Despite the fact that generations are a purely constructed system of dividing people into groups, they can still be useful when creating marketing strategies for businesses. There are no tangible reasons for individuals to be categorized into one generation over another except that this delineation can help to highlight the cultural landscapes in which people grew up. With this information, businesses can fine-tune their marketing to attract those they hope will engage the most. If you are a business owner looking to advertise to younger generations, here’s everything you need to know.
Refresh Your Visual Identity
Companies that have been in business for decades or even centuries can maintain relevance with newer audiences by simply refreshing their image. Internationally successful companies like Coca-Cola have stood the test of time by adapting their brand image to suit changes in the market. If what your business has to offer is something that can be marketed to younger consumers, think about how a touch-up of your visual identity could encourage a whole new wave of attention and appreciation for your product.
Collaborate with Someone Who Shares Your Audience
Since older forms of advertising are no longer as effective on the upcoming generations, it’s time for businesses to react appropriately. Years of growing up with marketing tactics that feel duplicitous and irrelevant have rendered young people today much more adept at ignoring certain forms of advertising. This is why strategies such as Tik Tok influencer marketing are so useful. By engaging with a creator who has a genuine, pre-existing connection with their audience, you can prove the relevance of your business to your target market by aligning with a trusted identity. When a personality who shares your audience collaborates with your business, it lets that audience know that they might be interested in what your business has to offer.
Thanks to growing up with constant advertising, younger demographics are less susceptible to old-fashioned tricks. Since these people are also poorer than previous generations and have less spending power, they tend to be more discerning about what they buy and from which businesses. You need to work on offering a genuinely high-quality product or service for a fair price if you want to successfully attract young people. This gives your business credibility and scope for future growth within this market.
Create a Sub-Brand Directed at Younger Audiences
If your company is large enough and you are confident with your current trajectory but still want to capitalize on a younger market, consider branching out with a sub-brand that is related to your main business. Make sure that it offers something specific to your new target audience while maintaining the core of your existing business. This is frequently seen in fashion retail, where designers create their initial brand for adults before moving on to designing for teens and children. These separate brands are still connected to the main company but have different faces.
Hire Younger Employees
To reach people in a meaningful way, it helps to understand how they think. This is why you will have much greater success in reaching young audiences by recruiting young employees. These people will have a clearer vision of how their own age group makes decisions and interacts with companies. A younger workforce can also help train your existing team and give them more confidence in tackling the new target market.
Understand Fleeting Trends
Partially due to the pace of communication that the internet allows, young generations who grew up with digital devices create, enjoy, and dismiss trends within much shorter timeframes than previous generations. This applies to everything from fashion to jokes. If your company wants to make the most of a current trend, you won’t have time to think about it for too long before it falls out of style. This pushes companies to think on their feet and make bold decisions at a rapid rate. If you want to impress younger audiences, you don’t need to rely upon their own in-jokes and memes. Unless you are confident that your company can seamlessly include these within its marketing strategy, it is possible to understand fleeting trends without using them as an unreliable crutch.
Don’t Be Patronizing
Although younger generations have less life experience than older audiences, this doesn’t give companies an excuse to talk down to them. In fact, since so much marketing takes place online, young people are more fluent in digital culture and are better able to spot patronizing advertising tactics from afar. Something as seemingly innocent as trying to adopt an existing meme for marketing purposes can quickly highlight your business as out of touch and inauthentic if done without ample research and understanding. The way younger generations communicate, especially online, is not necessarily the way your business should communicate. Attempting to appear ‘down with the kids’ is much riskier than being upfront and honest from the start.
Conduct Thorough and Frequent Research
It is naive to imagine that a business can accurately pin down a target market and rely upon this information indefinitely. Every audience shifts and changes, making it impossible to take anything for granted without up-to-date data. This is especially true for marketing to younger generations since the speed at which their trends come and go is indicative of their shifting cultures and preferences. Any company that wants to target this group needs to be prepared to conduct frequent research into the demographic’s fluctuating interests. Without this data, marketing attempts will be mere stabs in the dark.
Without an authentic approach, you can’t expect your company to attract much attention from young people. Growing up with advertising everywhere has jaded recent generations and hardened them against marketing methods that rely upon persuasion. To convince this group to engage with your business, you will need to demonstrate integrity and authenticity. This can be achieved through providing a high-quality product or service as advertised. False claims about what you can offer will be quickly seen through. Don’t risk putting off this potentially lucrative target audience by failing to acknowledge the value of authenticity in your marketing plans.
Keep Your Social Media Active
People across all generations use social media on a regular basis. There is no upper age limit to access these various websites and apps, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tailor your business’s social media presence to attract people of a specific generation. Research which platforms are most popular within your age group and demographic. Remember to account for the nuance within subcultures and different demographics within a generation. For example, just because two people are the same age doesn’t mean that their social media platform preferences are the same. Find out where your target market spends most of its time online, then focus on building your presence there.
Refine Your Tone of Voice
Just because you are targeting young people doesn’t mean your tone of voice should be especially informal or casual. Reflect on what your business intends to offer this audience and use this to inform your tone of voice across your media channels. For example, even young people might be discouraged from using your banking app if your tone of voice portrays your business as irresponsible or untrustworthy. Know when it is appropriate to adopt the language of your target market and when it isn’t.
Connect with Your Audience’s Beliefs
Previous generations were not as concerned about the companies they engaged with sharing their morals. While it has been a background factor for some older demographics, a company’s message and ethical alignment are more significant to the youth of today. Many young consumers won’t engage with a business if it doesn’t support the causes that they care about. This isn’t to suggest that your business should falsely convey an allegiance to any particular belief. However, there may be some good causes that make sense for you to fold into your brand. Beware of coming across as performative, and make sure that you fully understand the stance you want to take before making it public. Young audiences can quickly turn on a company that only supports a cause on a surface level, so be prepared to back it up.
Stay True to Yourself
Unless you are at the initial stages of starting a business and have yet to choose a specific path or target market, you need to maintain integrity within your existing brand. If you have been established for a year or more, suddenly changing course to appeal to a younger audience will seem disingenuous and off-putting to both your current customers and those you are attempting to attract. While there is always scope to adjust your focus and look for ways to broaden your market, it’s vital that your business holds on to its roots.
Even if you started a business that offers a product or service many young people would engage with, this doesn’t guarantee you success. It is a fiercely competitive market since younger generations have their attention torn across so many different platforms and interests. How you market your business to this group will determine whether or not you can capture and maintain their engagement. Hopefully, this comprehensive guide has illuminated some of the most effective strategies your business can use to attract and retain this youngest target market.