Who Are These Rascals, Anyway?
Millennials are individuals who were born between approximately 1980 and 2000, although some sources bookend the generation with the years 1977 and 2004. This generation has surpassed the Baby Boomers in sheer numbers and is now the most populous in the United States, constituting nearly one-third of the current population. In fact, Millennials are now officially the largest generation in Western history, having passed the 80 million mark back in 2012 (with an additional 14.6 million in the UK).
Even as the size of their ranks overtakes that of their predecessors, popular opinion of Millennials continues to decline. It seems as though they are under constant scrutiny from their elders, being labeled as lazy, self-indulgent, entitled brats lacking self-awareness and basking in their shameless narcissism. It’s not hard to find headlines that lambaste Millennials; one Business Insider article headline from 2016 reads as follows: “Millennials are killing the napkin industry” — and it’s not a spoof.
While this wholesale condemnation of an entire generation feels a bit harsh, it’s important to understand that these individuals are a product of the society they inherited.
More than any generation before them, Millennials are ethnically diverse (42% identifying as an ethnicity other than “non-Hispanic white”) and highly educated (61% have attended college). Women are outperforming men in elementary and secondary education, and 57% of today’s undergraduates are women; in fact, in some recent years, women have even held more jobs than men. Millennials are also the first generation to be fully immersed in internet culture ― a scourge on their name to some, but also a valuable marketing opportunity lying in wait.
Sometimes referred to as “Digital Natives,” Millennials are easily the most technologically savvy generation in history. They were born into a world that demanded digital aptitude and have adapted accordingly. As a result, they see opportunity through technology, whereas previous generations often view it as a hindrance or nuisance to be tolerated. Millennials feel that technology makes their lives easier and allows them to stay connected with friends, family, and society at large.
Millennials are here to stay, much like the Baby Boomers before them, and they are not at all interested in standards, status quos, or stereotypes. And since these whippersnappers are growing up so darn fast and are so darn good at surfing the interwebs, law firms need to ignore preconceived notions about this generation and start taking them seriously as potential clients.
Let’s explore a few ways in which marketing to Millennials is different from the approach taken with previous generations.
The Importance of Candid Content
Millennials spend an average of 25 hours online each week, and the majority of that time is spent perusing and interacting with content-driven media, such as blogs, infographics, and video. As they browse, they’re sharing with their friends on social media, further galvanizing bonds with their friends and family. And since they value these bonds, they want to share content that they feel is accurate and authentic. This demographic is not easily deceived, and if they feel that they are being led astray, they will cut all ties with your brand. Therefore, the content that you are creating, curating, and promoting needs to be honest and direct.
Just as Millennials want to share authentic content with their friends and family, they are also more inclined to take action based on the content that is shared with them by those same people. They trust these individuals, and trust-building is one of the leading attributes of a successful law firm. Therefore, it’s important that you are promoting candid, meaningful content that positions the attorneys in your firm as a trustworthy legal advisors. This includes all forms of online content, including your website, blog, paid search campaigns, social media efforts, email automation, and more. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and always follow through with what you say you will. Your word is your bond, so don’t break it.
Inbound Marketing Is the Only Marketing
Millennials are not interested in being pursued via traditional modes of outbound advertising that (often unsuccessfully) attempt to pander to their demographic. In fact, a 2014 study found that 84% of Millennials do not trust traditional marketing. They’re less interested in your slogan or logo and more interested in what your firm has to actually offer them. This means magazine ads, billboards, TV ads, and other outbound communications are much less effective for this group. Instead, they’re looking for content that respects their intelligence. This takes the form of inbound marketing assets with informational content that seeks to edify and clarify rather than directly influence. For example, ebooks, infographics, and video testimonials are far more effective when marketing to Millennials.
Since Millennials are so technologically adept, they don’t need to be hit over the head with digital advertising to discover the content they’re looking for. Therefore, a disruptive pop-up ad boasting about your firm’s many achievements is going to generate little to no return on investment. If they need an attorney, they’re going to find an attorney — and not by clicking on an intrusive ad that gets in the way of the content they are trying to digest. This is one more reason why you need to make sure that your content is informative, honest, direct, and concise.
Millennials believe in the power of their own choices, so it’s important that you guide them to a comfortable space in which they’re provided with content that helps them make informed decisions rather than an environment of intimidation, ultimatums, or self-aggrandizing fluff. Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts and 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs and social networking, so take this opportunity to position your firm as a thought leader in a variety of relevant topics. And by adhering to SEO best practices, you can help ensure that your firm achieves higher positioning within organic search so that your content can be easily found. Bottom line: If your content is strong, you can trust your visitors to make the right choice for themselves.
