October 24, 2017

I was recently asked my thoughts about reaching the Millennial audience differently. Anyone with teenagers, like myself, does not need data to know that we are more likely to find them on Snapchat than reading a newspaper. But it is far too easy to say that digital is our way to reach Millennials. First, not only do Millennials consume multiple media channels, their parents consume most of the same channels, albeit in different proportions. Therefore, to reach either audience, you need to fully utilize all channels, not just attempt to guess which will be most effective; I always stress “Omnichannel” over “Multichannel” marketing. In today’s fragmented media, it is difficult to obtain the desired reach and frequency to drive behavior with any one channel for any one consumer segment.

That being said, the greatest difference in reaching Millennials is not the media, but the message. Millennials have higher expectations regarding a message being authentic, informative and actionable.

1) Be Authentic: To be authentic the message must be consistent at all points of contact. Millennials expect to find the same digital offer when scheduling service, in the service lane and on the invoice. Any deviation is a breach of trust, leading to immediate defection. They will back that defection up with negative reviews, which other current or future customers can read and then also potentially defect to the competition. So, be sure that you can either back up any offer or statement, or don’t make it. Millennials are used to all answers being only a click away.

2) Be Informative: Informative messaging provides the whole context needed to make decisions. So, you better include pricing, reasons to service now, operating hours and directions. Paradoxically, they do not want to be “sold,” and certainly, not “upsold,” but, if provided with enough context, will upsell themselves. Remember, they have grown up with “people like me” purchasing habits.

3) Make it Actionable: Finally, Millennials are notorious for instant gratification. If the message isn’t immediately actionable, right there on the device where the message was received, don’t expect a call later. Be prepared to take the appointment through email, text, call, or instant message, at all times.

While we need to stay current and be present in all the media channels Millennials consume, unless we change our messaging as well, the resulting silence will be as deafening as our dinner conversations.