A Good Experience: The Holiday Gift That Keeps On Giving

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, December 18, 2015

It’s no secret that millennials are a huge consumer segment. Eighty million strong and growing, they make up 25% of the U.S. population and wield a direct buying power of more than $1 trillion. And during the holidays — a time when brands are fighting hand over omnichannel fist to claim their spot on Mom’s shopping list — the smartest move is to follow the golden rule of marketing: Know thy audience.

So what motivates millennial consumers? According to research, above all else, they want a good experience. 

As you can imagine, “a good experience” can be as general as the interaction they have with a brand when buying a product or as literal as receiving a gift certificate to dine at their favorite eatery. The point is that millennials actively seek out brands that not only fill a need, but also make them feel good — and personally appreciated — along the way. You may read this and think, “Well, gee, we all want that.” True enough. The only difference: millennials want it even more. For example, a baby boomer or member of Gen X might not personally like her mechanic (“He’s constantly spouting half-baked conspiracy theories, drops the F-bomb every other word and never remembers my name”) but will keep coming back to his shop because, “Hey, at least he does good work.” For most millennials, that simply won’t do. If you’re selling a product or service, they want and expect — and are even willing to pay a higher price point for — more. 



And it’s not just about feeling good, by the way. It’s also about doing good. 

According to Millennial Marketing, “50% of millennials would be more willing to make a purchase from a company if their purchase supports a cause.” And nearly 40% say they would pay a bit more for a product or service to support a cause that matters to them. This is a double win for millennials: (1) They get to experience/enjoy a product they love while (2) creating a better experience for someone else — whether through a charitable contribution, a percentage of proceeds or, in the case of a company like Toms (a millennial favorite), any one of a number of gifts from 100 giving partners.

Again, it’s all about a good experience.

If you can fulfill this need — not just once, but over and over again and in an authentic, personalized way — you’ll do more than win millennials’ business. You’ll also earn their loyalty. And you’ll receive an added boost via another prolific millennial behavior: social sharing. You’ll see an array of millennial-generated content popping up all over your social channels celebrating, promoting and hashtagging the great experience they had with your brand. In fact, according to an Eventbrite report, 60% of millennials enjoy experiences even more when they share them on social.

(Graph courtesy of Eventbrite – “Millennials Fueling The Experience Economy”)

As you can see, a good experience truly is the gift that keeps on giving for millennials — and in a win-win way. Your brand earns the coveted business, loyalty and advocacy of today’s biggest consumer segment, while the people who make up that segment receive what they seek most. Play your cards right — not just during the holidays, but throughout the year — and you will come out on the profitable end of the millennial consumer equation.

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