Millennials are predicted to spend around $US200 billion a year by 2017, creating a massive opportunity for businesses seeking to grow their sales.
However, marketing to Millennials is not the same as marketing to other generations; they have a different set of requirements for evaluating potential purchases.
Millennials have grown up as ‘digital natives’ and many don’t even remember a time before smart phones, wireless connectivity or broadband internet. It’s critical to consider this when marketing to this generation.
There are five key strategies to consider when marketing to Millennials:
- Deliver value through relationships and stories
Millennials tend to prefer to interact with a company’s website, check with their friends, and review social media information to make purchasing decisions. It is therefore essential to:
- start with the relationship, not sales
- create engaging content that will attract their attention and make them want to share
- listen more than you talk
- tell your stories and make the connection personal
- Let Millennials be collaborators in the business
This generation responds well to being asked for feedback on products and services companies offer. Millennials like to be included in business decisions.
Asking them how you could improve current offerings could result in increased loyalty and, therefore, more sales.
To successfully obtain Millennials’ feedback, it’s important to use the channels they prefer, such as social media or SMS. Any mechanism you use for surveys must be mobile-responsive.
- Be high-tech and fast
Millennials use tablets and phones, not PCs or laptops. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure company websites are optimised for mobile devices. The company website, and every page on it, must load within three seconds or you risk abandonment.
It’s also critical to understand how people are using your website and offer them a frictionless experience.
An intercept tool, for example, lets marketers interrupt users if they sit on a page longer than normal or appear to be having difficulty. This may take the form of a pop-up screen that offers to help the user find what they’re looking for.
Or, if they abandon their shopping cart, marketers can offer a discount for shoppers who use a given code within a specific time frame, potentially saving the sale.
- Look for long-term relationships that will spread your brand
By taking a long-term view of relationships, and putting the instant sale second, companies can generate loyalty. Create engaging experiences for Millennial customers, rather than hard-sell communications.
This could include involving customers by getting their feedback, or giving them content that they will share with their peers.
Once the relationship is initiated, Millennials are more likely to come to you when they’re ready to purchase.
- Implement appropriate technology
To truly understand the target market, it’s essential to ask Millennials what they want and then act on that feedback.
This is now easier than ever with digital tools that let marketers build agile advanced-flow surveys, send them, and roll out organisation-wide results in the same week.
Marketers can also implement customer experience programs that let them respond to customer needs, analyse trends and make changes in real time.
An exceptional customer experience is a true differentiator for brands but is not easy to achieve. Organisations must embrace customer-centricity through efforts such as a Voice-of-Customer (VoC) program.
Modern tools allow businesses to create flexible, agile, easy-to-use VoC programs that let them respond to customers in real time, turning potentially negative or neutral experiences into positive ones, and resulting in more loyal customers and increased revenue.
Every generation is unique, but the digital age has transformed marketing forever. Millennials are the first – but not the last – generation whose consumption behaviours are firmly tied to online relationships.
Smart marketers will embrace this consumer-driven economy and find ways to engage on many levels.
Bill McMurray is the managing director of Qualtrics, Asia Pacific and Japan, a software-as-a-service company that provides survey platforms for businesses.