As a marketer, you've likely heard whispers all around you for the last few years. "Our ads aren't working on them," they said. "These kids are like nothing we've ever dealt with," you've heard.
Until recently only whispers on the fringes of your niche have brushed your awareness. But now, as Millennials are coming of age and starting families, the whispers of marketers in other industries have become your moans. You've discovered for yourself that marketing to Millennials is like nothing the history of advertising has ever seen.
Who Are Millennials?
Millennials are a hot topic in the media these days, so you've surely heard some (often unflattering) popular opinions shared. But have you really taken the time to learn about the up-and-comers taking the world by storm?
Your Millennials are the generation of youths born between about 1981 and 1997. Today, Millennials account for approximately 31% of the adult population in the US, and 34% of the American workforce. Over 16 million Millennial women are mothers - and every one of them will have to make a decision about how to educate her children.
What's Different About Millennial Parents?
Millennials don't just value education, they live it. More Millennials have a college degree than any previous generation. They also have a strong appreciation for life-long learning, which they share compulsively with their children.
As with most things, Millennials are parenting to the beat of their own drum. Gathering information from a diverse portfolio of resources, Millennial parents pick and choose from varying parenting styles to match their children's personalities and needs as well as their own.
There's a lot of talk about Millennials' perceived conceit based on how much they share about their experience. However, what one generation calls ego, another calls influence. Millennial parents rely on each other for news, reviews, and advice on just about everything. So instead of thinking about what Millennials are saying and how, focus instead on who they might be influencing.
While It's easy to think of Mom as alone on the parenting front lines in most families, the fact of the matter is Millennial fathers are more active in their children's lives than any previous generation. Modern fathers find fulfillment by their participation in raising their children, and need to be supported and appreciated for their unprecedented role in the home.
"So instead of thinking about what Millennials are saying and how, focus instead on who they might be influencing."
What Do Millennial Parents Want From You?
This new generation of parents is serious about their values, and they expect you to be too. Millennial parents view school as an extension of their home education, which encompasses both a diverse curriculum and an expansive value set.
Millennial parents are extremely reflective and accepting, taking time to consider changing social norms rather than enforcing tradition. They encourage their children to experiment and experience the world before choosing an identity, and expect you to support that search with understanding and understated guidance.
While undeniably active and attentive to their children, Millennials have broken from the "helicopter parenting" style pioneered by their parents in preference of a more hands-off, experiential approach. As a matter of fact, you'll find experience a recurring theme in Millennial parenting as they stress the importance of empathy to develop their children's understanding and engagement with the people of a connected world.
Millennials are unapologetic in their estimation of authenticity and identity, and seek to instill the same sense of confidence in their children.
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How to Market to Mellinnials
Now, for what you've come for: how to market to Millennial parents. Successfully marketing to Millennials becomes considerably easier when you know everything we've talked about so far.
Now that you have foundational information upon which to craft your message, the key is learning where and how to get that message out. The simple answer is technology. But what does that mean?
Millennials prioritize being good parents over nearly everything, including a healthy marriage. They love being parents, and feel more confident in their parenting than even their parents did. There are many reasons for this, but the most important as far as you're concerned as a marketer is their access to helpful information to inform their decisions.
Millennials depend on digital media to help inform most of their decisions, including parenting. By using the information provided here to create helpful, relevant digital content that showcases your understanding of their concerns as parents, you'll start forming the basis of trust Millennials depend on for forming relationships.
The most important part of this is checking your promotional tone. Instead of lauding your offerings and statistics, start the conversation by educating parents about why the options you've chosen are beneficial and important.
Millennial parents are like nothing the world has ever seen. Doesn't it make sense that reaching out to them might be different, too?
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