How-Tu Tuesday: Winning Over The Millennials

Picture for Rene Looper Rene Looper

March 1st 2016

Millennials are not only the largest group of people in today’s society, but they are also worth a hefty chunk of the wallet for brands. Born between 1980 and 1999, millennials have close to £150 billion ($200 billion) in purchasing power annually and are also the most diverse. Compared with the baby boomers (born between 1946-1964), whose segment consists of 72% caucasian, only 56% of the millennials are caucasian.

Due to this high spending power and diverse set of cultures and ethnicities, the millennials are a highly coveted group of people, who are quickly becoming the target market for many brands. That being said, this group is also unique in the fact that they are known for being the most sophisticated, tech savvy, immune to traditional marketing techniques and often less brand loyal. These characteristics have made it difficult for many brands to tap into their extremely high value and ROI. Few companies have discovered how to build meaningful relationships due to the fact that they aren’t using the communication tools that millennials are using in an effective way. Of course, the biggest of the millennial tools is social media and if you are looking to maximise your “millennial-targeting” efforts then check out our tips below for winning them over on social networks.

1. Be Transparent

Being transparent is something that has previously not been a central focus for many brands; in the past many have only been concerned with profit margins and ROI, failing to recognise where real value can be driven from.

This can no longer be ignored as millennials are now taking a keen and active interest in the authenticity of a brand and looking beyond the end product or service to how it was made, the ingredients or materials that were used, the treatment of the workers, it’s impact on the environment, the science behind its potential harm to our health… and the list goes on. It is often the case that it can be a much harder sell and as noted, it can be much harder to turn a millennial consumer into a brand loyal customer.

One of the strongest millennial traits is the desire to “give back” and brands targeting this group need to be aware of this and act accordingly. Using social media to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives or showcasing employees’ contribution to the company can be effective ways of illustrating the brand’s authenticity and desire to do more than simply make a profit. In effect, brands should aim to humanise their business by being open and honest in everything they do, even if this means admitting when they have done wrong as this shows vulnerability and vulnerability will enviably build trust. Social media is the median that is going to get these messages to the millennials and begin to project your transparent and authentic image to  the community.

2. Focus on Brand Experience

Millennials are different to any other demographic in the sense that they base their purchases on brand perception. The way brands are perceived and looked upon in today’s society and within certain cultural groups is one of the main motivating factors when committing to investing in a product or service. Millennials turn to friends, read reviews and are influenced by audiences on social media and what they are saying about brands, before making a purchase. With more that 88% of all consumers consulting reviews before buying online, brands shouldn’t be focusing on expensive marketing campaigns, but instead paying close attention to the conversation happening online (mainly on social media) and ensuring that customers are sharing positive brand experiences with their fellow peers.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to be active on the appropriate social channels and connect with millennials via their friends. A marketing message should never appear as a “marketing message” and instead, be as organic as possible. Look to the influencers on social media and those that are going to give you a strong brand perception and reputation amongst the industry you are part of. Being “cool” has never been so important, but you have to be clever about how you gain that cool factor. Create positive experiences at every touch point with the consumer. When people enjoy something they are much more inclined to share it on social media, encouraging others to desire that same experience. Through word-of-mouth and harnessing the power of influencers and leading figures in society, the effects can be unprecedented in gaining the loyalty and trust of millennials.   

3. Understand the Internet of Things (IoT)

Millennials have grown up being completely immersed in the technology world and have the ability to quickly adapt to the changes and advances that are continually being made. In 2016, millennials now expect brands to be connected and to experience seamless digital interactions.

To achieve this, it involves a multi-channel approach that includes all consumer touch points. A retailer may have a bricks and mortar location, a website, be present on social media and have a mobile app, but the key is enabling consumers to start their purchasing journey on one channel and finish it on another. This digital footprint created by the customer is invaluable to the brand as it provides a holistic view of their buying habits and how each person’s experience can be further customised to their own needs and preferred method of shopping. Brands need to be constantly keeping up the millennials in order to retail them as customers and fully embrace all platforms within the IoT.

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