A lady never reveals her age, but I will for the purpose of this article.
Hello, my name is Anuli and I am 21 years old (or, young, however you want to see it).
Marketers categorize me as a millennial—one of approximately 79 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 34. The purchasing power of millennials is estimated to be $170 billion per year, which makes me someone you want to know.
Even though I am a 21-year-old female with a slight addiction to retail, you need me more than I need you.
You need me to know who you are, buy what you sell, and tell all my friends about it.
If you want to market your brand to my age group, you have get our attention.
You can ask Randy in marketing who has an affinity for the word "dawg" and still thinks it's cool to "get jiggy with it," or you can just ask me.
Here are five things to know about marketing to millennials:
1. Quickness is next to godliness.
We like to get things instantly, whether it's our messages or Ramen noodles. We tend to be early adopters, so if you want to get our attention, you have to do it before we move on to the next thing.
2. Just because you're on social media doesn't mean we'll care about you.
Oh, you made a Facebook account? That's cool, but everyone is on Facebook—even my friend's dog. Being on social media is a good effort, but you must be consistent with your messaging.
You can't just set up a page, leave it there, and cross your fingers for a comment. At the very least, update your page frequently. And while you're at it, start a dialogue with us: share our comments, let us rate you, and create opportunities for us to interact with you. Helpful tip: Free stuff never hurts.
3. Just because you're corporate doesn't mean you have to sound like it.
I'll let you in on a not-so-little secret: The reason bloggers are so popular is because they seem human.
For example, if I wanted advice on a new pair of shoes, I would listen to a blogger before a brand. Product recommendations from bloggers come across like advice from a friend rather than a hard sell from a company (unless the post is sponsored, but that's another story).
Help us understand what you're about without sounding robotic or trying hard to be cool. Don't TyPe LyKe DiS. Just to be clear, typing like that is never cool.
4. A picture's worth a million words—or at least a couple tweets, a pin, and a reblog.
We love visuals! Why? So we can share them with everyone we know. (Bonus points if they are funny.) It's not enough for us to just look at something cool and then go about our business. We have to Instagram, pin, email, tweet about, blog about, and then reblog it. Snappy visuals are always a go!
5. We want to change the world, or at least look like we care.
If the Kony 2012 campaign indicated anything, it was that millennials want to support causes. Whether you agree with the initiative or not is a debate for another time. Millennials tend to believe their purchases and actions can make a difference. It's why we sport Toms shoes and Livestrong bracelets.
One way to get us to buy into your brand is to create an advocacy program. At the very least you'll create a community for your brand and help out a worthy cause.
Go forth and market. If you're lucky, you just might gain 79 million new customers.
How does your organization market to millennials?
Anuli Akanegbu is a digital marketing intern at TMG. A version of this article originally appeared on the Engage blog.