“Millennials are not a monolith. They are a diverse group of consumers with varying attitudes and actions when it comes to food, health and social media.”
So concludes a very interesting report entitled The Curious Case of the Millennial Consumers. As we’ve written about previously, treating any generation or consumer segment as a generic composite of its members is risky business. This is especially true when it comes to the 80 million American consumers known as Millennials.
Demography tells us that Millennials are the most diverse generation the country has ever seen. Yet marketers continue to be enamored of trend reports, research, and data that attempt to treat these individuals as one easily defined—and marketed to—group.
But Millennials are not all the same. Not all Millennials are glued to their smartphone. Not all Millennials spend their day “sharing” on social media. Not all Millennials turn to social media for guidance, particularly when it comes to their health & wellness.
So how should healthy brands approach marketing to Millennials? The same way you would market to any other health-conscious consumer: through education, through engagement, and through trusted sources.
- Education: Health-conscious consumers want more information, not less. While social media and digital advertising can help build brand awareness, these low-impact, low-influence touches cannot provide the education that Millennials are seeking. Look to longer-form, more education-focused tactics to provide Millennials with the information they need to choose your healthy brand. And keep it targeted and specific—Millennials know how to find the information they are looking for, so avoid content that paints them with a broad brush.
- Engagement: Impressions are becoming increasingly devalued, in part because of the low level of engagement involved. Even getting a consumer to click a “Like” or “Retweet” button is a minimal level of engagement that most Millennials view as mechanical and unmemorable. To truly drive engagement with your healthy brand, you need approaches that put your brand at the heart of a conversation about a relevant health topic.
- Trusted Sources: Having grown up in the internet age, Millennials have developed a healthy skepticism about the information they find online. Marketing a healthy brand to this generation must utilize trusted sources of information. In health & wellness, that’s the consumer’s hand-picked health and wellness influencer—whether that’s a personal trainer, a health coach, a nurse, a physician, a midwife or a pediatric professional.
With a focus on these three key elements, your healthy brand can meet the broad and diverse needs of Millennials seeking health & wellness solutions. With the plethora of Millennial-focused data and reports out there, it’s easy for marketers to talk themselves into a one-size-fits-all approach. The reality, as always, is more complicated—and more interesting—than that.