As we approach the end of the first quarter of 2020, it is a good time to look at your business’ growth strategies and marketing priorities, focusing on how to keep tactics fresh and on target to keep up with the fast-paced status quo. Part of this is ensuring campaigns are reaching the right audiences — and if your marketing mind automatically goes to millennials, you’re on the right track. I know, it may seem like all you hear about in headlines and marketing news is the importance of targeting millennials, but it’s with good reason. According to Lexington Law, this generation’s purchasing power is projected to reach $1.4 trillion this year, so it’s crucial your campaigns are resonating with this group.

Also known as Generation Y, millennials are currently in the age range of around 18 to 35 and differ drastically from the generations before them. Millennials are changing the landscape of the times with their tastes, preferences and purchasing power due to their sheer size. At roughly 83 million people, they are the largest living generation. They also outspend all other generations and, according to USA Today, 56 percent of millennials expect their personal finances to get a boost in 2020.

The Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), which serves as the consumer and public outreach arm of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), conducted a generational survey across millennial, Gen X and baby boomer generations to understand the similarities and differences between these varying age groups and their preferences when it comes to pest control services. These findings, along with marketing trends predicted for 2020, offer insights into how you can ensure your campaigns are strategic and purposeful in reaching millennials. We’ve boiled it down to three ways to gear your business’ marketing program to millennials.

MILLENNIAL RELATIONSHIPS. As a marketer, it is important to create relationships with potential millennial consumers, but it’s equally as important to maintain those relationships once they are in your network. At the end of the day, all marketing plans should, at their core, have the consumer’s interest and needs in mind.

Marketers in the past have sworn by the “funnel” approach, in which marketing campaigns pushed sales, which then led to consumers. This approach made the consumer seem like an afterthought. Let’s all make a concerted effort to say goodbye to the antiquated funnel and hello to the flywheel approach — one that is centered around the priorities of the consumer. According to Inc. magazine, flywheel marketing puts the consumer at the center of every stage of the buyer journey and uses customer service, marketing and sales to interact with the consumer throughout and, most importantly, beyond purchase.

One way to ensure you are building and maintaining relationships with your millennial consumers is to stay in touch and offer tips and services throughout the year. By thinking about the questions and concerns consumers might have throughout the year and addressing them ahead of time, you are telling the consumer they are always on your mind — not just when they are buying a service from you. Creating awareness and prevention marketing campaigns around popular pest seasons — i.e., termite season, mosquito season, rodent threats during winter, etc., is a good way to ensure millennials view your business as a helpful resource year-round.

According to PPMA generational research, when spotted in large numbers, the top three pest areas of concern for millennials are ants, mosquitoes and spiders. When asked which pests they would call a professional for help with if they spotted just one individual, however, millennials responded that the sight of a lone bed bug or termite would cause them to immediately call a professional. Knowing when these pests become more of an issue for homeowners can help you strategically time your marketing efforts to create seasonal campaigns around these specific pests. That way, millennial consumers know if a pest problem ever presents itself in their home, you should be their first call.

According to a study conducted by Forbes, 62 percent of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer.

PERSONALIZATION & EASY ACCESS. According to Inc., personalization is one of the top marketing trends that will shape how marketers interact with consumers in 2020. As automation, artificial intelligence and virtual reality all continue to grow and are paramount parts of any successful marketing plan, it’s important to note that consumers still value real interaction.

Growing up in the digital age, millennials are able to spot and easily tell the difference between authentic interactions versus automated ones. According to a study conducted by Forbes, 62 percent of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. With this information in mind, prioritize marketing outreach and content that is relatable and genuine.

Millennials are the first generation to grow up completely submersed in the internet — with social media, smart phones and search engines always at their fingertips. Because of this, they expect faster response times. According to PPMA, millennials see their pest control service as more reliable if they are up to date on technology and appear “plugged in.” Ensuring your business has a presence on prominent social media channels and is reachable through various means of communication such as email or text messaging is key to keeping connected with this tech-dependent group.

Creating a Facebook Business page for your company and linking it to a Twitter account allows for a steady stream of uniform content to reach your followers. Millennials turn to social media and the internet more than other generations, so having an active online presence will help ensure millennials get the timely response and service they are so used to.

ALL LIFE STAGES. Although millennials are grouped together for having similar interests, values and behaviors, they are also a generation that spans many different stages in life. Therefore, they are not easy to simplify and make generalizations about. According to Forbes, millennials are the most diverse generation to have ever existed, as you can find them in every social class and every industry. They can consist of everyone from unemployed college grads to middle class professionals. Because of these varying degrees of what it means to be a millennial, it’s important that marketers understand not everyone in this generation is the same and will therefore value different aspects of your services. Whether they’re a recent college grad living in their first apartment, a new homeowner or have been living in their home for years and are growing their families, something they all have in common is that they need quality professional pest control services.

PPMA found that 70 percent of millennials utilize pest control services on a regular basis, and they are most likely out of all generations to call a professional before attempting to implement a DIY method to save time and ensure it’s done correctly. With these findings in mind, positioning your company’s services to millennials buying their first home or renting their first apartment is a great way to acquire new and reliable customers that will continue to call you for their pest management needs in the future.

The millennial generation is a key target audience for a successful marketing plan for any business, including your pest management business. This generation outspends all others and is also the largest, making them one you cannot overlook. By forging and maintaining relationships, personalizing your campaign and being easily accessible, and supporting millennials throughout all of their life stages, you can ensure your company’s marketing efforts are successfully reaching this powerful generation.

Cindy Mannes is executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance and vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. She can be reached at cmannes@pestworld.org. For more about PPMA, visit www.npmapestworld.org/ppma.