Now that we’ve settled back into our routines and our own personal New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside, we’d like to suggest a new resolution to adopt: Get more nuanced about marketing to Millennials.
There are 80 million Millennials in the U.S. alone, and they are estimated to spend $65 billion just on packaged goods over the next decade. That’s a lot of cash. Marketers are, naturally, already interested in this group. But marketers aren’t always smart about going after them. Here are three ways to market to Millennials in a more authentic, meaningful way this year:
1. Don’t treat them like one monolithic group
It’s sometimes useful to look at a generation as a whole — but changing their attitudes and purchase behaviors requires a narrower lens. Take one look at the oldest Millennial and the youngest, and you will see they are in very different points of their lives. There’s a big difference between a bro who’s rushing a college fraternity and a single 30-year-old mom. In between each end of the spectrum, you have 20-somethings living on their own beyond the safe confines of college, as well as those recent college grads that have boomeranged back to the safety net of their family’s home. Each tribe and subset within this generation make decisions differently, and the nuances matter.
2. Plan for spontaneity
For those younger Millennials, going to the store typically happens when there’s an immediate need. Unlike their parents who make lists and plan the weekly trip to the grocery store, they shop pretty much only when they need something. Four out of five of them will make no shopping list whatsoever — not on paper, not on their phone — and will therefore tend to wander around the store looking for cues about what to shop for. For specific categories that they actually enjoy shopping for, they will spend only a few minutes before making their purchase decision. For the mundane stuff, it is just a matter of seconds before they have moved on to the next item or category. This fast-paced style trip means that in-store navigational cues can be quite useful, not to mention marketing that is able to prompt a different need-state than they originally intended to fill.
3. Be honest about the role digital really plays
Millennials are famously digitally savvy. Computers and, in many instances, mobile devices, have been and always will be a part of their lives. However, when it comes to shopping for CPG products, mobile and digital play a surprisingly small role in the path to purchase. Some pundits will have us believe that Millennials juggle numerous devices simultaneously and have more trouble with in-person interactions. When it comes to shopping in store, however, this certainly isn’t the case. For CPG purchases, Millennials aren’t using their digital devices to compare options, to check reviews, or to ensure they are getting the best deal. Instead, they look at what is physically available to them, evaluate their options, and — within seconds — make a decision.
Marketers and brands that spend the time to build quality relationships with Millennials when they are young and still finding their way will reap the rewards in the future. Plan for them now — if you ignore them today, you can be sure they’ll ignore you tomorrow.