Millennials differ from other generations in several significant ways, making them a more challenging market to understand and target.

Technology use is the most noticeable departure point. Since they've grown up with devices in their hands, this group is much better at multitasking and using digital media in more flexible and innovative ways.

What does this mean for small business marketing to Millennials in Canada? Read on to discover key takeaways.

Millennials have been more thoroughly doted upon by their parents than any generation in history. So perhaps it's no coincidence that they are generally considered uncompromisingly demanding when it comes to products and services.

Those high expectations also spill into their reactions to marketing. Millennials don't share baby boomers' wary attitude toward marketing messages, and they respect only those that involve them in the discussion.

Instead of passively absorbing ads, Millennials demand to tell companies what they want, and they get a response. On the plus side, if they like you, they'll eagerly take part in the marketing effort by passing on referrals and reviews.

As such, reaching Millennials requires a revamped marketing approach. In essence, companies need to learn new marketing strategies to apply to this demo.

These five principles can get you started:

1. Use innovative technology in effective ways.

Crowdsourcing is how Millennials seek information, most often through digital and mobile platforms. Small businesses need to follow this trend by mobilizing advocates and encouraging social sharing.

In particular, Millennials love and use video to consume content, but it needs to resonate. Sharing an "aha" moment via video can spur action and express authenticity. Additionally, don't be afraid to use humour: Millennials welcome it, especially when its unexpected.

Millennials dislike complexity and lengthy instructions. Take a cue from Apple and be visual. If it can't be figured out at a glance, Millennials aren't likely to flock to it.

2. Be interactive.

This essentially means listening to customers and involving them in everything from product design to marketing. It's especially effective in building recommendation generators that turn consumers into marketers so companies don't have to churn out one-way messages.

3. Move fast and hit hard.

Millennials want their information now and their products just as soon, and they want to be intensely entertained and engaged. One way to grab attention and create an impression of speed and urgency is to promote limited-time offers, such as discount coupons that must be redeemed that day.

4. Find and engage influencers.

Even the smallest company can recruit Millennial ambassadors. For example, if you're a pizza place, figure out who's important in the community and give them free coupons to bring in their friends. It doesn't have to be a huge, over-the-top campaign. And it's never been easier or cheaper to do than now.

5. Make cause-related marketing mean something.

Millennials are unimpressed with superficial support of causes. They want commitment to the cause to permeate your entire company. One good example is a trendy shoe company based in Santa Monica, California that has sold more than a million pairs of shoes on the premise that for every pair a customer buys, it will donate a pair to a child in need.

Related Reading: Why Company Culture for Small Business is More Important Than Ever

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