Marketing to Millennials Using
Dialogue, Not Monologue
Victoria Hoffman

I’m a millennial. I’m also a marketer.

I also have the good fortune of being both a consumer and a creator of marketing materials. With almost three years of professional digital marketing experience under my belt and a birth date in the early-1980s-to-early-2000s bracket, I have some thoughts on the marketing tactics that can be used to reach my generation.

I haven’t seen the data, but those car commercials featuring a group of hip twentysomethings taking selfies don’t quite cut it for me. And I’m not calling out any particular brand names to be considerate; rather, I’m not mentioning them because the only thing I remember from those commercials is confusedly thinking, “Is that supposed to be… me?”

Spoiler alert: The way you should be marketing to millennials isn’t that different from how you should be marketing to any demographic; by providing helpful, tailored content experiences.

Create Content Designed To Help, Not Sell

Content is the foundation of any good content experience. Content marketing works, but only if your content is valuable, relevant and consistent.

It’s not difficult to explain relevancy and consistency as it applies to content: your content must be highly pertinent to your customers, and must be created at a frequent rate. Valuable content, however, is more difficult to define. It’s the combination of authenticity, trustworthiness, and quality that shines through when a piece of content is created with care, which can only mean the creator actually cares about the people consuming it.

Content can’t be created for the sake of it. It needs to align with your business goals, but more importantly, it needs to help your customers. Categorizing a customer based solely on their demographic or pixel activity is only going to tell you so much about their needs. Research and collect the pain points and objections to your product, and provide the content that will help resolve them and make your customer’s life easier.

Personalization Is A Necessity

I wish I could say that I don’t fall into the stereotypes thrust upon my generation, but I can’t. I suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). I’m active on social media. I take Buzzfeed quizzes. Although my age and some of my interests categorize me as a millennial, it doesn’t mean all millennials should all be treated the same way. I’m still an individual customer with individual needs.

Personalization is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. With today’s marketing technology, it’s easier than ever to create highly tailored content experiences. Not only does personalization help build a relationship with your customer, it also works. According to Experian, personalized product recommendations in emails can help increase revenue by 20%.

Once you’ve created valuable content, tailor it in a way that will appeal to a specific customer. When a customer provides you with their email address, they’re inviting you to their inbox. “Dear Valued Customer” isn’t an acceptable email greeting anymore. If you want your customer to be engaged, and ultimately convert, you need to greet them by their first name and provide them with the content that will fit them best.

Build And Maintain A Dialogue

Marketing is shifting from interruptive, in-your-face tactics to generating helpful, personalized content experiences that will build long-term relationships with customers, millennials included.

Oh, and there’s another millennial category I fall into: I’m paying off my student debt, which means I’m on a strict budget. And with what little spending money I do have, I’m going to spend it on brands that are talking with me, not talking at me.

Victoria Hoffman is the Content & Community Manager at Uberflip, a platform that helps marketers create, manage and optimize content experiences at every stage of the funnel to boost engagement and generate leads. She also contributes to The Globe and Mail as a Gen Y Money blogger. When not talking social strategy, she can be found watching Netflix and eating pizza.