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I am a Young Woman; Here is How You Reach Me

May 1, 2017

Malia_smallBy Malia Keirsey
Marketing expert, web designer, blogger
Chicago, US

I buy paper towels, but I'm not a mom who has to clean up after her kids. I'm a single, 20-something career professional, so it’s hard for me to relate to storylines about kids and husbands making a mess in the kitchen.

And, why is it that traditional advertising like that always depicts the woman as the one who is responsible for cleaning up after the kids? Even for generations older than me, this isn't necessarily the norm. Only 43% of Gen X women have children according to a UK study.

How about a storyline that shows me coming home from work to find a mess my cat has made? I can relate to that.

Though 19-year olds and I have a few things in common, we are also very diverse.

Besides stereotypes like that, advertisers also tend to throw me and my fellow millennials into one segment with common characteristics. Though 19-year olds and I have a few things in common such as having grown up in a digital world with access to every website, product and service, we are also very diverse which is reflected in everything from our choice of clothing to our taste in music and skincare products.

RELATED: Why Reducing Audiences to Stereotypes Hurts Publishers

I expect the values, wants and needs that I have as an individual to be honoured and reflected by companies that want my business. So if you’re marketing to millennials, you should have the following six things in mind which I was inspired to write about by an insightful NewsCred Study.

1. Don't Pit Me Against Older Women

The idea of using “generation gaps” as a marketing ploy began years ago. Perhaps with the Oldsmobile slogan, “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” It played on the notion that the “new” models of this car were re-fashioned for speed, “muscle,” and looks that a younger generation would appreciate.

Generally, advertisers should be wary of using the idea of generation gaps. I think there are amazing women in generations that have gone before me and they have blazed a path for me in many ways.

Marketers should celebrate the commonalities between women of my generation and Gen X-ers.

Like me, Gen X women have many causes they believe in and that resemble the ones I care about; We worry about the environment, about political, economic, and social equality and we reject the “cookie cutter” images of women that marketers are still prone to promote — it’s not genuine, so just stop.

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Instead, marketers would do well to celebrate the commonalities between women of my generation and Gen X-ers. We all want to be honoured for our accomplishments and to focus on the contributions that women have made and currently continue to make.

2. Recognise that my generation is more diverse than any other

My generation spans an age range from late teens to mid-30’s. Obviously, we do not have the same needs and wants and we don't look the same. When you “market” to millennials, you have to work on your segmentation.

You may have to develop as many as 5-6 persons for a female millennial audience, in order to target them properly.

What a female college student finds amusing, valuable and inspirational, I may not, and vice versa. The “devil is in the detail” and you may have to develop as many as 5-6 persons for a female millennial audience, in order to target them properly.

When you send me an email, it must have specific value and relevancy to me, not to some generic “contrived” demographic. And if you do target that email correctly, research say you have a 26% greater open rate.

RELATED: 13 Mistakes Content Creators Make When They Do Native for a Young Audience

Obviously, the content and the tone-of-voice of your marketing is critical. This cannot be emphasised enough. If you are a small entrepreneur without the budget to employ a skilled content marketer, you may need to consider outsourcing your copywriting
to a professional service. Do some research, read writing service reviews and get a pro who understands your brand and your audience and who can “connect” the two effectively.

3. Don’t think that my sex tells you everything about me

Unless your product is decidedly gender-specific you need to be aware of the blurred lines between males and females. The LGBT community is a large part of our demographic and it’s more common now than ever before to not identify as either male or female.

Even more traditional couples are not that traditional. Married millennials with children have shared responsibility for the household and for the child care.

Don’t market to millennial moms. Market to millennial parents.

So don’t market to millennial moms. Market to millennial parents. The response will be far more positive. There’s a reason we mute commercials that show nuclear families with moms cooking, cleaning and racing the kids. It’s not that we have disdain for that lifestyle — everyone makes their own choices.

It’s that we are tired of that depiction of family life when it's clearly a minority among millennials who live like that. Many young fathers want to take part in child caring etc. 43.5% of dads post family-related photos at least weekly on social media according to a study from 2013.

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Men are more into skincare and grooming than earlier generations, unisex dressing is common and we're not afraid of products that are marketed to the same segment, regardless of sex, using effective means of communication such as humour.

A good example of a company that has come to see this is Dollar Shave Club; a monthly razor subscription club with great value. It began as a decidedly “masculine millennial” brand. Gradually, however, it's reaching out to millennial females as well — after all, they shave too.

4. Entertain Me

Yes, I have a short attention-span. I am usually in a hurry, and I do not read the great walls of text that content marketers continue to put in front of me. Give me a video that presents your product or service in a humorous way, give me a shopping experience, not just an opportunity.

HelloFlo is a subscription-based menstrual product site that has turned a former “verboten” subject into an “out-in-the-open” one and has done so hilariously. This type of content brings millions of views. 

Advertisement from HelloFlo.  

Interactive shopping is another way to give me a good experience. When I was looking for new glasses, I got on the site of a local eyewear retailer. I was able to try glasses on my face by uploading a photo and selected several styles before making my appointment. This was a fun and time-saving experience, which I shared it with all my glasses-wearing friends.

Clothing retailers are getting on board too offering digital personal shopping assistants or letting me shop directly from a magazine such as online retailer Net-a-porter's magazine Porter. Much more fun and actually far more efficient than pouring through some online catalogue.

RELATED: 7 Companies That Master Native Advertising

Other ways to entertain me doesn't even include the product as such. I follow Foundr Magazine, a digital publication for new entrepreneurs, religiously on Twitter. I am not an entrepreneur, but the daily posts include amazing quotes and beautiful pictures that lift my spirits and might make we want to buy the magazine as well as think highly of sponsored posts that match the tone of the magazine.

5. Honour my idealism and inspire me 

Content that “connects” me to a brand will celebrate my idealism and support it. Give me stories that encourage me to “go for it" and which reflects the diversity that I feel is a vital part of my generation and which I cherish.

H&M is just one of the clothing brands that have understood this by promoting not only sustainable fashion but also tolerance and diversity. 

The other critical factor that brands must embrace is social responsibility. If you want millennial business, you have to find causes to support and you have to provide me with proof and stories of what you’re contribution to the world is.

Companies that have a “one-for-one” giving model, such as Headbands of Hope, get my business.

Also, tell me great stories about you and your team and showcase customers who share my values. Demonstrate integrity in all that you do, from the quality of your product/service to the customer service you provide.

I am inspired by integrity and authenticity. If your brand can show me that, I will share it with my friends.

6. Remember that I’m far from broke

Here are some stats that marketers need to keep in mind. From a recent NewsCred study comes the following information:

30% of millennial females will not engage with content that doesn’t entertain or is not informative, 60% will share content that is “intelligent” or provokes thought, 70% share content that makes them laugh.

Over the next five years, especially millennial women will spend more than $1.4 trillion.

Over the next five years, especially millennial women will spend more than $1.4 trillion.

Content marketers will need to throw out their current strategies and assumptions and begin careful conversations with the many segments of the female millennial population if they want to get some of that business.


DOWNLOAD: How to do native advertising: 25 world class examples (e-book)


Story by Malia Keirsey

Marketing expert, web designer, blogger Chicago, US

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