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How To Market to Millennials

It's not your imagination. Your buyers are getting younger. By the time 2020 rolls around (yes, only five years from now) millennials will make up half of the workforce.

Just like your own generation did, millennials view the world through a different lens. And as these young people move up the corporate ladder, you need to adjust your perspective...and your marketing.

While most of the suggestions that follow appeal to younger buyers, they are smart, modern marketing practices that apply across ages. Just like the technology you are selling, marketing is continually changing. Keeping your marketing fresh demonstrates that you are in touch with current trends and embrace the future.

Make Your Copy Short and To-the-Point
Shorter attention spans aren't limited to millennials. Most partner Web sites are text-heavy, which just doesn't connect with today's readers. You need to cut the text to the bone. Get right to the point, using lists, bullet points and graphics as much as possible.  

Support a Great Mobile Web Site Experience
If it's been a few years since you updated your Web site, the time has come. Your site needs to be mobile-friendly. Not only are millennials more likely to look at your site on a mobile device, Google has stated that starting April 2015 it will be "expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal." Your search rankings could suffer if you don't make mobile a priority. 

Rethink Your Newsletter
The tried-and-true monthly newsletter has had a great run, but it's time for a new approach. Shorter, more frequent updates are more likely to appeal to millennials. Consider sending out a weekly edition of your newsletter with just a couple of tips and links to blog posts. "theSkimm" is a great example of a newsletter written by and for younger readers.

Network on Their Terms
Is the crowd at your local Chamber of Commerce meetings getting grayer? While there are probably some Chambers that are doing a good job of appealing to young people, many are losing their relevance. But while young people may not be going to Chamber meetings, they certainly aren't staying home.

Innovation councils, tech meet-ups and startup weekends attract the young, as well as the young-at-heart. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the range of ages you will meet at these new-age business networking opportunities. Even better, the meetings are often held at the local brew pub.

Engage with Women in Technology
There is no doubt that the women in technology movement is gaining traction. In our own industry, the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partner's (IAMCP) Women in Technology communities are growing strong. Women in business and technology groups, like Ellevate, can be found in almost every town and provide a great place to connect with (at least half) of the next generation of leaders. And if you don't have a woman on staff to attend the events...you should fix that.

Participate in Their Online Communities
If you haven't discovered Spiceworks, it's worth your time. Surely, all ages are represented in the community of 6 million IT professionals, but Spiceworks is a good place to listen and learn. It's an engaged, online community that reflects the next generation of social collaboration.

Go Social
Obviously, social engagement will become more important to your business as digital natives move up the corporate ladder. With so many social channels available, you need to take a strategic approach, testing tactics and measuring success. If you are uncomfortable with social networking, ask your younger team members to take the lead.

Embrace the Future
To reach the buyers who will support your business into the future, you need to meet them on their own terms. Marketing to millennials means looking at the world through their eyes. Get out, engage with them and embrace the future -- it will help keep you and your business relevant.   

How are you adapting your marketing to younger buyers? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on April 09, 2015 at 8:59 AM