Give Them Something to Believe In
While often perceived as a selfish generation, the truth is that Millennials are a rather altruistic group who are more likely to support a brand or business that actively supports various causes. Recent research suggests that as much as 37% of Millennials are more likely to make a purchase from a company that supports a cause, even if that purchase will cost them more. Therefore, it’s important to remain active in your community and position your firm as one that cares about more than just your bottom line.
Here are a few ways for you to undertake an increased role in the community you serve:
- Sponsor a local 5K: This is a great opportunity to interact with your friends and neighbors and walk the walk by showing the importance of exercise and fitness. As a leader in the community, your actions will speak louder than your words.
- Participate in scheduled park clean-up days: Many people (young people, especially) are under the impression that attorneys live in ivory towers and are intentionally detached from their communities. Beautifying your community is a great way to show that you’re not afraid to get your hands a little dirty for the betterment of the neighborhood.
- Adopt a family for major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, etc.): As someone who wasn’t raised in the lap of luxury, I can assure you that holidays can be a very difficult time for many families. By providing meals, toys, or financial assistance to the less fortunate during holidays, you can brighten up the season.
- Fundraise for charity, such as local homeless shelters or the Red Cross: Even though it might not seem like much, every little bit helps. Research which local charities are most in need and establish an annual fund-raising drive among colleagues and rival firms ― a little competition in the name of charity never hurt!
- Volunteer at hospitals reading to children or feeding the elderly: Sometimes the best we can do for our young people and elders is to keep them company. Loneliness is one of the lowest human emotions, especially when you’re physically or mentally ill, so schedule regular trips to a wing of your local hospital or nursing home to show that these individuals are in your thoughts.
- Sponsor a college scholarship for local students: As an attorney, you and your colleagues are among the most educated individuals in our society. Not only that, but you understand better than anyone how the education you have received has propelled you to success. Sponsor an annual essay-writing contest based on a topic that aligns with your firm’s mission and provide a scholarship to the winner each year.
Community outreach isn’t about working cases pro bono, and it’s not about competing with local non-profits. It’s about showing your friends, neighbors, and clients (past, present, and future) that you’re interested in more than your firm’s bottom line. A little bit of goodwill can go a long way, so consider adopting a few of the suggestions above to inspire confidence from this new demographic.
Of Course Millennials Are Different — Your Generation Was Too
Keep in mind one last thing when marketing your law firm to Millennials (and it’s an important one): We’re the ones that need to change, not them. Maybe they’re not lazy, but selective. Maybe they’re not arrogant, but confident. Maybe they’re not entitled, but self-aware. And the flip side of this coin is that we’ve probably ― no, we’ve definitely ― been too hard on them. Like every generation in history, they’ve simply inherited the world that we’ve given them, so it’s hard to blame them for their unique attitudes, beliefs, and interests.
Every generation is defined by key moments in their existence ― moments that shaped and molded their collective worldview. And instead of judging or making assumptions, we need to get to know our audience (in this case, Millennials) and learn to identify with them before we can even begin to market to them successfully.
Hit Us Up, Yo! We, Like, Toats Know Millennials #marketingaficionados
Time to come clean: I am, in fact, a member of this much maligned tribe, as are most of us here at LaFleur; after all, the average age of a Millennial is 27. Despite our “youth,” we’re a well-versed and experienced group of marketing professionals, and we have a deep understanding of how Millennials think and what influences their decision making. And since this new generation is poised to represent the majority of your firm’s business over the next several decades, now is the best time to start considering the unique needs and values of what will surely be your largest pool of potential clients.
If you would like to contact us for a free review of your current marketing efforts or to discuss launching entirely new campaigns (content, pay-per-click, social, automation, etc.), you can reach us by calling 888-222-1512 or by completing the brief from on this page. We’re eager to discuss our approach to marketing, as well as how we can help your firm focus on engaging with the emerging Millennial demographic.
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- The Best Policy: Advocating for Truth in Marketing Online
- Best Practices for Infographic Ideation, Development, and Design
Gibb, C. (2013, December 9). How will Millennials transform the future of law? Docket. Retrieved from http://www.dbadocket.org/networking/how-will-millennials-transform-the-future-of-law/
Millennials: Coming of age. (2017). Goldman Sachs. Retrieved from http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/
Moraes, M. (2015, August 12). 8 modern tips for marketing to Millennials. Hubspot. Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/marketing-to-millennials#sm.00019ywrms11bxe6qzbuq7aqijm49
Who are Millennials? (2017). Millennial Marketing. Retrieved from http://www.millennialmarketing.com/who-are-millennials/