Millenials and Your Marketing Strategy

If you’re in the business of tourism, destination marketing or entertainment, you’re probably being directed to think about ways to drive Millenial* traffic at every turn.

But is our obsession with Millenial marketing rooted in sound marketing strategy, or simply trendy? To determine if Millenials need to be a part of your tourism or entertainment marketing tactics, you must first consider the following:

Are Millenials represented in your best customer personas?
If you’re a marketing manager getting a lot of push to “draw in Millenials” or “attract younger customers”, sit back and ask yourself if your company really has any evidence-based reason to believe that Millenials should play any kind of role in your marketing strategy. If you really don’t know, pose the question to your bosses.

If the company’s leadership can’t point to research that indicates that Millenials matter to your business (besides a blog post or a newspaper article that says they should), then why on earth would it make sense to spend time and energy dreaming up ways to draw in this demographic of customers? In fact – does your company know much about any of their best customer segments, Millenial or otherwise? If not, it’s pointless to speculate about segmented marketing tactics when you haven’t even established who your segmented audiences are.

Are Millenials as important as other customer segments?
This is the next question to ask yourself. Millenial marketing can sometimes be a matter of cultivation, not survival (see below). If your best customers, the ones who are keeping your lights on, are older Baby Boomers, you better stay focused on that segment unless you’re thinking about changing your entire business model or going out of business.

Is the fact that some of your best customers fall into the Millenial age range as important as other characteristics?
Let’s say that you own a small chain of bars/live music venues. Both Millenials and Gen Xers make up significant segments of your best customer population. If you don’t have the budget to hypersegment your marketing, you need a strong campaign that appeals to everyone (everyone in your best customer groups, that is.)

If that’s the case, a campaign that targets your Millenial customers might not resonate well with your Gen X customer base. But unless you can hypersegment, why worry about focusing on Millenials at all? It may be that the fact that some of your customers fall within the Millenial age range is not nearly as important as their”buy buttons”, or their motivations to spend money at your business. Those motivations may center around the kind of experience you offer, the convenience of your location, the kind of bands that you book, whether or not you offer great happy hour specials, and so forth. The chances are that your Gen X customers probably have a lot of the same motivations. A campaign that focuses on these shared motivations of your customers will likely be a lot more successful than one that’s crafted to target a specific age group.

Do you want to attract Millenials today or tomorrow?
In some circumstances, Millenials may not be your best customers right now – but they’ll be your customers in a few years. If that’s true, it may make sense to get your brand messages in front of them today, so that you’re not having to start from scratch when they age into your best customer population. But these tactics will always be secondary to the marketing you need to do to keep the attention of your current best customers.

When it comes to marketing strategy, a data-fueled approach will win out every time. Find out why when you ask us for a proposal.

*Millenials=Generally speaking, people born between 1981 and 1997.