Everyone from late-night television hosts to your aging relatives thinks they have the millennial generation figured out — and that's the problem. These generational stereotypes may be good for a laugh, but they do a disservice to brands seeking to reach customers in this age bracket.
The huge population of millennial parents is a good indication of this problem. According to research from Barkley, 40 percent of millennials are already parents. In many cases, this group of millennials has little in common with the stereotypes associated with young customers. So how can brands market to millennial parents in a way that resonates with them?
Make No Assumptions
Millennials often find themselves a topic of conversations and op-eds, and they're not always discussed in flattering terms. What's more, older generations tend to use "millennial" as a catch-all term to express their derision for this generation of young adults.
Marketers make a big mistake when they paint millennials with broad strokes. One common stereotype states that millennials reap the benefits of wealth inherited from older, harder-working generations while being spoiled with highly flexible jobs and expendable income that accommodates their experience-centric lifestyle. But research from Goldman Sachs found that the amount of expendable income earned by 15- to 24-year-olds was 10 percent less in 2012 than what the same generation enjoyed in 2000. Over that same period of time, the average amount of student debt carried by 25-year-olds has risen every year.
Use research and data based on your audience to highlight product qualities that are important to your customers.
Don't Discriminate by Gender
You may want to reconsider running campaigns that target moms and dads separately. According to Think With Google, a common mistake brands make when trying to reach parents is assuming it's always moms seeking and consuming content. Google's research found that 86 percent of millennial dads use YouTube to seek out parenting guidance and advice on preparing meals or assembling baby equipment.
Areas of interest typically dominated by mothers are now engaging millennial fathers, too. Marketers should adjust their content across all channels to accommodate this growing audience — millennial moms might be the majority of your following, but dads aren't far behind.
Target Parents Whose Hands Are Full
Digital assistants are becoming commonplace in American homes, and they're finding a dedicated audience among expecting parents. Research from BabyCenter found that 71 percent of parents own an IoT (Internet of Things) device of some kind, with digital assistants being the most common such technology in their homes. The prevalence of digital assistants via smartphones and in-home devices is contributing to a significant rise in voice-conducted online searches.
These natural language searches are forcing SEO strategy to adjust in response. Content that is optimized for natural language will be more effectively discovered through voice searches and could be very effective in helping brands better reach millennial parents.
As millennials get older, their generation will only get more diverse in its experiences, wants, needs and life circumstances. Marketing content must reflect these changes if brands want to build a relationship with this audience.