Much has been written about the need to find marketing strategies to the rising spending power of the elusive Millennial (ME) generation. Born from roughly 1982-2004 and representing $10 trillion in generation spending, they are increasingly having a bigger role to play as consumers. They are also redefining marketing trends, one of the biggest being their seemingly nonexistent brand loyalty. There is hope, however. Many brands from Chipotle to the Dollar Shave Club are successfully creating brand loyalty among this elusive generation. Here are some quick tips on how to keep this generation coming back for more.
Not No loyalty. Co-loyalty
Yes, MEs do trade up and trade down. Remember, they grew up in a world where the Internet and globalization have opened plenty of options of where to get a product. Don’t think this means that MEs have no brand loyalty. This new generation simply has new rules. 34% of Generation Y have a bachelor’s degree or higher, up 10% from boomers, according to Pew. Combine that with technology and tough economic times and you get a new mix.
So what do they want? According to Jeff Fromm, a Millennial Marketing expert, Millenials want to be an active participant in the brand. Loyalty comes from the uniqueness of the content and the willingness to let customers “co-create” the brand with the company. Companies that “create meaningful and unique interactions will be the most successful with Millennials,” says Fromm.
It’s a major turn off for Millenials when a company seems like they are hiding information to sell a product. Not only is it insulting to their ability to research, it makes them doubt the reliability of the brand.
The easiest way to counteract this is to embrace the wide array of Internet ready information. Use it to your advantage and let customers rate products, comment, and share messages from the brand on their own terms. Be willing to share how you run your business and create products. Advertise your corporate social responsibility efforts as frequently as possible. Millennials like companies that mirror their own values, and showing how your company is part of the community- at events, on social media, or on your website- is a big plus.
Make Your Website Easy to Navigate
Before you embrace the Internet, of course, having a great website is a must. This may seem like an obvious tip, but this is usually a MEs first real interaction with a company. A big mistake would be to assume that just because members of this generation are digital natives, they can figure out any website. In fact, the opposite is true. “Millennials expect technology to just work, so make sure it does,” points out Micah Solomon, a customer service consultant for various generations. To Millennials, the website represents the effort the company is willing to put into their image, as well as how it will treat its customers. Don’t turn them off because it is not as polished, sleek, and simple as possible.
Understand that Generation Y may be changing some of the rules, perhaps for the better. Make sure your brand is interactive and open. Have a great web presence to facilitate co-creation and shareable content… and you may find the Millennial dilemma may not seem so bad after all.
About The Author
Jordan Hoover is a Dallas native returned home. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University. He of course loves writing, reading, playing music, and learning new things everyday. Connect with him over LinkedIn, at www.linkedin.com/in/jordanhoover
Top photo courtesy of Francisco Osorio @ Fllickr CC