Marketing to Millennials – position yourself to be different

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By Debbie Cosic
In2ition Realty

Marketing for the real estate industry changes with the times, especially when it comes to different segments of the population.

With Baby Boomers, it’s all about traditional sales tactics, brand loyalty and a preference for in-person interactions during the buying process. Gen Xers are more receptive to a contemporary vibe and the use of technology to communicate at least some of the time. Millennials, born between 1981 and 1999, respond to a very different marketing approach. For these young people, music, pop culture, fashion and technology are important, and a desire to be unique guides their choices.

Fear of missing out

Builders, developers, real estate agents and anyone marketing to Millennials need to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Uniqueness appeals to this population segment’s fear of missing out on the latest and greatest. They want to be in the know, and they live on social media to stay in that loop. They are greatly influenced by their peers, so keeping a good reputation in the industry remains important. Remember, these buyers will often go to the same restaurant as a friend who posted a picture of their food, or avoid seeing a movie that gets a bad rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Someone sharing a negative story about a home or condo purchase can scare away the very people to whom you are marketing.

When Millennials choose a new or resale home or condo, they also want it to be Instagram-worthy. Savvy marketers understand that even with compact homes and condominium suites, models and sales centres must be spectacular to attract Millennials. This differentiation is the marketing twist that will hook them and pay (sometimes extra) to be in certain communities. Think about advertising, too.

Millennials love radio podcasts, so radio ads are more effective with this generation than previous ones.

Use of technology

Keep in mind that if there is one thing that defines this generation of Millennials, it’s the extensive use of technology. These people have no qualms about shopping and doing business online and via their smart phones and tablets. They also expect the residences they choose to be technologically advanced, or at least have the capability to be upgraded. More and more, we see new homes and condos featuring technological advancements that will carry residents into the future. If there is a smart feature that’s new and innovative, being first at the post to advertise it will likely captivate Millennials who are ready to buy. Unlike their Boomer parents, Millennials are not in-person shoppers unless it’s necessary.

Getting back to basics, affordability is still one of the largest drivers for this generation, so floorplans and overall designs have to be tight and efficient. The fact that condominiums are being snapped up by so many Millennials is easy to understand. They appreciate the fact that condo living brings with it amenity spaces where they can live outside of their compact suites. Luckily, this younger generation appreciates minimalism in the sense that they are not attached to “stuff” the way their parents and grandparents are. They can live in a few hundred square feet quite well.

Along the lines of affordability, Millennials who choose townhomes, semis or detached homes look at the potential extra income capability of renting out some of the space. The other consideration they have is for multi-generational possibilities with an in-law suite or a small lock-off unit. When families share the costs and expenses involved, homeownership becomes a reality for those who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Again, it comes down to great and innovative designs and effective marketing to realize your fullest sales potentials.

No builder wants to undersell product. They all want to capitalize on the frothiness of the market. To do so with the approximately 10 million Millennials in Canada, to tap into the collective buying power of this generation, you need to position your development in a unique manner.

Debbie Cosic is founder and CEO of In2ition Realty. in2ition.ca