Millennials have long held a reputation for being the ‘digital natives,’ and it’s easy to see why: they are constantly connected and super plugged into the internet.
They’re in their 30s and 40s, the biggest spenders with the highest disposable incomes, and they have a ton of influence over everything from fashion to food.
On their heels are young adults, the 18-30 age group, who are just starting to discover themselves and make their own mark in society.
Their phones are an extension of themselves, and they’re always on the lookout for new, exciting things to explore.
Two groups with two different perspectives and two sets of values—but with one big thing that unites them all: how they interact with brands.
Millennials — The Calculated Spender
One of the most talked-about values of the Millennial generation is their frugality. They are careful with their money, always looking for the best deal and analyzing every purchase.
Also, as expected, they have a few preferences when it comes to online shopping:
Sustainability and Eco-friendly
Millennials are educated and are not afraid to voice their opinions online or on the streets. They are concerned about the environment and the effect of consumerism on it, and they reward brands that are socially and environmentally conscious.
75% of millennials say they have at some time altered their shopping habits to lessen their environmental impact.
They also mention that they’ll be spending more on sustainable products.
Integrate Advertising into their Lives
Millennials are the first generation to grow up with technology as an integral part of their lives, which has instilled a certain level of trust in the digital world.
They don’t mind being exposed to advertisements as long as it feels natural and doesn’t disrupt their experience.
If it does, they have adblockers to take care of that.
Millennials are constantly seeking great stories and experiences, so make sure your advertisements are entertaining, intriguing, and informative.
Focus on the Experience
Unlike Gen X and baby boomers, Millennials aren’t just looking for a product or service; they are looking for an experience.
They want to be engaged and involved and feel like they’re part of the brand.
They won’t purchase your product if they have had a bad experience with your brand. That’s why customer service and experiences are at the forefront of what drives their purchase decisions.
They Love a Good Loyalty Program
Millennials are flakes. They’ll change their minds at the drop of a hat and move on to the next new thing without a second thought.
If you can’t win their loyalty, you can’t keep them.
That’s why it’s important to have a good loyalty program: Millennials love rewards, discounts, and freebies.
79% of millennials say they join loyalty programs to save money. 78% do it because they want to enjoy members-only benefits, such as free delivery, product samples, coupon codes, and discounts.
The Young Adults — Gen Z: The New Shoppers in Town
Young adults are the ‘digital immigrants’ born after the Millennials in the 18-30 age group.
They’ve grown up with digital technology and are the most connected generation. They’re curious, creative, and always on — they want to be involved in every moment of their lives.
They don’t have a lot of disposable income and are often on tight budgets.
Besides, they are very visual: they’ve grown up with images and videos, so it’s no surprise they prefer visuals over text.
They have preferences too:
Young adults aren’t about what’s cheap. If you’re going to get them to open their wallets, you need to prove that your product is worth the money. For them, quality trumps quantity every time.
That’s why many of them buy from well-known brands instead of taking a chance on lesser-known ones.
66% of teen shoppers say they pay attention to product quality when deciding which brand is worth their money.
Monitoring Their Spending
When it comes to spending, young adults are very conscious of their budgets. They do their research and compare prices before making a purchase.
They might be a little reckless with other things, but they are careful and calculating where their money is concerned.
Not only that, but they’ve also been found to influence the purchasing decisions of their parents.
This generation is a force to be reckoned with, and they’re shrewder than they let on.
This generation might have been born with a smartphone device in their hands, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate the traditional shopping experience.
More and more GenZers are visiting physical stores, and not just to window-shop.
They prefer visiting stores to shop, and while at it, have an Instagrammable moment and an overall enjoyable experience.
They Listen to Influencers
Genzers are as trusting and open to influencer marketing as Millennials.
They listen to them, take their advice seriously, and are likelier to follow through with a purchase if their favourite influencers recommend it.
But unlike Millennials, who tend to trust big-name influencers, GenZers prefer smaller micro-influencers — people they can relate to on a more personal level.
Young adults care deeply about social and environmental causes, such as poverty, gender equality, climate change, and animal welfare.
As such, they want to buy from brands that do their part in giving back to society.
In fact, 64% of Genzers shoppers say they’d rather buy from companies committed to making a positive impact, socially and environmentally.
How to Market to Each Generation In-store
Knowing which generation you’re marketing to is half the battle.
The other half is understanding how to market to each in-store.
So, how do you market to each of these groups:
How to Market to Millennials In-store
When marketing to Millennials, focus on providing a more personalized experience. They want to feel like they’re being taken care of and appreciated. Use digital touchpoints throughout the store, such as iPads and apps, that allow them to customize their shopping experience.
Be sure to offer them discounts, freebies, and loyalty programs to reward their patronage.
It’s easy to sway them with a good deal. And since they’re impulsive buyers, you might want to consider placing complementary products next to each other to encourage more purchases.
