The way to our heart

Millennials as consumers

Millennials have a combined purchasing power of $2.45 trillion worldwide. But “these kids nowadays are not loyal to brands at all, they’re unpredictable and change their consuming habits as they go.” Wrong. 60% of Millennials says that they’re often or always loyal to brands that they currently purchase. Maybe it’s just just the traditional methods proving to be ineffective. Maybe for us brands mean something else than before. Maybe we just have different needs.

But what are we craving for?

This wonderful little thing called the Internet has changed the game. It made everything transparent and everybody is just a tweet away. Not only friends, but celebrities, the President of the United Sates or Pope Francis himself. The enormous sea (and speed) of information makes everything and everybody accessible, all you need is a connection. The answer is just a Google search away, in a matter of seconds, 24/7. We don’t trust traditional institutions like the government, banks, or even the media blindly anymore. What we rely on is social media — which is basically a big platform of feedback. And each other.

So how can you find a way into our conversation?

1. Produce quality.

Something is either working or it’s not. In a world, where everything is available and comes in 500 versions, we go for quality. We are ready to go the extra mile or pay a dollar or more for a quality meal, product or experience. Getting a good deal is a priority, but we won’t compromise on quality. We want to feel good about what we buy.

2. Have a value proposition.

We saw the whole world go down in the 2008 financial crisis causing our parents and loved ones to loose their jobs. For what? Corporate greed. 73% of us thinks that businesses have a positive impact on wider society. We believe that a company besides making profit should give back to the society. If we have to choose between two brands with more or less the same prices, we will spend our money with the socially resposible one.

3. Don’t tell us. Show it to us.

Before social media took over, marketers were busy creating beautiful tv spots, putting shiny posters in tram stops with happy stock photo people and telling the world how awesome their product was. The image of your brand is shifting towards what other people say about it — not what you say about yourself. In the age of social media, our motto is “We will decide, what we will think of your brand.” With product information, reviews and price comparisons at our fingertips, we are turning to brands that can offer maximum convenience at the lowest cost.

4. Be present on our platforms.

We spend 5,4 hours / day with user generated content (like Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp). We like it, because it is real-time, fast and shows us everything happening in the world right now, should it be Grumpy Cat or hunting down the Charlie Hebdo shooters. Don’t stop at creating a Facebook page, find the channel where we are and start a conversation with us there. We expect brands not only to be on social networks, but also to engage us. This obviously takes more work from your side, but believe me, it pays off.

4. Create shareable content.

Sharing is second nature for us. We share what we eat on Instagram, what we do with our friends on Facebook, our opinion on Twitter, our location on Swarm, our cars on Uber, our flats on Airbnb and our knowledge on Quora. So it’s just obvious that we share our experiences with brands too: restaurants, products — even workplaces. If something is fishy, we share it. But the good news is: if we like something, we will share it even more.

5. Make it personal.

We are living in the age of supersegmentation and personalized content. Google follows every search we take, every click we make. And it’s not missing a keystroke. It knows what we talk about in our e-mails, which YouTube videos we watch, what pages we have liked on Facebook and offers us content and ads accordingly. It makes a story out of the digital footprint we leave (and believe me, it’s a big one) and personalizes marketing messages accordingly. Embrace big data!

7. Make us feel.

We have always been living in the world of experience. We want to feel good when we are spending our money. Successful tv spots all have something in common. They are communicating a story and put emotions in the center. No wonder the Budweiser’s Puppy Love or the Always’ #LikeAGirl went viral in no time. We also like bold and clever like the Honda Illusions ad. Show us what your brand feels like — and what it will help us achieve.

8. Ask our opinion.

Nowadays most of the brands crate products and hope for the best in terms of reaching their target market and in the end, they fall flat on their faces and don’t understand why people aren’t lining in front of the store to buy their stuff. But there’s a much easier and effective way. 42% of Millennials said that they are actually interested in helping companies develop future products and services. We want to be more involved with in the creation phase as well— after all, it is our best interest to have something according exactly to our needs.

9. Don’t rub it into our faces.

Don’t tell us what to buy. We like to do our research and make our own decisions. Compared to what we see and hear in traditional media, like tv (34%), radio (37%), newspapers and magazines (44%), we trust social media (50%), peer reviews (68%) and what we hear from our friends and families (74%). We don’t really trust advertising. Anybody can pay for that. Most of us don’t even click on a sponsored story. Invite a blogger publishing in your business segment to do a review of your product and take your chances!

10. Make your webpage responsive.

Please, please, please grab a UX designer to tailor your webpage! Make it fun, engaging and responsive — if you don’t want us to tune out after three seconds. 87% of Millennials use between two and three tech devices at least once on a daily basis. We like to do our research not only at home or at work on our laptops, but on the go as well.

Reaching Millennials is not rocket science. Your message is still the same — only the messenger and the platform has changed. For us a brand is not a simple product or an experience we buy. It is a form of self expression. Something we can associate ourselves with. It tells something about us. A brand is a part of us.

The funny thing is that lovebrands don’t target Millennials specifically. It is their quality, culture, values, and communication that draws us in naturally. Give us attention, build a community for us and move us. Give us a feeling, a taste of life. Show us who you are and what you believe in. Pay attention to what and where we are talking about and find a clever way into the conversation — and you will not only convince us, but we will become your social media megaphones.

My ebook (co-production with Generation Why blogger Steffi Burkhart) on Generation Y is out! Download it for free here.

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