If we had a nickel for every time we’ve heard the phrase, “we want to target millennials,” our entire team would have retired by now. We’re begging you, please stop.
You are probably thinking, “You are overreacting. Why wouldn’t I want to target one of the most populous and influential generations on the planet?” Well, hear us out.
When you say the word “millennial,” what kind of person comes to mind? You probably picture a hip, young 20-something who lives in the city, attends music festivals and frequents artisan coffee shops. However, what you likely don’t picture is the family man living in the suburbs with his wife and children or a recent college graduate who’s living paycheck to paycheck.
This diversity is just one of the things that make “marketing to millennials” tricky, perhaps even risky.
You Are Targeting From the Spelling Bee to the Stock Exchange
Consider this: the oldest millennials are just turning 37, while the youngest have just turned 22, a 15 year age difference. When you make the decision to target a generic millennial market, keep in mind that your content will be targeted to individuals living in dramatically different life stages.
Unless you are selling a product that appeals to individuals within every life stage, it is wiser to conduct thorough research and break down your audience to determine the age range that best fits the product you're promoting. Not sure what demographic to target? Try breaking down specific age ranges into groups of three and A/B testing to determine who is most likely to interact and purchase from your brand.
When You Say You Want to Target Millennials, Do You REALLY Mean It?
All things considered, when we mention or talk about millennials, we are often not referring to the entire generation, but an ideal concept that’s become more synonymous with a concept similar to a buyer persona. The personalities of over 83.1 million people have been crushed and condensed into one “ideal” buyer with specific interests and traits. Let’s get real, this isn’t logical and is in no way accurate.
With this in mind, take the time to create buyer personas to help you visualize your ideal client and tell a story about them. Who are they? What do they like to do in their spare time? What drives them? By doing this, you will be able to build a more accurate audience, which in turn helps you reach the buyers most relevant to your brand.
You Have No Reason to Market to Entire Generations Anymore
We are currently living in a marketing golden age. Never in the history of this industry have technology and data been more accessible, tools been as perfected, and targeting opportunities been as accurate. The future of marketing, content and advertising is built within hyper-personalization; the concept of targeting an individual using methods that not only take their demographics into mind, but also their psychographics, unique interests and pinpointed geographical data.
Basically, what we are trying to say is there is no rhyme, reason or excuse to create such broad targeting strategies in this day and age. Take advantage of the tools offered to really get to know and foster a relationship with a narrowed down target audience, rather than crossing your fingers that your brand will resonate with a percentage of a generation.
So What Now?
Moving forward, avoid latching on to the buzzword “millennials” for an upcoming campaign; instead try to build your targets and audiences based off an in-depth persona (i.e: Gardening Gals: 22-26 year old women with an affinity for plants; Community Caregivers; individuals aged 30 - 60 who care about charitable causes in their community).
You are living in the marketing renaissance, make sure that your targeting strategies are just as evolved as the technology offered to us today. Try to take a step back from generalization and fully embrace the concept of personalization in your campaigns.
And whatever you do, please just don’t say that you want to target millennials.