Column: We Should Be Marketing to the Millennials

The Millennial generation is the biggest in U.S. history – yes, even bigger than the Baby Boomers. There are 92 million Millennials, about a fourth of the entire population, with an annual buying power of $200 billion. So why is Kingman not learning to market to the younger generations? Why are we still using outdated forms of media and information?

Millennials don’t react to marketing the same way Baby Boomers do. They are “the children of the Great Recession” and have developed unique buying habits because of the environment of their childhood. Millennials have come of age during a time of technological change, globalization and economic disruption. That’s given us a different set of behaviors and experiences than our parents.

We aren’t risk takers, despite older generations dubbing us “impulsive.” We would rather spend our money on an experience than a material good. We showcase our travels, hobbies and meals instead of our clothes or our cars.

We aren’t buying homes or starting families until we are on the older end of the spectrum, largely because we can’t afford to with nearly crippling student loan debt to worry about. In the 1970s, the average marriage age was 23, but now people aren’t getting married until they’re about 30.

And it’s not just family life that millennials are dragging their feet with either. According to Goldman Sachs, Millennials have been reluctant to buy cars, music and luxury goods. Instead they are turning to services that provide access to products – such as Uber and Lyft – which has produced a kind of “sharing economy.”

So how should Kingman capitalize on this younger generation? How can a historic town market itself to younger people?

Well, one of the first things to note is that Millennials put huge amounts of stock into word-of-mouth influence. Whether we are trying to find a place to eat or looking for a place to live, we check out reviews.

So hire some people to write blogs and reviews about local hotspots in Kingman. Especially anything to do with fitness, health and food. We like to be active, not only in our personal lives, but also in our community. Play up the philanthropic side of Kingman. Show Millennials how much money is donated through city events, where it is being donated to.

Millennials want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, so the marketing strategy should clearly show what the city is working on and why they should be a part of it.

But above all else, have jobs. Kingman isn’t exactly close to home for a lot of Millennials, so they have to have a reason to move here. The catch here is that the job has to have wages or a salary that can meet the cost of living, if not a little extra.

That was what the KAA industrial park was meant to do. It was meant to create those jobs, so it’s understandable that the city seems up in arms about the lack of progress.