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Building a Communications Strategy for Millennials

Yes, that’s a very long heading for a blog post.

So much nonsense is spouted about millennials, and we have a lot to say to put the record straight. If millennials make up the audience for your product or service, it’s critical that you develop an insightful and nuanced understanding about them for the sake of your organisation’s success.

That said, it’s difficult to build an accurate picture about millennials. Although stories about this demographic are in the media just about every day, for the most part, they’re cliched (at best).

Yet, millennials across the world are forecast to have spending power worth $31 trillion by 2020. Clearly, the individuals who make up the millennial category are doing more than eating avocado toast.

Get beyond the millennial and baby boomer stereotypes

It’s worthwhile to discard stereotypes no matter who your audience is.

Growth in social media, for example, across nearly all platforms is being driven by people 65 years and older. Millennials, on the other hand, are behind the increase in (some) print circulations.

These two statements may seem counterintuitive to everything we think we know about each of these categories, but therein lies the point. We list some resources to help you move away from the headlines and better understand millennials at the end of this post; conducting similar research on baby boomers could be helpful for your business too.

Millennials and baby boomers have a lot in common, though the headlines would have you believe that these two demographics are constantly at war with each other.

• Both categories came of age during the recession (and even depression)
• Boomers and millennials share a desire to improve the world (think of the 2016 US elections – some of Bernie Sanders’, then in his mid-70s, most vocal supporters were among young millennials)
• Both generations dislike stereotypes and aspire to be “rebels”
• Recognition is important for both categories
• Millennials are as family-orientated as baby boomers
• Millennials value community and social groups as do baby boomers (Generation Xers are the outsiders here who don’t index as highly for this value as the two demographics on either side of their own category)

communications strategy, building communications strategy, generation y, millennials, communication strategy, baby boomers, millennials marketing

Source: National Chamber Foundation

References for the points above include this article and this study.

So what does this mean for your millennials communication strategy?

Firstly, as the above similarities have shown, you need to avoid a generation-specific strategy. Focus on the purpose of your message rather than communicating to one homogenous group, since your millennial customers, like all the rest, will have individual preferences.

The age-old marketing adage of putting your customer first still works for millennials. This cohort value personalised, seamless communications, and with their technological fluency, fully expect to get it. Pay attention to your communication channels and deliver timely and personalised (we can’t stress this enough) content.

Keep things visual. All of us across the generational spectrum are consuming more and more text online, and our reading habits are changing because of this. An internet minute is jam-packed with content, from text to videos, and the best way for you to cut through the noise and reach your audience is by illustrating as much of your message visually as possible. Millennials are used to interpreting information through symbols and you’ll connect with this demographic through visual communication.

Get to the point. We’re all pressed for time and millennials are no different. Don’t be rude in your communications but be succinct.

Stay human! There’s a lot of information on how artificial intelligence is going to equip robots to take over our jobs, but communicating as a human is the way to a millennial’s heart. Though millennials are deeply distrusting of organisations, and the Edelman 2018 Trust Barometer Report shows that this is a trait they share with other generations, they’re also loyal to brands that build a community and make a connection. Humans do that very well; robots not so much.

Finally, don’t market to millennials, rather involve them in your communications. Millennials want to shape their world, and user-generated content provides them with an opportunity to do just that. It doesn’t stop there though. If you’re about to release a new product or service, or you’ve encountered a problem in your business, crowdsource a solution or feedback from your millennial audience.

Everything you think you know about millennials could be wrong

While every generation is shaped by the socio-economic forces that are in play when they come of age, some traits really do stand the test of time and are true for young people across demographics. This article provides a brilliant deeper insight into just how untrue so many of the millennial tropes are. The pot plant story is hugely illuminating and be prepared for misconceptions about the amount of young people living at home with their parents to shatter.

There’s more to millennials, their preferences and habits, than can be dealt with in one blog post, but it’s clear that to communicate effectively with this category you need to disregard the tired information that’s out there. Look at millennials as individuals, and not that different from other people, and you’ll start to understand them better.

In the meantime, we hope these resources help to dispel millennial myths and add some truth to the conversations around this horribly maligned cohort.

1. For a deeper understand of Irish millennials, this Deloitte study is in-depth and insightful
2. Millennials have a strong work ethic
3. Who are the millennials? The Financial Times shows us in five charts
4. Debunk millennial myths with this article
5. Discover the latest academic research coming out of universities on Google Research

If you plan to make hiring decisions shortly and want to recruit millennials for key roles in your business, we’d be more than happy to offer you support and advice. We’re an established recruitment agency that specialises in sourcing in-demand talent across industries, and we’re always more than happy to help businesses build in-house resources that will take them to the next level. Get in touch today, and one of our experts, will walk you through the strategic advice that we offer.

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lorraine_fretwellAuthor: Lorraine Fretwell

Lorraine has partnered with some of the biggest names in the UK & Ireland, delivering key talent for the most challenging roles. She has built and developed large teams in several agencies and has a proven track record at finding the unfindable when presented with the quirkiest of job briefs.


Tel: +35316344883

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