Next Generation Segmentation: Forget Marketing to Millennials

Next Generation Segmentation: Forget Marketing to Millennials

A few years back, I wrote a piece called “Marketing to Millennials: 5 Companies that Killed it in 2015.”

And while those companies did indeed “kill it,” now that it’s 2018, I think it’s time to talk about how segmenting your leads to find “millennials” might be a little misguided.

Think about all the millennials you know. At HiP, we have a decent number of millennial employees.

One is engaged and owns a home. Another few of our employees are single and live alone. Another couple of them have children. Others are married and have homes and car payments. Another couple of employees have children. Some live with their significant others, some don’t. Still, others have student loans. Some others do not.

When you look at all these different circumstances, it doesn’t make sense to put millennials into just one category. There are a couple of overarching themes that unite the millennials, mostly due to the time where they came of age.

These are the categories you can use to target millennials in your content.

 

Digital Fluency

digital-fluency

No matter where they are now, millennials were raised using technology. They are savvy, both with digital marketing tactics and new technologies.

That means that when you create content, don’t be afraid to experiment with newer stuff, especially if you know that a decent chunk of your audience is a millennial.

Try AI, chatbots, VR, AR, and don’t be afraid to push out into new technologies, platforms, and channels. More and more millennials are going to be your customers soon, whether you like it or not.

Start marketing to them early, as soon as they start reaching positions of authority in their professional lives. Millennials are loyal B2C buyers, sticking to their known and favorite brands. They have no such loyalty in the professional world.

 

Common History

common-history

This is sort of obvious, but many marketers seem to forget it. This generation grew up in a world before and after 9/11, before and after the recession in 2008.

They also experienced the rise of digital as part of their coming of age. As mentioned above, that means that they’re not only digitally savvy but also that they grew up in a mostly analog world. When creating content for this age group, be sure to draw in those early references to this generation’s childhood before all this digital clutter.

Do this both subtly and overtly, be it nodding to popular designs from the late 80s and 90s, or by making direct pop culture references.

 

High Education Level

high-ed

Most millennials grew up with the idea that to get a good job they needed an education. It’s for this reason that millennials are the most educated generation thus far.

The earlier millennials were just starting college when the stock market crashed in 2008 and many struggled to enter the job market when they graduated.

Keep this in mind when sending content to your millennial audience. They have a decent eye for detail, having written so many papers and having done so many projects in college.

Remember to write to their reading level, but ensure you don’t use pretentious wording. Millennials want to connect to your brand only if it seems human and authentic. They don’t want to be talked down to or told what to do by a brand. They want intelligent, human content.

 

What can you use to more accurately segment today’s buyers?

Now here are some areas where all millennials are not the same. In these categories, some millennials will be more like their Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts.

These are the most valuable places to segment your audience, especially when you are marketing to other businesses. These are the things that matter to your clients professionally and will influence their business decisions.

 

Job Title

This is key. You don’t care about the millennials in the company unless they are a stakeholder that can help make the decision to buy your offering.

There are people of many ages in manager and executive roles. Learn who they are and what they like. Learn what matters to them, regardless if they are 50 or they are 24.

Learn what someone with their job title does during the day. You can literally ask them about this, to get a better idea of who your customers are as people.

 

Income and Debt

This information might be somewhat hard to get ahold of by asking. After all, people are still wary about giving out information about their income and they are even less likely to answer you about their debt.

But millennials between the ages of 25 and 34 owe an average balance of $21,000 each. While not all millennials have debt, it’s safe to assume that many of them do.

You can estimate their income by a combination of their job title and age.

How does that play into B2B?

You can find out what drives them. Are they working for extra money for a child, a house, or are they just trying to pay off their student debt?

These are the factors that push them in their professional lives, to accept the promotion, to succeed in their roles at work.

 

Company Size

Since this piece of information isn’t too personal, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding it. Figure out where your best customers work and see if there’s a trend in company size.

Company size gives you critical information about how many people are involved in the purchase decision. This is especially important when it comes to using ABM and CRM software.

Determine the average company size of your current customers and use it to target new customers in the future. Chances are, this will inform the type of content you should create. Does your offering only appeal to small business? Maybe it works for both small and medium.

Use this knowledge to guide both your content and segmentation.

 

This year, forget marketing to millennials. This up-and-coming group may just be entering the workforce, but they are so diverse that it is a mistake to treat them as a unit solely because of their age.

In 2018, focus on what really matters. Understand that there are certain things you can determine about millennials and segmentation based solely on their age and that there are things you can’t determine.

Some millennials have the same demographic characteristics as their 50-year-old coworkers. Others have more in common with college students than the rest. Figuring out these differences teaches you how to handle the largest generation in the workforce, which is going to be important in 2018 and for years to come.

 


 

How do you segment your leads? Do you create content specifically for certain age groups? How? Let us know in the comments.

 


 

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Acadia Otlowski

Acadia Otlowski is the editor and copywriter at HiP. She handles writing subject lines and email copy as well as contributing weekly to the blog. Acadia is a journalism major turned marketing enthusiast with a heavy background in research and writing. Outside of work, she is an avid reader and storyteller, as well as a fire performer.
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