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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 August 2018

Things to consider when marketing to millennials

While social media will help your business reach this audience, you still need to stand out from the crowd

Manar Al Hinai uses YouTube to watch product reviews. Bloomberg
Manar Al Hinai uses YouTube to watch product reviews. Bloomberg

With the advent of social media, it's never been easier to market your business to millennials. Platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook can certainly make communication with an audience effortless for those starting a business in the UAE. However, there are challenges too.

It’s easy because you can spend relatively little time and money reaching your customers through digital media than through traditional advertising mediums such as TV and print. But it’s also hard because of all the digital noise millennials are exposed to online. I access so much information every day that I don’t realise how much unnecessary content I am actually exposed to.

The problem is that many sectors assume millennials are lazy, making purchase decisions without thinking. But if you want to market your business to this target group born between the years of 1981 and 1996, then the first thing to do is throw that idea out of the window.

In my experience as a creative consultant specialising in marketing, millennials are one of the toughest groups to access. Why? Because they are extremely tech-savvy, highly educated and are willing to spend money.

Sounds good right? The thing is that before they spend that money, they research a lot. They check what people are saying about a product or service, asking their friends or visiting social media websites to analyse reviews of product X,Y or Z. A survey of 2,000 millennials by the online business Boxt found that three in 10 of those polled would only buy from websites with trusted recommendations.

As a millennial myself, YouTube is my best friend when it comes to product reviews, especially when I want to buy an electronic device. I also use it as an educational tool and it has helped me fix so many tech glitches.

If you are looking to sell to this target group, you need to stand out from the crowd. Here are three ways to achieve that:

Support the local community

According to a poll conducted by Morning Consult for Fortune, millennials want to deal with a company that gives back to a charity. Many businesses in the UAE do just that. Maison Sucre Bakery in Abu Dhabi, for instance, donates its unsold pastries to those in need at the end of the day. Meanwhile Dubai’s Mochi fashion label works with different artisans across the world to help empower women in different communities.

Supporting a local cause is a great incentive to convince millennials to deal with your business. Search for a charitable initiative that makes sense for your venture. If you run a fashion business, for example, then perhaps you could help employ women from shelters, or help support local artisans. If you own a restaurant, then maybe you can dedicate the profits of certain operating hours to feeding the hungry or buying a meal for those in need.

Don’t just do it, tell your customers you are doing it. Many companies engage in good deeds but no one knows about their work. If your target customers are millennials, then make sure they know. You’d be surprised how many may want to come on board and take part in your good work - something that would benefit your business in the long run.

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Read more:

How to create a personal brand as a serial entrepreneur

How millennials can keep tabs on their financial health in the UAE

The best blogs to help millennials manage their money

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Focus on video

Let’s face it, most of us are using our mobile phones constantly now - from making phone calls to researching something. My consultancy produces video for some of our clients, and I can tell you that video is key when it comes to advertising your business today. With all that content they have to trawl through every day, millennials barely have time to read. Put your message in video that runs a minute or less and they will pay attention. Also, it’s not only about producing video, but producing high-quality video. Instead of producing several mediocre videos, produce one that is impactful, and resonates emotionally with your target audience.

Get influential

If you want to stand out then you need to be creative and this is where influencer marketing is key. Millennials trust reviews, especially reviews by those they respect and follow. You don’t have to opt for big social media celebrities to deliver your message; choose those with a smaller number of followers but a high engagement.

Millennials comprise a large segment of the UAE population, so following the above strategies will help your business attract and retain them.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer, who manages her creative consultancy in Abu Dhabi

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