Apart from this, make sure you’re offering an amazing in-store experience. Focus on providing good customer service and offering a wide selection of products.
How to Market to Genzers In-store
Genzers are all about Instagrammable content. They want to share their experiences, so you must create an environment conducive to content creation.
Set up in-store photo booths or areas dedicated to taking photos and videos. If you can, add interactive elements, such as augmented reality or virtual reality displays.
Apart from this, focus on creating an engaging in-store experience. Offer workshops and events, let them customize their products, or allow them to participate in a cause.
Also, try offering buy-one-get-one deals or discounts if they tag a friend along. GenZers are known to consider their friends’ opinions when making a purchase, so this could be a great way to increase sales.
Finally, create a fun and youthful environment. Incorporate music and technology into your store, and create a visually appealing space.
8 Strategies to Market to Millenials Online
Now that we know how to market to millennials in-store, let’s look at how to approach them in the digital space.
#1. Be Authentic and Genuine
Millennials don’t respond well to gimmicky, in-your-face marketing tactics. Instead, they prefer to connect with real, authentic, and genuine brands.
To be authentic, your brand must do the following:
- Strive to overdeliver: Go above and beyond your customers’ expectations and demonstrate that you value them.
- Be transparent: Show your audience who you really are. Share behind-the-scenes videos and stories to give them an inside look into your brand.
- Have a purpose: Millennials want to know that your brand stands for something. Show them how you’re making a difference in the world and how they can join your cause.
- Be consistent: Your marketing message wouldn’t change much if it came from a place of authenticity. It should remain consistent across all channels.
Everything must feel authentic, from the tone of your marketing message to the visuals you use to how you interact with your customers post-sale. Millennials will reward you for involving them in conversations. They want to have a human-like relationship with your brand.
They expect brands to do the following:
- Understand them intimately: Know what they care about and the type of content that resonates with them.
- Provide the Very Best Customer Service: Millennials don’t like being treated as just another number. They want to feel valued and appreciated.
- Respect them: Show them that you value their opinions and feedback. Be open to criticism, and don’t take it personally.
- Interact: Learn to engage with them in a meaningful way. Invite them to join conversations and start dialogues.
- Think of them as people first, customers second: Millennials are more than just numbers. They want to be seen as individuals, not walking wallets.
First, you want to avoid overselling or selling to them at any point of interaction. Instead, focus on building genuine relationships, listening to their needs and preferences, and creating value for them.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Be active on social media: Engage with your customers on different platforms and be open to feedback.
- Host giveaways: Encourage them to participate in giveaways and contests.
- Send content-driven emails: Send relevant, helpful, and entertaining content your audience wants to read.
- Get influencers involved: Connect with influencers and have them promote your products or services.
- Create interactive content: Millennials love to be entertained. Create engaging and interactive content like quizzes, polls, or videos.
#2. Building Something Bigger than Your Business
It’s bigger than your business. Millennials are driven by purpose; they don’t just buy a product because it’s the cheapest or most convenient. They also want to know that their purchase is going towards something bigger than themselves.
Give them something intangible, like a platform that unites like-minded individuals or a cause they can rally behind and show their support.
Millennials also expect brands to reward them for their devotion and ongoing support. Don’t just offer them discounts and loyalty rewards, but also give them a chance to make a difference in the world.
Here are some suggestions on ways to build something bigger than your business:
- Create a social movement: Create campaigns and activities that unite people for a cause.
- Build a community: Allow customers to connect and discuss topics that they’re passionate about.
- Provide resources: Educate and inform your customers on topics related to your industry.
- Give back: Establish a program that allows you to donate a portion of your proceeds to a charity or organization.
For example, if an item costs $10, give them the option to add $1, which will go towards a charity or organization of your choice.
As James Marshall Reilly, founder and CEO of Guild Agency, “our purchases are very much an extension of our self-image and self-identity.” With Millennials, it’s all about connecting with something that speaks to them emotionally.
For example, while some people are comfortable buying from a big corporation, Millennials are more likely to invest in a small business that aligns with their core values.
#3. Ownership Isn’t Everything
Gen Yers went through the Great Recession in their late teens and early twenties. Many of them watched their parents lose jobs and homes, and it’s shaped their financial outlook.
For Millennials, ownership isn’t everything. They’re more likely to rent than buy and prefer to share resources than pay for them.
Consumers in this generation are more likely to pay for temporary access to goods and services than to buy them outright.
This concept of the “sharing economy” has come about largely because of technological advancements that allow people to access goods and services without having to own them.
So how do you leverage the sharing economy with Millennials?
- Provide rental services: Offer rental services for items millennials typically wouldn’t (or can’t) pay for outright, such as furniture or designer clothing.
- Offer subscription services: Provide subscriptions to streaming services and other products so millennials can enjoy them without committing long-term.
- Partner with brands: Team up with other businesses in the sharing economy to offer discounts and promotions to your customers.
