There are any number of ways to market to Millennials who, by the way, are the now the largest generation on the planet and have the biggest buying power of any generation alive.

You can follow them on social media, you can shadow and sell to them based on their browsing activities, you can interrupt them on their applications, bombard them with emails, or you can build trust. We—I am a millennial—are crowded and bombarded by advertising everywhere we go because we take technology with us everywhere.

As a result, we’ve developed a lens through which we look at things online. We’re desensitized to reviews on Facebook, TripAdvisor, and Google because companies and individuals can buy fake data to inflate these details. We’re used to seeing advertising on so many platforms that it has little impact on us. We can see when a post has an artificial amount of likes, we can see when a company follows us for no real reason, and we can definitely see that little “sponsored” tag underneath their posts.

Influencer Marketing

The reason people and companies alike are turning to influencer marketing comes back to the old adage: “We buy from people we know, like and trust.” In today’s modern society, it’s easy to peddle inflated metrics to look more important than you really are. The difficult part lies in building a relationship with people who know your brand as trustworthy.

People like Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk and Ryan Holiday are some examples of major influencers in the world of online marketing who all have one thing in common that makes me trust them: they’re sharing a lot of what they do with other people for free.

That’s right, for free. They’re transparent with how they grow their brands, their products, and their followings. As a result, they’re authentic and engage with Millennials. The reason influencer marketing has become so important is that people have built real relationships with their followings before they even ask them to buy anything.

These relationships are what people buy.

Too many of us now have developed a sense of wariness when looking at brands. Millennials are used to technology, and if we want to learn more all we need to do is insert words into google. Once we’ve found that information, shouldn’t it be offered to us in a manner that is trustworthy and useful? As a brand or business, don’t you want to be the business that is found at the end of that Google search instead of being the business that is causing my app to load more slowly because you interrupted me with your pop-up advertisement?

Building Trust

If you’re looking to market properly to anyone, especially Millennials in today’s era of fake news and digital tricks, you need to build a relationship. The way to do this is by providing information of real value to your potential customer. There is a reason so many websites offer “free XYZ guide” downloads in exchange for an email address. It’s because they know they need time to build rapport before asking people to buy.

When it takes 6 – 8 touch points to generate viable sales lead it makes sense to do this in a way that is building trust and not forcing a product down our throats. A relationship works two ways and is based on trust. If you’re not offering a reason for people to trust your brand, then why should they give you their money in exchange? If you’re going to be different from the rest of the pack when marketing to the largest generation—or anyone else—you need to build a relationship with your customer because that’s what they want.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Kale Panoho

Kale Panoho is a digital marketer, personal trainer and growth hacker in the startup and health industry. After leaving his role in a rapidly growing start up, he has merged his sales and management experience to launch a shared business, Central Fitness. Graduating from Otago Polytechnic in exercise prescription and currently studying biochemistry at the University of Otago he is using these experiences to consult with startups and clients in the health and fitness space.