For the first time ever, we’re seeing people who were raised with modern technology enter the marketplace as consumers with actual buying power. For businesses, this is a critically important turning point. These customers must be treated like the tech-savvy individuals they are, or they’ll turn to the competition.
Here’s What You Need to Know
If you’re trying to reach customers in the 17-25-year old range, then you’re targeting individuals who have come of age in a post-internet world. They hardly know a world without mobile devices, social media, and all of the various technologies that come along with these cultural forces.
“Our youth—and future—are immersed in modern technology before they’ve taken their first steps! We’ve entered the iPad Generation,” marketer Brad Nierenberg proclaims, “or better yet, The Technillennials—a generation where children no longer read paperback books, but instead swipe through an iPad.”
While traditional marketing tactics aren’t necessarily dead, they’re hardly effective when used on digital natives. Here are some things you need to know about reaching this growing segment of the marketplace:
- They Want High Level Personalization
According to a study of more than 1,700 consumers, 77 percent of digital natives fully expect a personalized web experience. This is rooted in the fact that digital natives have grown up with social media, which is – at its core – a collection of narcissistic platforms.
While we could spend hours debating how digital natives feel entitled, that’s beside the point. Instead of fighting their demand for personal attention, you need to feed it. That’s the only way to thrive within this target market.
- Make Things Share Worthy
When it comes to digital natives, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that they’re willing to share your products and services with their peer groups. The bad news is that it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to win over customers amidst so much content and media saturation.
Reaching these customers means you need to create products, services, and content that aren’t just designed for consumption, but also for sharing. “Knowing that your audience will share your products and services, it is your duty to make sure that the experience is remarkable and share worthy,” says marketer Tyrona Heath. “How can you become more memorable? Work on making things more lasting, meaningful and relevant!”
- Encourage Ownership
Digital natives are very brand loyal – but you can’t take this for granted. In order to reach them and encourage loyalty, you may need to give them a stake in your company. (Don’t worry, we aren’t talking about equity.)
Millenials are creators, not followers. They don’t just want to consume content – they actually need to play an active role in creating content. That’s where co-creation comes into play.
“Co-creation is a marketing strategy that allows the consumer to work with the brand in their advertising efforts,” explains one marketer. “Its goal is to make the consumers feel like they are a part of the campaign, not the target.” Here are a handful of examples of co-creation campaigns that have worked in the past. Find creative ways to apply similar techniques and you’ll be happy with the results.
Digital Natives Must be Treated Differently
Digital natives are their parents’ children, but don’t assume they possess any of the same characteristics. They’ve grown up in an entirely different world – one that’s filled with mobile devices and digital communication. In order to reach them, you can’t fight these realities. Instead, you must adapt your marketing strategy to meet them where they are. That’s the only way to be successful in 2016 and beyond.