Why You Should Be Marketing To Millennials

How much of your SEO strategy is targeted at specific demographics? More specifically, before you implement any SEO strategy for your company have you identified your target demographic and incorporated their stated needs and wants? If you have not, you are almost certainly missing opportunities or squandering resources on low ROI strategies.

The Baby Boomer generation has occupied the public eye for nearly 70 years, and all segments of society, social, educational, financial, and governmental - have been studying them and their behavioral patterns for that long trying to determine the best way to harness this generational juggernauts spending potential. Now, however, the Boomers are old news and their children, the Millennial generation, is in the spotlight with marketing executives and sociologists asking: “What do young people want? What will they work for? What will they settle for? What do they dream of?”

Perhaps it’s because the Millennials now comprise the largest generation and, since they are late to buy into the traditional accoutrements of adulthood including marriage, home buying, and children, they have a bit of spare change to spend. Businesses who ignore this demographic find out quickly that this is an expensive mistake to make.

Consider McDonalds. It’s a given that Millennials are fully aware of their brand as they grew up continuously bombarded by Happy Meal commercials and summer blockbuster media tie-ins. It seems that taking brand loyalty for granted has not worked in the case of McDonalds Burger chain visits among Millennials are down 16% since 2007. Part of the decrease can be attributed to different values regarding spending emerging amongst young people, including an interest in environmental sustainability and a preference for local non-franchise stores and restaurants. But another piece of the puzzle is that younger people are bypassing traditional media - and traditional methods of marketing and advertising - for online media and smartphone applications which have yet to be fully harnessed by more complacent large corporations.

The takeaway lesson is this: a strong brand and business model is no longer a guarantee of success with upcoming generations of consumers. Understanding not only the way they are and will be participating in the online world but also the constraints of their everyday lives will make a difference. Cookie cutter marketing that worked or works on other generations may not even reach young people through traditional channels, let alone affect them in the same ways. Also, as quickly as technology changes, the pathways to reach Millennials will also change, so focus on Millennial lifestyle fluency rather than committing to the next social-technological revolution. There are no shortcuts in this process, but Millennials make for a compelling case study, so the homework should be interesting at the very least.