Author: Curt Cuscino (Founder & CEO of HypeLife Brands)
Millennials make up nearly one-fourth of the country’s population, and startups are constantly seeking new and innovative strategies to attract that demographic. Current estimates suggest Millennials have a current buying power exceeding $200 billion per year.
If you’re considering creating a new startup -- a new business that can effectively reach and connect with Millennials -- there are several key strategies when it comes to building and marketing a startup.
1. Get to Know MillennialsBaby Boomers have long been the buying market of choice for brands and marketers alike, but now that Millennials have the majority share of focus, it’s important to note that Millennials approach the actual buying experience much differently than their predecessors.
For example, they are:
- mobile-first, last and always
- user experience-obsessed
- have no brand loyalty
- intent-based in their purchasing patterns
- tribal in nature
Millennials grew up using technology, and currently spend an average of 25+ hours online every week. They’re constantly searching for new products and services to best meet their needs, and more importantly, fit into their lifestyles.
Additionally, Millennials make extensive use of social media platforms to both obtain and share information. And because they’ve come of age in a highly digital, online world, they’re quick to spot information that’s misleading or incomplete and, when they do, quickly move on to other options.
That means online information -- the messaging and essence your brand is putting out into the world -- must be relevant, accurate and authentic at all times.
2. Take Time to Define SuccessSure, sales and profits are nice. But as Amazon has continually proven, sales and profits matter less than user experience and customer loyalty in the long run.
For any startup, it’s important to sit down and figure out what "success" in your brand's specific niche really means.
Fast profitability? Huge user growth? Rapid adoption of platform? Which KPIs attained spell success for your specific startup? How much capital will it take to get there? Answers to these questions should drive all the other decisions related to your startup.
For example, a new company providing accounting services for consumers has far different needs than a startup that's marketing home security. Consumer-focused B2C brands of all types must then review their objectives with other stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Only then should the startup’s owners take additional steps to determine how to move forward.
3. Partner with the Right TeamA must: Find strategic partners who can bring your brand to life, and make the marketing plan a reality. That generally means working closely with legal and financial advisors as well as a specialized, startup-specific marketing agency to build a compelling brand and develop an online presence that delivers solid results.
Because a startup is about building from the ground up, it’s important to align with a savvy team that can solve today’s marketing needs, while building a future-proof framework for increased brand awareness and future growth.
Additionally, finding a funding source that shares the same type of vision can also be hugely important. Ultimately, we always recommend startup founders plan to self-fund for the first 2+ years, as finding funding for a pre-traction startup (read: a startup that's been created, launched, and is growing) is nearly impossible.
TIP: Keep in mind that building, launching, marketing and growing a successful startup is a six-figure capital commitment over the first two years of the life of any new business, without question.
It is extremely tough for most traditional investors, e.g. banks and even venture capital groups, to see and understand your vision until after it has been created AND has a tangible (and growing) client/user base.
Additionally, if you're reliant on others for capital, this will hamper your ability to move quickly and swiftly, a move that's necessary to take a startup from idea to market.
When it comes to traditional lenders, in most cases they are simply too unfamiliar with startups, their marketing needs, and what it takes to truly grow a new business in the modern, digital age.
Find a funding source that gets you and your vision, or better yet, fund and invest in your idea (and yourself) for the long haul.
Lastly, if you're having a tough time with the capital requirements for building a new business or startup, you can still get started. We've actually put together this handy list of tools for startup marketing, affordable stock photography for startups, and more, that we here at HypeLife use for our clients daily...just for you, if you're in this situation. This helpful list of vetted resources and tools will save you DAYS if not WEEKS of ripping your hair out trying to figure this all out on your end.
4. Build a Proper FoundationMarketing to a demographic that’s so tech savvy adds an extra layer of complexity, as it becomes even more important to design marketing strategies that take that skillset into account. The brand’s message and marketing campaigns have to be easily digestible, quick reads, authentic, mobile-first, intuitive, and often, directly useful to the lives of the viewer.
Since there is so much at stake, getting everything right the first time simply won’t happen. But getting as much right as possible—laying a solid foundation from which to grow—means carefully planning a sophisticated marketing strategy that’s geared to your startup’s agreed-upon success markers. After all, no matter the size of a startup, eventual return on investment (ROI) is critical, which makes finding a partner to properly set the stage for success equally critical.
5. Plan for TomorrowWhile ROI drives business strategies today, it’s also important to structure marketing for startups that are future-oriented. Millennials will drive the markets for several more years, and that suggests it will certainly be vital that the long-term objectives and business plans consider that fiscal reality. Planning for the future makes the startup look more attractive to investors and, at the same time, enhances the potential for enjoying higher profits over a longer payback period. That’s why engaging with the right partner during the planning stages is critical.
6. Start TodayYou’ll always fail tomorrow at what you don’t start today. A successful startup takes significant time to plan and execute, so start now. If you’re in the early stages of developing a startup, now is the time to take advantage of every resource at your disposal.
We know that building a startup from scratch isn’t for everyone, but we’re here to help those willing to take the leap.
We’re here to help you -- the visionary founder -- bring your idea to life.
About the Author
Curt Cuscino is the Founder & CEO of HypeLife Brands. HypeLife Brands is a progressive brand development + startup marketing agency specializing in building, launching, and growing new B2C/DTC brands and startups, tuned for the Millennial generation.
Established in 2001, HypeLife Brands serves a select roster of startup and challenger brand clients throughout the U.S. and provides full, 360 degree coverage of the brand and startup marketing & advertising lifecycle for new brands and businesses at all stages of growth...often starting from day one with little more than the seed of an idea from a Visionary Founder or Entrepreneur.