- Organize events: Host events that draw in Millennials and allow them to experience the sharing economy firsthand.
Millennials are now renting music and movies through platforms like Spotify and Netflix and using ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft instead of owning a car.
You’ve even seen them sharing Netflix logins with friends and renting designer clothing for special occasions.
By understanding their needs, you can provide options that meet their lifestyle and financial constraints.
#4. Be Available Online, Anytime
Millennials expect brands to be available around the clock. When they ask questions, they expect a prompt response. They also want to be able to find you easily online and get answers quickly.
Make sure your website is user-friendly, mobile-friendly and full of helpful information. Use live chat options or voice recognition technology that they can use to contact you anytime.
Millennials are always looking for innovation, so ensure your brand is ahead of the curve.
Here are some suggestions on ways to be available online:
- Provide live chat options: Allow customers to ask questions and get real-time answers.
- Set up a customer service line: Give customers the option to contact you over the phone or send an email.
- Develop an app: Create a mobile app that allows customers to track orders, find information and connect with customer service agents.
- Be active on social media: Respond quickly to inquiries and messages sent through social media platforms.
- Integrate voice recognition technology: Allow customers to find the information they need using voice commands.
#5. Focus on Content Distribution and Inbound Marketing
Traditional outbound marketing strategies don’t gel with the Millennial mindset. They want to find products, services, and information on their own terms.
So, instead of pushing ads on them, it’s best to focus on content distribution and inbound marketing. Create valuable and informative content that answers their questions and provides them with the information they need.
Focus on SEO (search engine optimization), so your brand can appear at the top of search results. Also, develop a social media strategy to reach customers through their favourite platforms.
Here are some suggestions on how to conduct outbound marketing for millennials:
- Create quality content: Create interesting, informative, and helpful content for your target audience.
- Optimize for search engines: Research keywords related to your industry and optimize your website for these terms.
- Develop a social media strategy: Identify the best platforms for reaching your target audience and develop creative content ideas.
- Track metrics: Monitor your website’s analytics to track user behavior, engagement, and conversions.
- Utilize influencers: Reach out to famous figures in your industry and have them promote your brand through their social media channels.
- Send email campaigns: Utilize email marketing to keep customers up-to-date on the latest products and promotions.
#6. Make Your Content Shareable
Millennials love to share information. Make sure your content is easily shareable on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Be sure to include social sharing buttons on your web pages and content pieces or provide a link to the post that can be shared directly with friends. Encourage customers to share their own experiences with your brand and reward them for doing so.
You can also host contests or giveaways on social media to get customers excited about participating in something that could benefit them.
Here are some suggestions on how to make your content more shareable:
- Create infographics: Visuals are more likely to be shared than plain text, so come up with creative ways to present data. You can create infographics in the form of a visually compelling poster by using a poster maker tool.
- Share customer stories: People love to hear stories about real people and their experiences with your brand.
- Include videos: Videos have a higher engagement rate than other types of content, so consider creating some for your website or social media accounts.
- Leverage influencers: Have famous figures in your industry share your content on their social media channels.
- Use hashtags: Incorporate relevant and popular hashtags into your posts so that users can find them more easily.
- Offer discounts: Give customers the incentive to share your content by offering discounts or other rewards.
- Promote UGC (User Generated Content): Encourage customers to share content they create about your brand and reward them for doing so.
#7. Ask them to Leave Reviews
Millennials are more likely to trust reviews from other customers than any word you say. Ask customers to leave genuine reviews on platforms like Google and Yelp, as well as your social media channels. Be sure to respond to the reviews on time and thank them for their feedback.
Encourage millennials to leave reviews by incentivizing them in some way. You can offer discounts or other rewards for customers who share their thoughts and experiences about your brand.
Here are some suggestions on how to encourage reviews:
- Incentivize customers: Offer rewards for customers who leave reviews on your website or social media platforms.
- Provide customer service: Make sure you respond to customer inquiries and complaints quickly and effectively.
- Make it easy: Include links to review sites in emails, newsletters, or other customer communications.
- Share user-generated content: Encourage customers to share their experiences with your brand and reward them for doing so.
- Follow up: Reach out to each customer after purchasing and ask them to leave a review.
- Use social proof: Showcase customer testimonials or reviews on your website and social media accounts.
- Be transparent: Don’t delete negative reviews; professionally respond to them and offer amicable solutions.
#8. Leverage Technology
Millennials are tech-savvy and have grown up with the internet and mobile devices—leverage technology to make it easier for them to interact with your brand.
Integrate chatbots into your website so customers can get fast answers to their questions without waiting on hold or for email responses.
Explore how to add virtual or augmented reality features to your website. That could be a great way to showcase your products and services interactively and engagingly.
You should also consider investing in mobile apps that enable customers to easily access information about your brand, place orders, and make payments on the go.