Aah millennials, everyone’s favorite scapegoat. Everything wrong with the world is somehow all their fault. However little do people realize that, with a population of 92 million, millennials are also the largest generation in history…and they are currently at their prime spending years!

Millennials are highly entrepreneurial, tech-centric and knowledgeable consumers. The way they consume content is very different to how the previous generations have done so, and this means that content being marketed to them needs to reflect this as well.

No longer can marketing be limited to the means of advertising proven efficient for decades such as cold calls, television ads, and billboards- advertising needs to and is catching up with the rest of the world.

So who even are these millennials?

According to the latest data from Goldman and Sachs, ‘millennials’ are a generation of people born from the years 1980 to 2000 which means that in 2019, they are aged between 19 and 39.

This is the prime purchasing age at the moment and a huge reason why you see all businesses aiming their products and services and strategies at millennials, and why you should too.

But where to start?

Millennials value authenticity. They view traditional advertising as a desperate attempt from a company that has no idea about their interests, problems, or needs. They can easily identify disingenuous mass marketing. The big, bright colors, ‘Buy Now’ stickers, the ‘obviously-a-marketing-ploy’ headlines, they don’t buy into that. They see right through the smoke and mirrors!

Instead, you need to approach this as a courtship.

Consider millennials as someone you’d like to date. You generate similar interests, get to know the person, and only then if it’s a good fit, will you ask them on a date. In the same approach, identify a customer persona that would face the problems you’re trying to solve with your product or service, understand this persona, and then market specifically for them.

This approach creates a genuine relationship, which millennials respond extremely well to and encourages them to foster a long-term relationship with your brand.

This is a BIG win, especially for brands in the MENA region because according to Google Consumer Barometer, millennials in this region demonstrate more brand loyalty than those in the US, the UK, Japan, or Australia.

If millennials are your target consumers, the following five tactics will help you ensure that your marketing caters to them:

1. Ensure that your brand has a strong Social Media presence

If you haven’t deduced this already. Social media is essential to millennials! They use social media to connect with friends, look up answers, get inspired, research products, and learn something new. This is the way millennials market themselves, and how they expect brands to market themselves as well.

With 9 out of 10 millennials, in the MENA region, owning a smartphone and using social media networks, brands need to have a strong social media presence and create marketing content unique to these platforms.

According to a study conducted by Design Rush, 31% of millennials said that social media influences their purchase. The same study reported that Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest foster the most brand trust and help young adults find and discover products they would actually use.

2. Millennials love a good cause!

Simply offering millennials a great product, will not entice them to buy. For any given product, there are now tens and hundreds of alternatives. So give them a reason as to why they should choose your product over your competitors.

If your brand supports a charitable cause that is close to their heart, this would be a reason for 55% of millennials to choose your brand over an alternative. 37% of millennials are also willing to buy a product or a service that supports a cause they believe in, even if it means paying extra.

Millennials believe in making a difference in the world and they favour brands that do the same.

Social responsibility has never been as important as it is today and brands that “give back with passion” are seen more favorably in their eyes. However, it has to be authentic because millennials can tell when companies are simply in it for the profit.

A screenshot of Tom’s website

TOMS is a great example of a brand that is excellent at cause marketing. They built their entire business empire on charitable causes, the main one being their business model that specifically caters to the tastes of millennials. For every shoe purchased from TOMS, they will donate a shoe to those in need. This has proven highly successful since millennials prefer TOMS to Nike even after the latter spent millions on marketing.

3. Make use of Influencer Marketing

Millennials connect more with friends and people like them than brands and celebrities. Influencers are relatable which makes them more likely to understand the problems faced by millennials.

In the Middle East, about 71% of millennials are “happy” to take advice online from influencers before purchasing a product or service- especially about matters on beauty, fashion and food.

However, make sure you choose the right influencer to be the face of your product since not all influencers resonate with the same audience. Identify your target audience and ensure that the influencer is popular amongst this demographic.

A screenshot of Yalda Golsharifi’s instagram account

In the MENA region particularly, there are many popular middle eastern influencers such as Yalda Golsharifi and Ascia who suggest a global yet local context and can help position your brand as such. In a region where culture is considered highly important, influencers that promote cultural authenticity resonate positively for the business.

That being said, with the onset of the Fyre Festival debacle, influencers are under a lot of scrutiny now. If you haven’t heard of Fyre festival (have you not got Netflix…or the internet?!), it was supposed to be a luxurious festival hosted on an island in the Bahamas. The festival was heavily marketed by supermodels and influencers and promoted almost exclusively on social media. So when the festival was a disaster, leaving the ticket holders and investors high and dry, many of these influencers were sued.

“We certainly wanted to send the message to influencers that when you post a photograph and you don’t say #advertisement, there is some level of responsibility”

As influencer marketing grows in the region, there will be a greater call for full disclosure and transparency that the brands will need to comply with. However, as long as businesses follow the call for authenticity and avoid embellishment, there is great value in collaborating with specialized influencers for more effective and memorable campaigns.

4. Highlight positive customer reviews

Customer reviews have never been as important as it is today. According to Adweek, 93% of millennials (me included!) say they rely on blogs and consumer reviews before making a purchase.

Why do millennials trust customer reviews so much?!

The answer is simple, millennials trust people more than brands.

With thousands of alternatives to every product, it’s difficult to decide which brand to choose, especially since it’s difficult to determine the quality of the product beforehand. So, a seal of approval from a consumer who has used the product before makes it that much more worthwhile to buy the product.

Millennials are also frugal and conscious about where their money is going. Reviews allow them to compare prices of similar products and ensure that they are getting the best value for the money they spent.

A screenshot of the testimonials on Tap’s website

This is a tactic that can also be employed by B2B companies. For instance, here at Tap Payments, we highlight customer reviews as testimonials that take priority on the main page of our website.

5. Video Marketing

Millennials consume content differently from the other generations. 60% of millennials prefer to watch a company video than read a newsletter and 80% find video helpful during product research. Especially within the MENA region in 2017, 69% of consumer internet traffic was to video.

The growth of video consumption and creative content creation has made video the marketing weapon to target millennials in the region.

Millennials all over the Middle East turn to Youtube and IGTV to consume all kinds of content.

However, when creating video content, there are a few things to consider. Do not forget that your video can be viewed on many platforms such as laptops, mobile phones, and tablets, so ensure that your video is optimized for all platforms.

Even though the sweet spot for video length is around one minute, the content is more important than the length. Tone down the promotion material, it’s a surefire way to alienate your audience. An ideal video should address problems faced by the millennials and weave a real story around it. Humour and creativity is also an added bonus that will ensure maximum views for your video.

Final thoughts

Millennials are a force to be reckoned with. According to Kit Yarrow, author of the book Gen BuY, they are expected to spend more than $200 billion annually starting in 2017 and $10 trillion in their lifetimes.

Tapping into that requires businesses to reexamine how they attract, engage, and communicate with an increasingly digital consumer. Honesty and transparency along with trustworthy information is the secret to growing with this powerful demographic