There are 83.1 million Millennials in the country and they’re responsible for $1.3 trillion in consumer spending. But, 84% indicate they don’t like or trust traditional advertising. Want to know how to engage them? Listen to this Architect of Change radio show. Connie Whitman interviewed Fran Lytle, our Co-founder. Fran offers tips for brands to succeed with Millennials.
Why Your Brand Needs Millennials — Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers! According to the latest Census estimates reported in June, there are now 83.1 million Millennials in the country, compared to 75.4 million Boomers. Millennials now represent $1.3 trillion in consumer spending and they’ll account for one-third of the U.S. population by 2020.
Based upon Millennials’ influence and spending power, your brand needs to engage them to be successful. But, you’ll have to kick traditional advertising to the curb because 84% indicate they don’t like or trust traditional advertising. Your brand needs to be where they are, in-person and online, and show you understand their values.
Millennial Values — This generation has a unique set of values . . . Realness & transparency; creativity & self-expression; civic-mindedness, positivity & fun. To develop relationships with Millennials, your brand needs to incorporate these values into all touchpoints . . . including experiences.
Millennials Are Seeking Experiences — For Millennials, happiness isn’t as focused on possessions as it was for previous generations. Living a meaningful, happy life is about creating, sharing and capturing memories earned through experiences. Millennials highly value experiences and are increasingly spending more time and more money on them.
Nearly 8 in 10 Millennials indicate that some of their best memories are from an event or live experience they attended or participated in. Sixty-nine percent believe attending live events and experiences make them more connected to other people, the community and the world.
- In-store Experiences Engage — Stores are attempting to create in-store experiences that will engage Millennials . . . and, Sephora is one that’s doing it right.
Sephora knows that shopping for makeup can be a hassle. A woman has to browse the store for what she hopes will look good on her. When she thinks she’s found what she’s looking for, she’ll use the tester to try it on. If it doesn’t look as good as imagined, she moves onto other products. But, to try on the new product, she has to take off the makeup that’s already on. After each tester choice, she has to remove the product to try out the next, which is time consuming. And, let’s face it . . . frustrating.
To save time, she can just buy the makeup without trying it on. But if she isn’t satisfied with how the makeup looks, there’s nothing she can do . . . except throw it in the “rejected makeup drawer.” Admit it ladies, we all have one!
Sephora is addressing this unsatisfying shopping experience by using technology to engage Millennials. Last summer, they launched a mirror that simulates makeup on a shopper’s face by tracking her movements and “applying” eye shadow through the mirror’s camera. Customers can try out various colors by tapping the color on the screen to see how it looks on them from all angles by turning their faces.
Although the mirror can be used by all customers, it’s particularly appealing to Millennials because it helps them make purchase decisions using technology.
- Sharing Experiences On Social Media — Millennials not only enjoy experiences . . . they enjoying sharing them on social media! Tweeting and posting from events and in-store experiences is a natural behavior for this generation because they want to share with friends and family.
Taco Bell created an experience specifically to tap into this generation’s social media influence. For the launch of its breakfast menu, the brand gave prepaid burner phones to a group of 1,000 Millennials who received secret missions to accomplish via Instagram and Twitter. The chance to be one of the 1,000 and participate in something innovative and fun resulted in over 16,000 tweets about the campaign in just 10 days!
- Co-create Experiences with Millennials — They want to co-create experiences, products and services with brands. It’s important to involve them in experience and product development. But, Millennials want to be included in the decision-making process beyond focus groups or social media. The best way to accomplish this is to have conversations with them.
How To Create Experiences That Engage Millennials — Weave compelling experiences into your brand strategy. When creating experiences for Millennials, tap into their values of realness and transparency; creativity and self-expression; civic-mindedness and fun. When you do, this generation will be more likely to want a relationship with your brand.
Get together with your brand team, invite some Millennials and begin ideating how to create engaging experiences. Toss away the old way of thinking that experiences should be category-specific. Think about events that appeal to Millennials. That’s how you’ll engage them!
Authenticity, Not Interception – Engaging Millennials, a media-savvy generation comprising 27% of the U.S. population, requires an approach that marketers have traditionally not embraced . . . an approach about authenticity and transparency, not interception.
Millennials are always multi-tasking . . . many of them multi-task using multiple screens and multiple devices at the same time. This is a generation that grew up with the Internet. They’re used to checking online before buying something. And, they expect a seamless online experience regardless of the device they’re using.
