Millennials. With a majority of this generation now in the workforce, they currently command an estimated $1.3 trillion in annual consumer spending.
Born from approximately 1980-early 2000s and accounting for one-fourth of the U.S. population, this group seems to be an enigma to most. Their buying habits tend to differ greatly than the generations preceding them. However, Millennials’ buying habits can be easily understood when you look closely at what they care about. Here’s a quick glance at what matters most to this generation when it comes to supporting brands:
Experiences. A study by Harris Group found that 78 percent of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things. And, it doesn’t stop there. Seventy-two percent said they plan to continue to increase their spending on experiences. This risk-taking, adventure-seeking generation has had a huge impact on the creators of and brands behind festivals, concerts, sporting events, craft beer and wine trails, and anything and everything associated with the travel and hospitality industries.
- A cause. According to a 2014 survey by Nielson, 55% of global Millennials say they are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. Millennials like to feel that they are giving back to their community and helping others through buying products. TOMS is a great example of building brand loyalty with Millennials through cause marketing with their “One for One” campaign.
- Sharing. Word-of-mouth has a new definition with this generation. "Give them something to share" has replaced “give them something to talk about." If you take the time to deliver content or a campaign that users care about, surveys have consistently shown that it will get shared at least 50% of the time. Just ask Coca-Cola how it’s “Share a Coke” campaign turned out.
- A good story. Millennials love a story behind a brand. Is it a family-owned company? Hand-crafted? They especially love if it’s a product that is local. This populaltion segment grew up surrounded by technology that helped keep them connected. In a large bustling world, they want to feel that connection to the brands behind the products.
- Authenticity. Only 1% of Millennials claim that a compelling ad influences them. Traditional advertising? Direct mail? Billboards? Toss them. They see what you’re trying to sell, but they’re not buying it. Instead:
- Engage them. Respond to their comments and feedback on your Facebook page.
- Make sure your brand represents who you are; don’t try to be something you’re not.
- Be transparent - give them a glimpse of the company behind those walls.
Here’s a great article on Huffington Post about the importance of authenticity with this generation.
Millennials span more than 20 years, so we can’t expect to reach every one of them through these concepts. But, this generations’ buying habits also have been studied 10 times over, and there’s a pretty good consensus that companies that embrace even a few of these will see a pretty hefty increase in brand loyalty and profits.
Next up…Online Habits of Millennials
Interested in more? Check out our post: 3 Millennial Marketing Musts