ONE of my big takeaways from the 2018 International Franchise Association’s Annual Conference #IFA2018, was the very clear (albeit belated in my opinion) focus on marketing to the largest living generation….Millennials. They are a demographic that just about every consumer brand wants to lure. A big chunk of them are now in their 30’s and they are the people that we are hiring and selling franchises to. But the first trick in gaining their loyalty requires getting their attention and holding it. This of course, is no small challenge considering these younger consumers aren’t as likely as Gen-Xers and Boomers to react to traditional advertising or marketing methods.
The BIG Picture:
On How To Market To People Younger Than 35:
DON’T SELL YOUR PRODUCT – SELL YOUR PURPOSE — Parents of Millennials want to know a product’s features and benefits. Millennials require a second layer. What is your why? How do you impact the world? Lead with your purpose. Annette Rubin, CEO of HydroPeptide, says “We believe in doing everything possible to offer solutions for the health and well-being of others. Sometimes that’s through our products, but first and foremost, it’s through who we are as people. Philanthropy cannot be a side conversation. In our case, we collaborate with charity: water, a nonprofit organization delivering clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. We donate $3 from the sale of our top selling product–Eye Authority–to help fund water sources worldwide. But it’s not enough to hand off a check every year. We’re physically going to build our first funded well, and we’ll be making our customers a part of it.”1
INFLUENCE via RECOGNITION OF THEIR VALUES — Julie Turner, VP of marketing for Camp Bow Wow explained that “Millennials’ purchasing habits tend to prioritize memorable experiences and social identity. Brands that appeal to their values will rise to the top. More likely to embrace brands making a difference, Millennials want to align themselves with organizations doing good in the world and use their purchasing power to support companies that have similar values. Giving back to the animal community has always been priority of Camp Bow Wow, and we have started to focus even more effort on our charitable program, the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation.” 1
The TACTICAL picture: On How To Market To People Younger Than 35:
ENHANCE CONTENT FOR SOCIAL MEDIA — Social media is today’s SEO when it comes to attracting Millennials. Focus your marketing budget on touching them and influencing them via social platforms. These drive the most substantial traffic back to brands. Optimizing the content is also vital. According to the most fundamental statistics regarding the effectiveness of social media the highest rate of shares is on short, captioned videos that deliver the first 8 seconds of content to grab a viewer. Keep it short and pithy… Millennials won’t hang around to watch long infomercials with audio!
DELIVER AN INSTANT RESPONSE — Authenticity is invaluable in communicating with the Millennial generation. They spot a cheap sales pitch a mile away. Says Michael Malinsky, co-founder of high-tech beauty products company WUNDER2: “The content, the message, the videos–they have to be real. If it looks like an ad, it will be skipped over faster than a Tinder profile without a photo. There is no set formula though: We test thousands of different messages and measure engagement and responses to understand what resonates best with people. Marketing extends beyond the ad, too. Millennials will ask questions on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and expect an instant response. A team of 15 people in our company ensures we always answer within a few minutes, and we have measured substantial increase in sales from people who we had interacted with throughout the marketing process”. 1
These are just two tiny tactical actions towards getting your Franchise Marketing and your Brand Marketing teams looking ahead and working towards having your content delivered via the most relevant and cutting edge social media trends if the “35 and younger” generation is your target.
I was so impressed by some Franchisors that accomplished some incredibly successful franchise sales numbers to Millennials in 2017. Because not only did they attract these new franchisees via the buyers’ preferred communication methods on social media and did so with keeping Values and Purpose in the forefront of their messages…but these franchisors also explained how they implemented new ideas for how to fund the “Millennial Franchisee” that often did not necessarily have the capital that their Gen X or Boomer parents have to invest in a new franchise. These franchisors offered back loaded royalty agreements and “intern” opportunities to get these fresh, driven, new franchise owners into their system. This was a refreshing glimpse at what is coming our way in franchising. Jump in and try it in your organization. You will find energized and passionate franchisees that embrace your culture….so they will be successful and happy while flying your flag.
Research: 1 27 Expert Tips for Marketing to Millennials, By Christina DesMarais