Year after year, the buying power of millennials grows and the importance they have to the economy, and your business specifically, becomes more undeniable. Millennials are set to make up half of the total workforce by the year 2020, so it’s important to start building brand loyalty within this demographic now. Appealing to millennials could be the best thing you ever did for your business.
While there is no consensus on the exact dates, the millennial generation refers to people born between 1980 and 2000. They were the first generation to grow up with the internet and are responsible for the central role social media now plays in business and marketing.Now, the spending power of millennials, a tech-savvy, media-connected and independent demographic, is growing to the point where it has become the fuel driving the digital economy.
E-Commerce is Business as Usual
According to an eMarketer survey, 60% of millennials “agreed or strongly agreed that they looked at items online to buy nearly every day, even if they didn’t actually plan on making a purchase.” This is a generation of people with multiple connected devices and who are accustomed to 24-hour internet access whether at home, at work, in transit, or wherever they may be. E- and m-commerce have been so integrated into their daily lives that browsing online stores has become a pastime.
But just because they may be “browsing” does not mean they are only looking: 52% said they make online purchases they hadn’t planned on, significantly higher than among older generations.
This is the millennial equivalent of window shopping, but it has one key difference: data. Online window shopping allows you to collect unprecedented amounts of personal data about your audience, such as what they’re looking at and for how long, where they’re from, what time of day they’re shopping, and how they’re accessing your website.
Business strategies that worked a decade ago are not going to work on this demographic. By understanding the behaviour and shopping habits of this generation, which can only come through a detailed analysis of the data you collect, you will understand how to market to them, win their loyalty and build a successful brand.
7 Tips for Appealing to Millennials
Data-mining provides you with an abundance of insights about your business and for your business. It can also unlock one of the most important factors in a millennial’s path to purchase: personalised marketing. Millennials know their habits are being tracked and expectyou to market directly to them. Using your data to provide each customer with product suggestions based on their search history is a great way to start the personalised path to purchase.
You can also take personalisation to the next level by maintaining two-way communication, such as those facilitated by social media. An important part of building trust and loyalty is to prove to your customers that you’re paying attention to them. There’s no better way to do that than to participate in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, for example, by replying to customers’ Tweets and Facebook comments.
A recent study found that 95% of millennials cited their friends as the most credible source of information about a business. 98% said they’re more likely to engage in a social media post by a friend about a brand than a post by the business itself.
This is irrefutable proof that you shouldn’t treat every customer like a potential sale but like a brand ambassador. Just as a bad reputation can spread like wildfire, so can word of an exceptionally good experience through social media and word-of-mouth. Your customers will walk away happy and return back with more customers for you.
Mobile payments are being driven by milliennials. 52% of them have already used their phones to make payments at a point-of-sale, despite it being an emerging payment method still in its early stages. They have a vision of a world where they’ll only need their smartphone, ditching their IDs, payments and loyalty cards, licenses and keys.
Millennials are pushing for mobile payments, and if the success of ApplePay is any indication, with one million subscribers in its first three days, they’re going to get them. So make sure your business is prepared to accept mobile payments both online and in-person.
Millennials are also at the forefront of omni-channel commerce. Because they have multiple devices with near 24-hour connectivity and are accustomed to taking a multi-device path to purchase, your branding, pricing and features need to be consistent across all channels. The old practice of multi-channel commerce, with separate marketing strategies tailored to each channel, strikes millennials as insincere and lowers their level of trust in your brand.
Don’t be afraid to make it weird. Millennials were raised on absurdist humour and 46% say that random and bizarre marketing is the most memorable. You don’t need to go off the deep end, you just need to be creative. Today, we’re marketed to everywhere we go – doing it a little differently will refresh your message, resonate with your audience and get your brand remembered.
As revealed in a study from PR firm Cone Communication, specialists in cause marketing, millennials are highly aware of responsible business practices and expect a certain level of social responsibility from brands they are loyal to, to the extent where they will switch from one business to a competitor based on their efforts in this area.
Brands today need to make their social awareness public and emphasise transparency and authenticity. Include in your content the story behind your business, why you started in the industry, why you operate your business the way you do, and why you believe in it. Be vocal about and take action in the causes you believe in and you will attract loyal customers and brand ambassadors. By making a personal appeal that hits home with millennials, you can establish your brand as a positive part of the community.
Finally, and this is an easy one, a great strategy for appealing to millennials is to hire them. By having employees who are themselves millennials and listening to their feedback about your products, services and marketing materials, you can eliminate the initial trial-and-error stage of introducing new strategies, products or branding.
This generation is pouring into the workforce as we speak and earning a lot of money that they’re going to turn around and spend somewhere, so why not at your business? Appealing to millennials means getting your enterprise ready to accept the business of hundreds of millions of young, social and independent people with money they want to use. By tailoring your branding to this demographic, you can lay the foundation for an entire generation’s worth of loyal customers.