Jason Mander, Chief Research Officer at GWI looks at how brands and marketers can really get to know their audience and understand the pathway to success in approaching such a diverse demographic.
Millennials are a large and diverse group. Usually considered to span ages of 26 to 41, it’s clear that some millennials will be still at the threshold of their careers and adult lives whilst others will be starting or even growing their families. Their social lives, interests, what they care about and products they’re looking for also widely differ, which can make it challenging to market to millennials as a whole. But as such a potentially lucrative demographic, it’s one that brands need to figure out.
A good starting point and a connecting thread is the financial independence that millennials are beginning to experience or well down the path to having. For both those leaving their parents’ payroll and joining the workforce, and others that have been paying their own way for a while, there’s a calculated amount of discretionary spend on top of day-to-day necessities. In fact, 35% of Millennials say they’re spending more than they did two years ago. But outside of brand loyalty, millennials can be very picky about where they spend. So, what else is drawing in millennials?
They research products on social media
Like most modern consumers, millennials typically prefer to buy products online rather than in-store, often turning to services like Amazon or eBay. Our GWI data found that more than half (52%) will research products before buying them. Social media is a key part of this process, with 29% using sites such as Facebook and Instagram to find potential purchases.
In fact, the most distinctive method of product discovery for millennials is via updates on a brand’s social media pages. Brands who can maximise the effectiveness of these channels, with a balance of information and creativity, are those that will best reach this generation.
Millennials are also among the most interested in the emerging metaverse. For this emerging technology to truly captivate them, it will need to offer more than just a new way to shop – encompassing different media and tying into real-world hobbies.
Convenience is key
Our data shows that millennials are 13% more likely than any other generation to say having a “buy” button on social media would improve the likelihood of them buying a product. While free delivery and access to discounts are popular, having the option to complete the purchase in the same place they carried out their research is about as convenient as it gets. As much as brands need a robust social media presence, implementing ways for people to discover and purchase products without having to open a new window may encourage millennials to shop with them again.
They’re loyal to brands they like and are interested in gamification
Many brands may have already earned that all important ‘follow’ on social media. If so, it’s likely that millennials will come back – 45% say that they’re loyal to brands they like. To go further, tactics such as offering insider knowledge, exclusive content, and rewards or making an effort to gamify the shopping experience could give a competitive edge and may increase brand loyalty.
They value reliability and authenticity
Nothing matters more to consumers than being able to trust the brands they purchase from. This is as true for millennials as any other generation, 53% of millennials say that reliability and authenticity (42%) are qualities they value. For brands, this ranges from them working with reliable suppliers to ensuring quality control on their products.
It’s good practice for brands to be upfront about any hidden costs, data collection, or warranty at the time of purchase. It also means offering post-purchase support. Millennials are more likely to cite a live-chat feature as a purchase driver, for example. And it’s important for brands to listen to consumers after they complete a purchase too, with 40% saying that brands should listen to consumer feedback.
As always, it’s critical for marketers to truly listen to and understand their audience to win over and sustain their support, and millennials are no exception. As one of the first generations to make the switch from an offline to an online world, the same old tactics don’t apply. But here’s a group that is openly embracing the digital era and looking to flex their financial muscles – an opportunity for brands, if only they meet them where they are.