It’s no secret that Millennials are the target demographic of demographics to win in all arenas of marketing these days.
From television programming to product positioning and even the colors used on packaging, they’re making marketers rethink everything. What some companies didn’t realize, though, was just how completely they might have to rethink the way they promoted their products and connected with customers in order to forge relationships with the children of their existing Boomer base.
Getting Back to Basics for Millennial Audiences
Among the largest generation, 26-year-olds are the most numerous age, with 4.8 million in their ranks, according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal.
Millennials aged 25, 27 and 24 are the next plentiful, in that order. These are formative years for these large groups, they’re about to make big life decisions like having children, jumping into careers and buying homes. For retailers and marketers, this also means something else: these folks are all looking to buy a lot of stuff.
But instead of trying to force Millennials into the same old molds, businesses are having to rethink how marketing to Millennials works. This is the first generation born and raised in a tech-saturated world, their way of relating to everything is entirely different from that of their parents or even, in many cases, their older siblings.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Millennials are taking longer to reach milestones of adulthood than generations before them. For example, in 2016 only 24 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds had experienced these four the “major life milestones:” living away from parents, getting married, living with a child and contributing to the labor force. In 1975, that number was 45 percent. Although it’s a 41-year gap, it demonstrates just a few of the major differences between the two biggest generations, Millennials and Boomers.
Companies like Home Depot are starting with the basics for Millennials, and are hoping that through education they’ll earn lifetime customers because of their relative lack of life experience. It introduced a series of online workshops in June, including very back to basics videos on subjects like how to use a tape measure. The content was chosen based on online search queries, so there was clearly a need for the information.
Other companies, including Procter & Gamble, Williams-Sonoma and Sherwin-Williams have been devising similar marketing strategies in the belief that knowledge is power (and customer loyalty).
Fortune 500 Execs Step Back and Think About Their Kids
Executives at some of the biggest retailers in the world are making major decisions based on the way their kids live.
It’s an incredible thing. For example, Web Elm’s creative director Johanna Uurasjarvi plans furniture around what would work in a studio apartment for her 21-year-old son. That’s where the idea of a scaled-down sectional couch that can be changed from left- to right-oriented came from. After all, P&G found that 44 percent of Millennials plan to move in the next year. It’s hard to say for sure if the couch is going to fit in a new place, which might cause a shopper to pass on by.
Companies like Briggs & Stratton are also putting themselves in the shoes of a Millennial buyer. The Mow N’ Stow foldable mower not only takes up 70 percent less space than a standard mower, it doesn’t require users to prime, choke or change the oil in the engine either, making it perfect for first time mower owners who don’t have a lot of time for maintenance.
Keying in on an interest in function over form, Scotts bought a stake in Bonnie Plants last year in an attempt to get in on the exploding edible plants market among the same younger demographic. Millennials bought edible plants nine times faster than Boomers last year, increasing food gardening among these young households by four million between 2011 and 2015.
Getting to know the Millennial buyer might mean going back to square one, but their love of technology, interest in learning necessary skills and getting things done efficiently can make marketing to them a really straightforward process.