Virtually every brand we work with is trying to win Millennials and it’s not surprising why. Eighty million shoppers with one trillion dollars in buying power are hard to ignore. But equally hard to ignore are recent stats that show when it comes to shopper marketing, Millennials know what they want.
One-third of Millennials are hyper-connectors who use a wide variety of shopper media frequently. But an almost equal number are detached, meaning they almost never use shopper marketing to support buying needs like groceries and other CPG categories. Even digital tools that Millennials deem essential to their daily lives are rarely used for routine shopping.
I know what you might be thinking: How can so many young, connected, stimulus-hungry consumers be so disconnected from shopping? CPG brands that count on Millennials to build the bottom line and provide the next generation of profitable shoppers should rightfully be concerned. But the good news is there are clear actions to help you fully engage these high-opportunity shoppers.
Don’t wait for them to “grow into” your target. Millennials represent real buying power right now, regardless of their life stage or lifestyle. Yet too many CPG marketers wait for young shoppers to transition to traditional family households before they engage them. Not surprisingly, young families with kids are the most engaged with shopper marketing, but single, childless Millennials feel disenfranchised. Given many are likely to stay unmarried, unparents, un-whatever longer, brands must make the effort now to meet them where they are in life. It will be difficult to win them later once their buying habits are established.
Give them value they crave. Seven in 10 Millennials engage with shopper marketing (especially new digital tools) to save money. But this generation also embraces the gamification of everything and that includes shopping. They’re experimenting and looking for strategies that will help them get smart and win. Consider discounts, of course, but also look at other types of content that can help Millennials feel a sense of accomplishment, such as rewards and exclusive access.
Market beyond the all-digital stereotype. Many brands believe that simply doing more digital marketing will garner more Millennial shoppers. Yet we see the majority of this audience describing themselves as “hybrid shoppers” who use a lot of digital but often find themselves relying on old-school tactics. In fact, in-store displays remain the top tool to help aid the shopping trip. Digital and physical are both important to Millennials and the medium is likely less critical than the message — a convincing experience that shows why your brand deserves to be in their carts can still be effective.
Remember that to be a hit with Millennials, you must stay relevant to how they want to shop and how they buy. Take the time to know this business-critical audience and adapt your approach as necessary. Your brand will reap big benefits from this shopper audience and create bonds that can “hit” for decades to come.
Editor's note: This popular column originally appeared on June 16, 2015.