How the Voice of Millennials is Changing the Way Brands Advertise

February 11, 2017, 1:00 AM UTC

This article originally appeared on MillennialMagazine.

The voice of millennials is different than anything we’ve ever heard before. The younger generation seems to do just about everything differently. They take to the internet for communication, for purchases, and for interacting. They have different values, interests, and ideas. Because of this, companies are changing the way they advertise.

In order to reach those younger consumers, brands are recognizing they need to market differently. With the internet, smart phones, and ever-changing technology, sending flyers in the mail or running commercials between shows just isn’t going to cut it.

Here are just a few key differences that show how millennials are changing the way we advertise.

The voice of millennials needs to be heard

Marketing in the past was more about telling customers what they needed and why they needed it. It was disruptive and attention grabbing. Marketing and advertising meant shocking their audience just enough to push them to make a purchase, then hoping they were committed to the product or service when it came time to buy again.

Millennials don’t operate that way. Instead of listening to what they’re told by major corporations, millennials question this form of advertisement. With so much information at their disposal, they don’t need to rely on what the marketers say – they’re free to do their own research and come to their own conclusions.

This means that brands need to understand what their audience wants instead of trying to tell them what they want. Surveys, reviews, and online responses are all great ways for companies to learn more about what their millennial audience wants.

Having online surveys for customers is a great way to stay connected with millennials. Take Burger King, for instance. They have invited their customers to share their BK experience through an online survey, which enables the company to make accurate decisions based on their clients’ preferences.

Millennials rely on technology for everything from shopping to socializing.

Technology has always been a way to make our lives easier, but millennials were really the first generation to be raised with advancements like cell phones and the internet. As something that has always been in their lives, millennials look online for just about everything they need.

When a millennial wants to make a purchase, they’ll first jump online. While generations before them would run to their favorite store to see what is in stock, millennials will do their research on what products or services are available to them. The more convincing content they can find, the more likely they are to purchase that item.

This means that if brands want to advertise to millennials, they need to do so on the internet. Traditional forms of marketing, such as putting ads in the newspaper or sending flyers in the mail, are going unnoticed. Instead, inbound marketing tactics, such as blog posts, social media shares, and sponsored content is drawing in the younger crowd.

Emotion is a major factor in millennials’ decisions

With the influx of information the internet has given us, the millennial generation is more aware. They’re better able to understand things they may not have learned in a classroom and more likely to continue their education after leaving school.

Because of this, millennials have become more invested in health, social issues, and the world. They realize that business does not need to be “strictly business” and that companies can do more for the world. Millennials want to make a difference, and they want the companies they work with to help too.

This plays into the way a brand advertises because their marketing needs to pull on those emotions and desires. Companies that donate a portion of each purchase or who have made an effort to be more health conscious seem to do better with millennials than companies that stick to just business.

Millennials do not care to be “sold”

Millennials need the same products and services of companies that any generation before them did. They can’t get by without the help of major companies, restaurants, grocery stores, and retailers. But unlike generations before, millennials don’t want to hear a pitch from a salesperson.

The way that a millennial buys a product follows a different path than their parents or their grandparents. Instead of recognizing a need and asking for advice from a sales person, a millennial is determined to find the answers to their problems on their own. With all the information available online, millennials are able to answer their own questions and form their own opinions.

This means that advertisers and marketers can’t push products or services in a millennial’s face and expect them to bite. If a company wants a millennial to make a purchase from them, they need to establish trust and help the millennial down the path of making their own conclusion. By providing them with information, helping them realize their problem, and then providing content or ideas that could help them find a solution, companies can secure more business from millennials.

Influencers determine what millennials buy

The internet has given individuals all over the world a chance to connect. Through the platforms they create, millennials in all countries are taking to the internet to discuss hobbies, passions, and interests. They’re connecting with like-minded individuals that they never would have met without the help of the internet.

This means that millennials have wider circles of trust than previous generations. Instead of relying on friends and family members, millennials have celebrities, bloggers, social media friends, and more that can help them make a purchase or select a product.

For companies and brands, this means advertising can take the form of influencer marketing. To get products in front of a millennial audience, companies may choose to hire influencers to promote their items. By using an already established circle of trust, millennials will be more receptive to your company than they would be through traditional marketing.

Millennials don’t like to wait

Older generations are used to waiting around for something to come to them. When they make a purchase, they know that it will take a few days to be processed and then shipped. But because the internet works so quickly, millennials have begun to expect things instantly.

While most millennials recognize that things still take time, their attention is being pulled in a million different directions. With so much content online, so many brands to choose from, and so many different options, keeping the attention of a millennial can be a challenge that not every brand is prepared to take on. When a millennial becomes bored or finds that something doesn’t immediately catch and hold their interest, they can easily move on to something else that does.

For marketers and advertisers, this means their brand needs to accommodate the quickness that millennials are after. Their content must be to the point while still in depth, they must catch the attention of a millennial quickly, and do what they can to maintain that focus.

There is no doubt that millennials do things differently. To best accommodate them, brands need to do things differently as well. As millennials grow older, their ways are becoming standard. Their ideas, principles, and needs are becoming more and more commonplace, so brands need to adjust before they are pushed to the side and forgotten about.

If you want to reach millennials, the best thing you can do is listen to the voice of millennials. While they may seem like a confusing generation that you have no hope of understanding, listening to them and what they have to say isn’t as difficult as it may seem.

By implementing these tips and considering the different ways that millennials do things in comparison to the generations before them, your brand can better attract them and keep their attention.