Engage and persuade—this is your handy guide to writing for Millennials.
How to Sell to Millennials
If you aren’t already marketing to Millennials, you really should be.
After all, they make up ¼ of the world’s population and have reached what banks say is “the most important age range for economic activity”.
But selling to Millennials isn’t like selling to Baby Boomers or Gen Z.
Their expectations and how they consume information is very different, which means if you want to earn their business, you need to know how to sell to Gen Y. And part of that process involves getting your marketing copy right.
Millennials: An Overview
Before you can write copy for them, you must first know who they are. Here’s a brief summary of Millennials’ key characteristics.
- The cohort of individuals born between 1980 and 1994* are called Millennials.
- They’re also known as Generation Y (Gen Y) or Echo Boomers.
- Unlike previous generations, Millennials are the most racially and ethnically diverse group of adults.
- They’re also the most educated and the first generation to be truly globally-oriented. This is because they grew up alongside rapid growth and developments in both internet and technology.
- These young adults are allergic to traditional marketing and hate being sold to—they’ve (almost quite literally) seen and heard it all before.
- Millennials exhibit less brand loyalty.
- They are the most urbanized group of adults with the majority living in cities.
- Nearly 9 out of every 10 Millennials live in Asia or emerging economies.
That leads to the next point: your average European Millennial won’t be exactly like the average Asian Millennial.
Similarly, a French Millennial won’t be identical to your average Danish Millennial.
That is to say, while Millennials in general share certain characteristics, there are still regional and even country-specific differences you must be aware of.
Furthermore, because this generation spans a large age range, marketers have to take note of the differences that come with one’s stage in life.
For example: A Millennial mom vs a young Millennial, whose career just got started.
* There is, strangely, no standard definition for when a generation begins and when it ends. The date range you see will depend on the research center or the dictionary you use. Having said that, the general consensus is anyone born in 1997 or later is part of a new generation currently being called ‘Generation Z’.
The ‘Millennial Moment’ And Why Your Business Should Care
When a generation ages, their spending power decreases and another generation takes its place.
That’s why businesses in all industries are not only paying attention to, but also adapting for, what has been dubbed the ‘Millennial Moment’. That is, the maturation of these young professionals.
- Millennials are replacing the Baby Boomers as the largest group of individuals born at a similar time.
- They are taking over the global workforce.
- Gen Y are now decision makers not just in their personal lives but also in their professional lives.
In short, their spending power is on the rise. And that means they’re actively shaping our economy with the choices they make both at home and in the work place.
Writing For Millennials: Tactics That Work
Writing for this generation requires an understanding of what Millennials like, what they care about, and what Millennials value.
1. Sound like a human, not a corporation
Takeaway: Personality beats marketese, any day!
2. Engage with your story
Building on the previous point, Millennials are drawn towards authentic brands. Those that are down to earth and genuine. Storytelling – where your brand’s unique personality and values shine – helps you connect with Gen Y in a way that resonates with them.
Takeaway: This generation of consumers gravitates towards brands that stand for something—and those that walk the talk.
3. Help, don’t sell
Over the decades, Millennials have been exposed to all sorts of marketing and advertising. From TV and radio ads to billboards, banner ads, and popups – Gen Y have truly experienced it all. As a result, they aren’t just highly skeptical of ads—they simply don’t appreciate being sold to. A better strategy is to be helpful; a valuable resource with the solutions they need.
Takeaway: Subtle sales copy works better than blatant sales talk.
4. Personalize where possible
These individuals are collectively known as ‘Millennials’ but that doesn’t mean they’re uniformly the same. They have different personalities. They’re at different life stages. And the different environments they grew up in influenced their attitudes, values and beliefs. Writing for Millennials needs to reflect that.
Takeaway: Know your buyer personas and write for them.
5. Write for short attention spans
This generation expects convenience, both in terms of accessing information and in consuming it. In other words, keep it short and sweet. Make use of headlines, bullet points, and crisp statements that pack a punch.
Takeaway: Make your copy easy to read and easily scannable—on all types of devices.