Another consequence of growing up with the Internet is that Millennials prefer democratic, collaborative processes. They love being part of a team . . . they want to participate and they want their views to be heard.
Millennial Power – By 2020, Millennials will have $1.4 trillion in spending power in the U.S. They’re educated with an innate understanding of marketing and of their power over and value to brands. Millennials are significantly more likely than older generations to believe they have the capacity to help a brand succeed or fail.
Millennials As Brand Advocates – According to the Hashtag Nation “Marketing to the Selfie Generation” study, Millennials will advocate for brands they love . . .
- 59% will “Like” the brand on Facebook
- 57% will get involved in direct advocacy
- 54% will purchase a that brand’s products in-store
- 48% will buy that brand’s products online
- Yet, 40% of Millennials complain brands don’t take them seriously. Don’t want to be “one of those brands?” Then, keep reading . . .
Brand Success – 5 Steps To Engage Millennials
- Make It Authentic – If your story is organic and not synthetic, it’ll engage Millennials. Johnson & Johnson’s Clean & Clear #Seetherealme effort, for example, is an unscripted integrated digital and social campaign that showcases real-life teenage girls struggling with their skin issues. The 19-part YouTube series has done phenomenally well because it touches a chord with young Millennial females. The bonus? It made the girls feel involved . . . it gave them a voice.
- Support causes that are important to Millennials — Millennials are constantly on the lookout for brands that align with their values and allow them to actively make a difference in their everyday lives. TOMS is doing a great job with this type of marketing. The TOMS “One for One” campaign is one of the most successful cause brand campaigns. TOMS is winning with Millennials by engaging them in innovative ways, encouraging them to share their stories and marketing a cause that’s different.
The TOMS “One for One” campaign is so successful with Millennials because TOMS provides an individualized toolkit for participation and Millennials are encouraged to share their stories and engage in open dialogues about the cause instead of the product. TOMS is now considered a movement by Millennials . . . not just a company.
- Create experiences — Millennials buy stuff for reasons that are different from GenX and Baby Boomers. They buy things they can tell others about. They buy things because of what those purchases say about them. This explains why Millennials spend money on experiences. The traditional advertising route won’t work with Millennials. Brands that are engaging Millennials are shifting their marketing dollars to events where Millennials can experience the brand. Chipotle is engaging Millennials through offline and online events.
In 2011, Chipotle launched Cultivate — Food, Ideas & Music Festival. In the first year, more than 17,000 attended and attendance continues to grow. The Festival features live music and chefs from around the country. Attendees are also educated about responsible farming.
Chipotle’s content marketing takes on industrial farming with their video “Back to the Start,“ which depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the error of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future.
Chipotle’s offline and online experiences motivate Millennials to have a relationship with Chipotle . . . to eat at Chipotle, share Chipotle stories with their friends and collaborate in advocating for the importance of developing a sustainable food system.
- Provide opportunities for them to interact — Millennials have the need to share their lives online and in-person with friends, family and the general public.
Starbucks is doing a great job with this! Campaigns like Tweet-a-Coffee and the Starbucks app allow Millennials to use social media to share coffee and connect with each other. Starbucks locations encourage face-to-face interactions with their cozy seating arrangements and high-top tables that create a feeling of community. Starbucks Millennial marketing is successful . . . it ranks highly among Millennials in terms of brand equity, according to Goldman Sachs.
- Include them in decision-making — As Millennials age, it will be crucial for brands to continue conversations with them using insight communities and other engagement tools.
Millennials want to be included in the decision-making process beyond focus groups or social media. They want to be brought in as respected thought leaders to help contribute ideas and develop concepts and strategies. They want to get their voices heard in the early stages of a campaign or new product development.
Use These Steps To Engage Millennials — If you want to engage Millennials, your brand needs to make it authentic; support causes that are important to them; create experiences; provide opportunities for them to interact; and include them in decision-making. The result? Brand success.
Fran Lytle is a behaviorist, brand strategist, author & co-founder of Brand Champs. Fran develops brand strategy, emotional brand storytelling, content marketing & social media programs that engage people by applying psychology & human and gender-specific behavior. She specializes in developing & implementing marketing-to-women programs. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org connect with Fran on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter.