We all know that Millennials are a crucial group being courted by CPG marketers. A Google search will yield countless articles on how Millennials are redefining everything from luxury goods to international development. The challenge for brands is in aligning the distinct way Millennials act as consumers and their needs as shoppers. Here’s how three Millennial trends can be leveraged to win with shoppers, whether that’s online or at shelf.
Life in the Cloud
Millennials have an entirely new perspective on ownership: They’re not seeing the benefit of owning lots of “stuff.” Whether it is music, friends, or transportation, the things that matter most to Millennials are no longer limited in terms of time or place. Living life in the cloud extends their “safe space” beyond the confines of their home, giving them the freedom to explore with minimal risk. In familiar CPG categories, this means they’re willing to forego product loyalty in favor of continued experimentation.
However, for new categories, they’ll rely on past experiences and default to something familiar. For instance, many Millennials are purchasing household cleaning products for the first time in their lives which means they’ll likely default to something familiar (adopting what Mom prefers.) Brands can also adopt the role of “Mom” by creating personalized, media agnostic content, whether it be offering cleaning advice, coupons, or general support. By reaching Millennials on their terms, brands have the ability to engage in conversations right alongside them in the cloud.
Life on Stage
Millennials are living life to the fullest, but also moment-to-moment. Their lives are made up of carefully cultivated social snapshots that are on display for the rest of the world to see. Millennials seek out a range of experiences, from music festivals to eating out with friends, to feed their social identity and their never-ending quest for personal discovery. This is a huge opportunity for brands to seize by actively facilitating this broadening of horizons. A good first step is for brands to connect select categories and products with one-of-a-kind profile-enhancing experiences and content. Pepsi has truly succeed at this by creating a digital hub that provides visitors with the latest news in music (and the bragging rights that go along with being in the know.) They’ve also carried out this success with real life experiences through sponsoring the Super Bowl halftime show.
Life as a Game
There is no doubt that millennials have been hit hard by the economy — crushing student debt, today’s job market, etc. — but they aren’t letting that get to them. The generation is savvy and they are learning to get by with what they have while also successfully playing the consumer shopping game. It’s okay to buy on sale or private label brands, especially if those are household products that will be shared with roommates.
However, Millennials still need to know they’re “winning” at shopping. They seek validation for their decisions through instant and immediate rewards, which make even the most routine choices fun and surprising. Sometimes it’s less about the win and more about getting to the next level or scoring the next point. Little wins at the store shelf are the perfect way for brands to help shoppers jump to the next level and ultimately reward Millennials for making it as an adult.
A great example of a retailer championing the little wins is Target. With its mobile couponing initiative, shoppers can engage with shelf blades that will provide a number to text for a coupon that can be used immediately at the checkout. Target has even extended this beyond physical stores with Cartwheel, a program that lets shoppers earn coupons by sharing them on social media.
There are many quick fixes on ways to win Millennials over in the short term, but truly making loyal lifetime customers out of them this requires a keen understanding of the trends shaping their generation. Once marketers understand what shapes Millennials’ experiences beyond the path to a single purchase, then they will win over long-term loyal customers.