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What Small Businesses need to know about Millennial Consumers

Updated: Jul 31, 2018



It is a well-known fact that Millennials are becoming the most influential consumers and will, very soon, overtake the baby boomers and Gen X in size. However, many small businesses are still unclear of the impact millennials bring to marketing and consumer behaviour. Also, they are slow to deliver the kind of service and products Millennials want and need. This will pose a serious challenge for small businesses that are looking to grow and want a chunk of the Millennial pie.


In general, Millennials are a more experiential, more informed and highly educated generation. They want large chunks of information in as little time as possible. They are inquisitive but are much busier and have a fast-paced life. However, the good news for small businesses is that they are not as loyal to big brands and will switch to smaller companies if they get the right sort of engagement.


Taking the character-traits of Millennials into consideration, these are important tips for Small Businesses to succeed in attracting the latest generation:


1. Don’t sell to them outright. Overly aggressive and sales-y marketing does not work as effectively with Millennials. They have become more immune to “Buy me now, offer ends today!” since they have been constantly exposed since young.

Instead, companies should focus on educating customers of the benefits of the product. This is more effective in gaining their interest, because they feel more in control of their purchasing decision: making them more likely to buy your product.


2. Make sure you have a clear and developed brand personality. Nowadays, Millennial consumers are spoilt for choice. Globalisation and advancement in technology has led to more innovation and countless product alternatives for their every problem they face. This makes it even more important for companies to be extremely clear on the image they set for themselves.

Also, it is key that companies communicate their brand personality consistently and in an interesting and memorable manner to differentiate themselves from their competitors.


3. Be Socially Responsible. Millennials are the most passionate and involved generation when it comes to social, environmental and humanitarian causes. This means that companies can no longer overlook the unintended side-effects to environment and society in their pursuit of profits. Just one controversy or irresponsible behaviour, in the age of social media, can ruin an entire corporation.


However, given the limited resources small companies have, it is not necessary for them to allocate large amounts of funds for charity or having the latest green technology. Rather, just showing the world you care and being a responsible company goes a long way.


4. Make sharing your product and service idiot-proof. Millennials are the largest users of social media and are hugely impacted by what they see in Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat when making purchasing decisions.


Therefore, what small companies should do is promote their products on social media and create incentive for users to share their product to their peers. However, it is key that the text and banner used are pleasing to the eyes and simple to understand. Millennials are bombarded with a barrage of updates and posts on social media and will scroll past any dull or painfully-long post without batting an eyelid.


5. Have a compelling brand storyline. When there are many brands and competitor products, and too much information for Millennials to digest, one marketing technique sticks out for always delivering brand loyalty and product sales: having a strong brand story.

At a young age, children were often taught lessons through stories; whether fiction or non-fiction. Stories were able to capture their attention while giving them a great knowledge foundation to grow. Interestingly, even through our teenage years and adulthood, stories have the same powerful impact on us. It is still one of the best ways to leave an impression on people.

Similarly, having a strong brand story that speaks to the audience and makes them emotionally-bound to your company can deliver fantastic payoffs. It makes your brand memorable, and helps you stand out from your rivals.


Although marketing to Millennials seems like a daunting task, it is not impossible if you go deeper into their thought-process and character-traits. In fact, having these tips in your marketing toolbox will already put you in a better position than most companies. With that, I wish you success in getting that sought-after Millennial pie.


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