SHUT THE FRONT DOOR: 5 Ways to Sell to Millennials

Published on March 27, 2014

There are 80 million millennials in America. They’re the most important rising demographic and market in the United States–and yet, it seems that not a single one of them wants to hear you talk about your business. So how do you market to millennials?

Here are 5 key things to keep in mind, [according to Tim Young, director of marketing at the conservative media company Liberty Alliance (No. 1726 on the Inc. 5000)]:

1.  Authenticity matters most.

“Millennials aren’t going to listen to a super-rich Republican stereotype trying to ‘play them on TV,'” Young said. “It’s offensive and cheap to pander. Just present your brand appropriately. You look stronger and it’s also playing to your authenticity.”

2. Realize you’ll be fact-checked–almost before you finish.

“The absolute worst thing you can do is to try to sneak things by them,” Young said. While an audience of just about any demographic can now be counted on to snipe at tenuous claims, the difference is that millennials came of age with smartphones in their hands, ready to verify what they’ve been told.

3. Make your point, and then shut up.

Millennials were born busy, so you have to drive your message home quickly. If you have an online video campaign, for example, it can’t be more than 2 minutes. Quick, brief and descriptive pieces that can be absorbed in seconds are “money.”

4. Make your message an emotional story.

If you want millennials to pay attention to something and share it on social media, you need to offer not just an authentic message, but an emotional one as well. Young acknowledged Republicans are way behind the curve on this, and could learn something from their opponents across the aisle.

5. TV? What’s TV?

When you’re planning your marketing budget, Young advises, skip television. Millennials simply won’t watch commercials unless they’re forced to–perhaps on places like YouTube and Hulu.

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