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How to get a slice of the millennial money pie

By Shannon Williams
Fri 22 Apr 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Millennials: five key strategies  Industry experts are predicting millennial consumers to spend around $200 billion a year by 2017, and it is vital organisations learn how to market their products to this specific group of buyers who have grown up in the digital ecosystem.

Bill McMurray, APAC Managing Director, Qualtrics, says marketing to millennials is not the same as marketing to other generations; they have a different set of requirements for evaluating potential purchases. ,

“Millennials are one of the largest groups of consumers and it is essential to understand this demographic,” McMurray says.

“They have grown up as ‘digital natives’ and many don’t even remember a time before smartphones, wireless connectivity, and broadband internet. It’s critical to consider this when marketing to this generation,” he explains. 

According to McMurray, there are several 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,” McMurray says.

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 it personal 

Let millennials be collaborators in the business  “This generation responds well to being asked about products and services companies offer,” McMurray  ssays. “They like to be included in business decisions. Asking them how you could improve current offerings could result in increased loyalty and, therefore, more sales,” he explains.

“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  McMurray  says 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,” he says. 

“It’s also critical to understand how people are using your website and offer them a frictionless experience,” McMurray adds. “Using 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 specific code within a specific timeframe, potentially saving the sale,” he says.

Look for long-term relationships that will spread your brand for you  “By taking a long-term view of relationships, and putting the instant sale second, companies can generate loyalty,’ suggest McMurray.

“This means creating engaging experiences for millennial customers, rather than hard-sell communications. This could include involving them by getting their feedback, or giving them content that they will share with their peers,” he says.

“Once the relationship is initiated, millennials are more likely to come to you when they’re ready to purchase.”

Implement millennial-appropriate technology  McMurray  says 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 before with tools like Qualtrics, which lets marketers build agile advanced-flow surveys, send them, and roll out organisation-wide results in the same week,” he says.

“Marketers can also implement customer experience programs that let them respond to customer needs, analyse trends, and make changes in real-time,” says McMurray.

“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,” he explains. 

“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,” McMurray says.

“Smart marketers will embrace this consumer-driven economy and find ways to engage on many levels.”   

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