Personalize Email Marketing to Reach Millennials

Millennials demand a personalized experience with email and messaging

With a collective buying power over $200 billion — the most of any generation — Millennials are an essential demographic for retailers to find a way to reach with their messaging. Some marketers seem anxious to downplay email as one of the chief means to do so, but new research from Euclid suggests email is as important a channel as any when it comes to reaching Millennials. It’s not that email isn’t effective; it’s that impersonal email isn’t effective. Email marketers have an opportunity with Millennials, but not if they continue to batch-and-blast with messages that make young people yawn.

Nothing worse than being ignored

Millennials have grown up in a world that’s constantly advertising to them — often clunkily, and transparently. There’s little they’re more in tune to, or turned off by, than artificiality. If you make it too obvious you want their business, there’s a good chance you won’t get it. And what’s more is you’ll probably never know it, because they’ll just ignore you.

“Overly enthusiastic marketing email volume was broadly panned by respondents, whose dislike of the practice cut firmly across all demographics,” the Euclid report says. “Half of all respondents said receiving too many email communications from a brand would drive them to unsubscribe from that brand’s marketing outreach. But Millennials, at 44%, were the least worked up about actively addressing the problem, whereas 55% of Boomers and 51% of Gen Xers would make it a point to unsubscribe. Far from an invitation to keep it up, however, the Millennial response indicates indifference or perhaps apathy. Although they might not take the time to unsubscribe, neither will they pay more attention to marketing emails or think more highly of the brand sending them.”

For a brand, this might be the worst-case scenario. Not only do you not get positive results from your emails, but you don’t even get negative ones. An unsubscribe is at least a form of feedback. You know the recipient isn’t interested in your content, and you can move on without them. An uninterested prospect culling themselves from your list actually saves you the time of doing it yourself. That can be a good thing. But, according to this study, Millennials generally won’t bother. They’ll just toss your email into the trash without a second thought. And that means it can take awhile for you to even realize you’ve lost them.

Millennials value interactions that feel genuine

If you know you’ll turn off Millennials with advertising and marketing efforts, it’s easy to throw up your hands and deem them a lost cause. But they’re not. It’s just going to take more effort.

“The research also showed that Millennials are far from unreachable,” the Euclid report says. “Immersive experiences that blend technology, personalization and price seem to be the potent combination this marketing-fatigued generation craves. Further, a third of them indicated that great pricing would influence their purchasing decisions inside a store, so coupling smart outreach with price may encourage greater Millennial customer engagement.”

To get Millennials’ attention with your email campaigns, you need to do more than beat your chest and tell them how great your product is. You must deliver a memorable experience that’s relevant to them. You need to speak in a way that isn’t boasting or transparently sales-y. You need to make them feel something. They want to be treated like individuals, not account numbers. Millennials may demand this kind of experience the most. But all generations will respond positively to these types of marketing efforts.

Individuals are unique, and your communications should be in tune with that. Millennials expect it because they know it’s possible. Everybody else wants it, even if they don’t always say so.

About the Author

Will Devlin

A 20-year email marketing veteran, Will has focused on marketing strategy and execution for MessageGears since 2014. He has extensive experience on both the retail customer and service side of email marketing, and he’s interested in helping businesses better understand how they can make the most of the work they put into their email campaigns.