While this isn’t always a problem, it does mean you’ll have to be on top of communications to keep them happy. “Everyone has their email in their pocket these days, so we’ve found that responding in a timely manner keeps us on their mind,” shares Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services. “I can’t tell you how many clients have said they booked with us because we were the first to respond!”
KEEP IT SIMPLE While some may see millennials’ short attention span as a negative, the truth is that they’ve just realized that they can do much more with their time rather than wait in line, fill out forms, and sit through other banal formalities. Innovation is key with Generation Y, and they’re quick to find shortcuts that are just as useful as they are effective. Be sure to implement easy-to-use processes as they will look elsewhere if their needs aren’t met quickly.
“User experience is key when marketing to millennials, especially if you’re engaging with them online,” explains Igal Sapir of 100Candles.com. “Ensure that your website is easy to navigate and quick to load, while also offering customer service solutions should any questions arise. If a website doesn’t meet these standards, then this generation of consumers won’t hesitate to jump to the next site in their search results.”
MAKE IT THEIRS Every millennial wants to identify with every other one, all while maintaining their own unique personalities. This quality certainly makes an appearance in events--whether it’s a wedding, a birthday party or a reunion, no two Gen Y events is ever the same. “They’re all about customization,” shares Emily Sullivan of Get Polished Events. “They are drawn to all details that can be personalized--food, bar menus, music, and pretty much anything else! They will certainly test your creative gene, but they’ll also bring plenty of their own ideas to the table.”
JUST ASK THEM Millennials not only have buying power, but they also have something to say, so consider giving them the ability to express their ideas.
"If you want to know what millennials want, just ask them," asserts Charles Zhong of Azazie, which offers special occasion dresses online. "At Azazie, we crowdsource our dress styles and colors by asking brides what they would love to see in our online store. The feedback we receive is truly invaluable and, when we factor the general consensus into our inventory, it's clear that they're the most popular choices with all brides and bridesmaids."
In a world of selfies and hashtags, it’s easy to get lost in this new generation. However, with a few simple considerations, it’s not hard to navigate the millennial mind and find ways to reach them on their own terms.
Oh, and one last tip? Kate Franzen from Glint Events suggests having phone chargers at a millennial event. “You laugh, but it’s true! Tech-savvies that can juice up their devices will stick around longer and can capture each and every moment of the celebration.”
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding PR firm OFD Consulting, which specializes in getting wedding professionals their brides. She is a highly sought after industry speaker and serves as a public relations adjunct professor for Virginia Commonwealth University.