How much do you know about your customers? Understanding some pretty basic things about who they are, their online behaviors, what their motivators are and what their buying process is, can significantly improve the way you market, which has the potential to positively affect your bottom line.
Millennial's will soon hold the lion's share of buying power in the U.S. As a whole, Millennial's have the older generation mystified as they are generally misunderstood and miscategorized as being lazy, entitled and worthless. The truth is that this generation is more competitive, have greater loyalty to their employers and place a much higher importance on giving back to their community than previous generations.
They also face challenges that no other generation has in history. College tuition, for instance, has increased 213% since 1988 and Millennial’s carry over $1 Trillion in student loan debt. (cnbc.com) Home prices have also skyrocketed, making affording a home a distant dream.
Statistically, Millennial's make less money than their parents made at the same age and have much higher debt (thank you, student loans), making them much more conscientious about spending than baby boomers ever were. Finding the best deal, researching before making a purchase to avoid wasting their hard earned money and finding a brand that aligns to their values, are all highly important to this generation. Understanding those 3 basic things can help you when developing your marketing strategy.
As the first generation born into technology, Millennial's rely heavily on the internet when making buying decisions. Searching for a business or products, reading reviews, comparing prices and finding coupons is a part of their buying process. It’s one of the main reasons Amazon has grown to be the world’s largest online retailer. Amazon is known for giving shoppers a great experience, good prices and people know if they are not satisfied with a product, that Amazon will make it right. Amazon puts customers first. While you probably don’t want to be the next Amazon, establishing a strong online presence will give you a much better chance to earn the business of Millennial's.
Here are 5 changes small business owners should consider making to get a piece of the Millennial pie.
1. 94% of Millennial's use coupons (source: UPS )
Credit it to the high cost of living, massive student loan debt from over-inflated tuition fees and having to take lower paying jobs that they are overqualified for upon graduating, Millennial's use coupons and favor loyalty and rewards programs more than any other generation. Creating a special offer or discount and posting it on social media has the potential to drive more traffic than if you offered no deal at all, or offered a deal but only published it on your website.
2. 54% of online purchases are made by Millennial's (source: UPS )
This is the generation who grew up with technology. Part of their buying process includes researching products online, primarily on social media or a retail app, reading reviews about a product or business, as well as asking friends and family for recommendations and searching for the best deal on a product.
Google gives preference to local businesses over national brands in a keyword search. So, with proper SEO, Joe’s Home Goods Store will typically rank higher than a national brand, like Home Depot, in a local search. Filling your website with high quality content, good information that communicates why your product/service/company provides value, clear calls to action, reviews and testimonials and being consistently active on social media, will take you much farther in marketing to Millennial's than “traditional” marketing methods.
3. Traditional Marketing Avenues don’t work on Millennial's
Millennial's consume media via the internet, Netflix and Hulu and watch less television than previous generations. Unless you have a winning ad running during the Super Bowl, you’re not likely to reach this generation via TV commercials, radio ads or print media. Paid and organic advertising on social media that is strategic, meaningful and relevant is much more likely to yield results, and is a far better place to spend your advertising dollars.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to target very specific demographics using big data technology to display ads to users based on their search history. Meaning that if you are an insurance agent, you can choose to show ads on Facebook to users that have recently researched buying a home or auto. This is actually a win-win situation for both you and your target audience because you no longer have to spend money targeting the masses, most of whom are probably not needing an insurance agent. Instead, you’re spending money advertising to a targeted group who do need insurance.
4. Community Involvement matters
There’s no doubt about it, Millennial's care about other people, the planet and charitable causes and are much more likely to spend money with, and remain loyal to, a business whose values closely align with theirs.
5. A great customer experience
Somewhere along the way, good customer service went out the window. Sadly, only a handful of companies today are known for providing an exceptional customer experience. The ones that do- Chick-fil-a and Dutch Bros. Coffee, for instance, are thriving. Millennial's place high importance on a good customer experience and will remain loyal to your brand as long as that’s what you’re delivering. Even if you did fall short on one rare occasion, Millennial's won’t immediately abandon ship, as long as you were responsive to the issue and handled it fairly.
Their expectation of a good customer experience in exchange for their brand loyalty is a realistic one. If you need an example, go to Chick-fil-a for lunch today. They’re happy to see you, polite,friendly and organized. Even if you’re having a terrible day, you’ll feel pretty darn good after you’ve visited their drive-thru. That is what a customer experience should be everywhere.
A little market research goes a long way. Millennial's aren’t as complicated as they seem. This is the generation that was born into technology. Understanding and embracing what that means can help you to develop a marketing strategy that works.
Offering coupons, reward and loyalty programs, building an online presence for your business, giving back to your community and providing an exceptional customer experience can set you apart from your competition and help you to be more appealing to the generation that is expected to spend $1.4 Trillion a year by 2020. (Accenture)
Thin Air Marketing Group will work with you to develop your customized marketing strategy. Contact us today for a free analysis.