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Marketing Your Handmade Business to Millennials
Author: Stephanie Taylor Christensen
Thursday, March 1, 2018


There are now about 80 million millennials, according to United States Census Bureau data. Generally defined as those born between 1981 through 1997, millennials have surpassed baby boomers as the demographic that makes up the bulk of the population (though there are still more baby boomers and Gen X’ers who identify as the head of the household).

Now that the oldest millennials are now in their late 30’s, nearly 40 percent of millennials are also parents.  Whether your handmade business markets products to millennials for their own use or gears your messaging towards their children, it’s likely that your target audience now includes millennials.

Here’s a look at what makes millennials tick, what features and benefits they value in brands, and products, and how to target your marketing efforts to resonate with them.

Remove gender bias.  Millennials don’t adhere to traditional gender stereotypes that apply to moms, dads, boys or girls.  Avoid using colors, copy or package designs that attempt to blatantly appeal to one gender over the other. Millennials aren’t likely to respond to tired gender biases like all girls like the color pink, rose scents and sparkles, while boys like blue, basic, and woodsy scents. Likewise, confirm that your product names, copy and marketing messages speak to both genders.

Research by Google and Ipsos suggests that 86% of millennial dads, for example, get their parenting advice, recipes and tips from YouTube. If you use video as a marketing tactic and/or record product demonstrations or educational videos that speak to the benefits of your products or the ingredients you use in them, remember that you’re not speaking only to moms.

Steer clear of lifestyle stereotypes.  Don’t assume that the millennial parents you market to are officially married-or that they want to be. Pew Research Center reports that since 2011, millennials have cohabitated with unmarried partners more than any generation before them. In 2016, millennials also surpassed other generations for the number of households headed by a single mother.  If you use images of people in your marketing content, be certain to feature all types of family arrangements.

Respect all ages.  Millennial parents have abandoned the idea that parents are the authority figure, and children simply fall in line. In fact, Google and Ipsos data reveals that nearly 80% of millennial parents say their child is their best friend. Millennials value their children’s opinions, have honest conversations with them, and empower them to be independent thinkers. Millennial parents do not buy items for their children without consulting them--nor do they make purchases to appease a child’s whining or tantrum in the store aisle! Millennials make purchase decisions collaboratively with their kids, and truly want to understand what drives their child’s desire for certain types of products. This may include research products online and on social media with kids, reading reviews about an item, and watching videos so both parent and child understand what the product entails before they buy. Content related to your handmade products should address the needs and questions of millennial parents and their kids, presented in a way that is equally respectful of their intelligence and ability to discern fact from fiction.

Use nostalgia. Millennials want their kids to know who they are, and what they were like as kids. Google’s data indicates that nearly 70% of millennial parents watch television shows, product advertisements and content to demonstrate to their own kids what types of toys, hobbies, music and movies they engaged with as children.

Speak to self-care.  Millennials are highly involved parents, but they also embrace the idea of balance, wellness, self-care, and maintaining a personal identity outside of parenthood. Despite their busy lives, nearly 75% of millennial parents make the time to pursue personal passions and hobbies, representing a significantly higher percentage compared to Gen X’ers. Handmade business owners that produce items specifically geared towards inner and outer well-being won’t need to convince millennials that self-care is worth their time or sell them on the idea that “they’re worth it.” Instead, focus on the proof points that set your product apart from competitors, and substantiate the benefits they offer in supporting the self-care millennials value.



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