Nope. This is not yet another article warning you about the scary Millennials who’re coming down the road (hey, they’re already here). In fact, the surge of articles “advising” how to deal with this group is now dying down. That doesn’t mean businesses have cracked this segment or that they fully understand how to market to them. Far from the truth.
Consider this instead as a quick reminder for your business on how to tweak your strategy to target Millennials, one that you most definitely need.
Why, you ask?
Well, because right now, more than one in three American workers is a Millennial. That’s 35% of the total spending population. Or over a third of your revenues for this year and every year for the foreseeable future.
But is a 35% segment share reason enough, in itself, to warrant a separate marketing strategy? In this case, it is. There are several key findings that set millennials apart in the marketing world.
- A study by The McCarthy Group found that 84% do not like or trust traditional forms of advertising.
- 55% claim to be brand loyal, compared to only 39% of consumers in older age groups.
- Research indicates that 62% claim they are more likely to become a loyal customer to a brand they interact with on social media.
- According to Adweek, 93% say they take blogs and user reviews into account when making a purchase.
Convinced yet about why you need to figure out a way to reach out to this fast growing (but not necessarily fickle) generation of buyers? Read on then.
Be Where Your Buyer Is – Everywhere
Millennials are the first generation that grew up as digital natives. Given this fact, most people assume that Millennials shop exclusively online or on mobile. This could not be farther from the truth.
Research shows that Millennials tend to do a combination of offline and online shopping with a definite skew towards brick and mortar retail. Close to 80% of Millennials research online before making a purchase – whether online or in stores. Of the Millennials that research online, a whopping 67% of them make the final purchase in stores. This means you need to have the ability to showcase your products effectively online and in stores to enable your Millennial buyers to take their pick.
84% of Millennials use their phones for shopping assistance in stores. Cue, free Wi-Fi in-stores. This shopping assistance includes price comparisons, checking for inventory online, as well as help in locating the item inside the store.
This also means you need to implement a unified point of sale (POS) system such as the one from Shopify, which lets you integrate your online and offline presence and you keep track of products, inventory, and sales across all channels in one place. This way, your ecommerce and physical outlets both run smoothly, while catering to the omnichannel shopping habits of your Millennial shoppers. The best part of such a unified POS system is the flexibility to sell through your website, in makeshift pop up locations, or even on social media with equal ease.
Pull, Not Push Marketing
Save your millions in advertising dollars. Sorry, but Millennials hate being sold to. This cord cutting generation has already bypassed TV ads, installed ad blockers on their computers and phones and tuned out radio ads in favor of streaming music.
This picky, independent minded generation is the reason content marketing has been such a success over the last few years. With Millennials wielding their massive buying power, businesses have caught on to what works best for this prime audience. Instead of bombarding your audience with salesy spiels, let them come to you.
Follow the lead of brands like Red Bull that live and breathe extraordinary content. Content that their audience – Millennials – seek out and subscribe to watch! Red Bull positions itself as a lifestyle and adventure brand for young Millennials. In keeping with its focus on sports and adventure, it sponsors breathtaking stunts by professional sportspersons, including that record setting free jump from outer space by Felix Baumgartner that amassed 43 million views on YouTube!
What’s more, smart pull marketing can even convert users that had no intention of buying from you in the first place. A Google-Ipsos study shows that 51% of smartphone users have shopped with a brand other than their original choice, purely based on the value of content provided by the brand. One more reason to shore up your content marketing strategy across every stage of the buyer’s journey!
Stand for Something
We could not have imagined the #MeToo movement happening just 5 years ago. Nor could we have imagined the widespread popularity of fair trade, organic, and locally produced items just a few years ago. This trend towards responsible consumerism is the calling card of the Millennial generation.
According to the Coupon Follow study quoted earlier, 48% of Millennials prefer to patronize brands that stand behind their favorite social causes. 45% of them say that environmentally friendly brands are more important to them than others.
Millennial-focused brands like Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks espouse very different values, but they don’t shy away from wearing their personalities on their sleeve.
The racially charged incident in a Philadelphia Starbucks in May 2018 had their CEO publicly apologizing to the two victims and ordering racial sensitivity training to over 180,000 of its employees across the United States. On the other hand, Chick-Fil-A was in the eye of a storm a few years ago with their COO’s repeated comments against the LGBT community and same-sex marriage, but he stuck to his stated position nevertheless.
Their clear positions allow their target audience to make up their minds on which brand to buy from and which one to avoid. Neither has been affected financially, by their principled stands. While Starbucks has held on to its number two spot on the largest food chain rankings for the US, Chick-Fil-A racked up $9 billion in revenues in 2017, climbing to the number 3 spot.
Offer Value for Money
As products of the Great Recession, Millennials had the misfortune of coming into age at a time when jobs were nigh impossible to find, wages and benefits hit rock bottom and crushing student debt made penny pinching fashionable.
The hard economic realities that Millennials waded through at the outset of their careers means large purchases like a house or a car have been relegated to the distant future. Even immediate purchases happen only when they pass the Millennial value for money test. Thrift stores, both online and offline, are growing 20x faster than regular retail stores, thanks to Millennials patronizing them. In fact, a study by Mindshare North America reported some striking findings:
Clearly, this is not the generation to which you’d pitch that pricey Rolex. Try the Boomers for that stuff.
Of course, Amazon is the biggie when it comes to undercutting prices and offering faster delivery and better service to customers. If you’re a small or niche retailer who can’t jump into price wars with your competitors, your best bet is to try a market intelligence solution like Wiser to scan the web for prices at which other vendors are selling the products that you do, and then tweak your pricing strategy accordingly.
Better yet, work on the value you bring to the table when targeting Millennials. Value doesn’t necessarily translate into low prices. Value means offering unexpected extras with your base product or service, thus delighting your customer. This could be a complimentary car wash with a regular priced oil change, a professional stylist offering fashion tips at an apparel retailer, and so on. These critical questions will help you come up with a targeting plan that works for you:
- What are their values?
- Who are their influencers?
- What does a typical day in their life look like?
Take ‘Em On!
The youngest Millennials are just turning 18 now. With a productive, working period of at least 40 years, this generation is set to take over and dominate the American economy for the better part of the century. Set the course for your business today keeping this vital generation of consumers in mind to future proof your revenues and profits. Good luck!