Ah, the elusive and lucrative Millennial market. Such a tempting conquest, yet so frustrating to conquer.

Connecting with this demographic is not easy. As the first digitally native generation, Millennials have been raised on technology and live and die by social media and their smartphones. As for engaging with brands, they generally have a sharper eye and higher expectations than generations before them.

To help you win over this tough crowd, we surveyed Millennials about their marketing preferences, and we have four major insights to share.

1. Brands must deliver authenticity

Millennials expect authenticity. Wait, I take that back. They demand it. And we marketers need to deliver it. Millennials have little patience for marketing that feels phony: A few examples that Millennial respondents provided as the worst offenders include ads for perfume, pharmaceuticals, weight loss, and yogurt.

The list goes on to include ads that use conspicuous commercial actors and call them real users, and ads that rely on cheesy jingle-like music and images of fabricated happy families around the dinner table.

Also consider that Millennials care deeply about social responsibility—more so than any other demographic, according to a 2014 survey by the Nielsen Global Survey Group. If you are perceived as trying to capitalize on important social issues inauthentically, Millennials will notice—and they'll raise an eyebrow. So before you launch into a social campaign, make sure that there's serious commitment to the cause.

How does authenticity apply more specifically to the B2B marketer? It means ditching those canned sales emails. If Millennials could swipe left on your sales email, they would. Instead, read up on social selling, a more Millennial-friendly way to engage your sales prospect because you take the time to get to know them and engage with them before you go for the sale.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Pamela Webber

Pamela Webber is CMO of online graphic design marketplace 99designs, where she heads up the global marketing team responsible for driving customer acquisition and increasing customer lifetime value.

LinkedIn: Pam Webber

Twitter: @pamwebber_sf