2015 is the year of the millennial consumer, declared Micah Solomon for Forbes. People currently 18 to 34 are poised to take over the world, announced the Pew Research Center. Given nearly 80 million U.S. millennial consumers with growing coinage, brands and copywriting services are shifting their focus to this sunny, social, value-driven generation.
As a creative copywriting agency fueled by the efforts of millennials, these are our thoughts on how to target your brand’s copy:
1. Mission marketing is the name of the game. Millennials insist that their jobs line up with their lives, and their spending line up with their personal values. Those values, by the way, are fairly conventional: health, education, social good, global outreach.
- The Takeaway for Marketing Copy: Rather than focusing on superficial qualities (what your company does, who your clients are, how long you’ve been in business), focus on deeper mission-oriented points, such as why you’re in business, how you contribute to social wellness, and what the big picture end goal looks like. Many brands do this already, but I’d recommend leading with it, and producing significant goosebumps.
- Further Takeaway: Take a page from impact investors, whose financial investments target both financial return and measurable social impact. Infuse your copy with impactful messaging that acknowledges benefits for the direct consumer—and beyond.
- Final Takeaway: Don’t channel anything off-color, off-kilter, or weird. Gen Xers may have loved that stuff. Millennials do not.
2. Millennials are the most social generation. And they leverage that sociability into their own buying decisions: seeking pre-purchase consensus from peers and parents, showcasing what they bought on Instagram and Twitter, generating affirmation, and creating lively dialogues that resonate long after the buy. To a staunchly independent Xer like me, it sounds exhausting. But I’ve seen it in action–and my copywriters have said heck, yeah! Shopping is a big jolly tea party.
Millennials also leverage their “us” perspective into a powerful team spirit: collaborating with co-workers, cooperating with co-players, producing breezy win-wins.
- The Takeaway for your Copy: Consciously leverage the social value of what you’re selling. Emphasize how it might raise the collaboration factor, improve consensus, or increase sharing. Play up these values—even in the context of personal decision-making and independence.
- Further Takeaway: Use the hashtag. If possible, make any and all buying decisions clickable, shareable, referrable. And reward sharing!
3. As a corollary to point 2, millennials crave inclusion. They love to feel like they’re a part of your campaign.
- The Takeaway for your Copy: Not only is it about “us,” it’s directed to “you.” Address your readers directly. Avoid the third-person distancing (“our clients” or “our customers”) mysteriously beloved by law firms, insurance houses, and mortgage brokers.
4. Millennials like to keep things positive. The way of the millennial is to sing praise—not heap criticism.
- The Takeaway for your Copy: Eschew negative marketing at all costs. Keep the competitor out of it.
- Further Takeaway: Eschew anything negative. Why plant seeds? Repeat after me. WYSIATI.
5. Turn up the adventure. Millennials love to travel and trammel the world–or pretend they are.
- The Takeaway for your Copy: Showcase your services (v. dictating them). Sample your products (v. listing their attributes). Carry the reader somewhere different, authentic, and momentous!
6. Millennials personify mobile. I’m an Xer, but I’m an honorary millennial when it comes to my phone. We are riveted. We take them to the bathroom, tuck ’em into our blankets at night–and spoon.
- The Takeaway for your Copy: Keep your messaging short and snappy: it’s got to fit on that tiny screen. Also, be sure to grab their attention immediately–or you’ll lose them as quickly as a 10-second snapchat!