Appealing to Millennials Part 1

As an older-looking member of generation Z, people often ask me what it is that they can do to attract potential clients from the millennial age group. Despite currently being the largest demographic in the nation, these twenty-to-thirty-somethings end up representing a bit of a conundrum to marketers.  While it seems like everyone has some idea of what it is that millennials like, simply baiting a hook does not a fisherman make, and actually reeling these potential clients in seems to be quite elusive.

While other publications might give some insight, mixed with a few tossed-out strategies, the problems which many firms have when trying to attract millennial clients often run deeper than just marketing strategy.  After all, a social media presence can’t be expected to bring in leads by its very existence; the presence itself must be appealing to the target audience.

The most important aspect of marketing toward millennials, and one that is oft overlooked, is energy.  It’s more than saying the right words and using the right visuals; millennial businesspeople are enthusiastic for their work, and want those they work with to be enthusiastic about it too.  Online responsiveness is a great way to communicate this enthusiasm, as it is one of the aspects of business social media that millennials find most appealing: the ability to reach out and contact a company, to have any question or concern raised answered in minutes.  But, millennials also crave a personal connection.

Though seemingly incongruous, the feeling of a personal, social relationship is of wholesale importance when marketing toward millennials.  In general, millennials are very wary of what I like to call ‘cardboard connections’: client-rep relationships which lack any sort of depth beyond business.  To this end, it is ideal to, whenever possible, show an open, human side of your firm.  Use your business’ social media to promote charitable causes, post images from events and conferences, or even celebrate staff birthdays.  Anything that lets the clientele know that your firm is about more than a logo and a brand statement; it’s about people.

In addition to company-wide initiatives, there is a great deal which can be done on the individual level.  In broad terms, always be looking for ways to form a connection to millennial clients or prospective clients.  Similar interests and hobbies are great, yes, but don’t shy away from other, subtler avenues.  One example strategy which I like to recommend is this: say that you’ve recently returned from a beach vacation, which you’re in the midst of casually discussing with a potential millennial client, and whom you wish to show a picture.  How do you do so?  Is the photo framed on your desk?  In an album on your phone?  My advice would be neither.  Instead, casually pull the photo up on your personal social media account [which social media account do they prefer?  Instagram?].  It’s not as forward as asking them to follow or friend you, but still communicates calmly and coolly that you’re comfortable in your online presence and that, yes, they could reach out to you if they so wanted. To learn more, read the second part of this blog, Appealing to Millennials part 2.

 

Contributed by John Walsh, Marketing Intern
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