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Millennial Marketing

What do millennials really need?

What Millennials Want Convenience. Millennials have grown up in a world that emphasizes convenience. ... Choices. Millennials have also been raised in a world with choices....

Experiences. Past generations have been hyper-focused on buying "things." Millennials are more interested in buying experiences. Budget-Friendliness. ... Belonging. ... Recognition. ...

How to Gain Millennial Customers: 6 Things They Want From Your Brand

Published: Jun 12, 2018 Last Updated: Jun 4, 2020 by Larry Alton In Management 3 Small Business Trends

It’s time to drop your preconceived notions about millennials right here at the beginning of this article. You may think you know who millennials are — maybe you are one yourself, or you have a child who falls into this category – but you’re probably sorely mistaken.

Stereotypes offer us valuable and efficient mental shortcuts that can be used to quickly identify someone and make reasonable assumptions about who they are, how they act, and what they want. But a stereotype rarely tells the whole story. This is certainly true with millennials.

If you want to grow your business and engage millennial consumers, you must ditch your fallacious thinking and seek to understand who this dynamic group really is. In doing so, you’ll be forced to confront the reality that this valuable portion of the consumer marketplace is rarely predictable. Yet, despite their capricious nature, most millennials want and expect similar things from the brands they interact with.

Who are Millennials?

According to, millennials are those born between1977 and 2000. They make up roughly 25 percent of the U.S. population and account for 21 percent of consumer discretionary purchases.

While most people think of millennials as young, reckless teenagers, the reality is that this generation is maturing. Roughly one out of every four millennials is a parent and 53 percent of millennial households have children.

What Millennials Want

Now that we have a little better idea of who millennials are – at least in terms of demographics – it’s time to focus on their needs, wants desires, and expectations as they pertain to their interactions with brands.

Despite being an eclectic group, you’ll find that almost every millennial shares the following desires:

1. Convenience

If you want proof of the desire for convenience, look no further than the current push for same-day grocery delivery. As MarketBeat reports, Walmart is currently expanding its same-day online grocery delivery service to 100 metro areas – covering roughly 40 percent of U.S. households – by year-end. The hope is to keep pace with Amazon, which has already leveraged its purchase of Whole Foods Market to offer prime customers in select markets free two-hour delivery.

If millennials are willing to outsource and automate something as basic as shopping for groceries, you can bet they’re looking for a more convenient way to purchase or consume your products. Finding a way to satisfy this desire will yield dividends.

2. Choices

Millennials have also been raised in a world with choices. They log into Netflix and have thousands of options to choose from. They look for a specific product online and can compare choices from a number of different companies. When it comes to buying a product, they have nearly a dozen different ways to pay.

Choices make the consumer feel like they are in control. If you want to compete for millennial customers, you need to offer choices in some capacity. This will look different depending on the industry you’re in but is necessary in every niche.

3. Experiences

Past generations have been hyper-focused on buying “things.” Millennials are more interested in buying experiences. As millennial entrepreneur, Taylor Smith tells NBC, “We aren’t spending our money on cars, TVs, and watches. We’re renting scooters and touring Vietnam, rocking out at music festivals, or hiking Machu Picchu.”

The pursuit of experiences over things has less to do with the experience itself and more to do with being recognized (more on that below). However, the root cause doesn’t matter as much as the tendency itself.

If you sell physical products, you need to look past the item itself and find a way to tell a story or paint an experience. Some companies accomplish this by aligning their brand with social causes, while others host or sponsor local events. The key is to do something that brings people together and allows them to bond.

4. Budget-Friendliness

Not only do millennials have tons of debt – including an average of $40,000in student loans – but they also don’t make a lot. The average salary for a millennial is less than $35,000. And because they spend more per year on groceries, gas, dining out, and cell phone service than older generations, they have a very limited supply of money to spend on other things – i.e. the products you’re selling.

Understanding this, businesses that offer budget-friendly options, cheaper versions, and pay-as-you-go services tend to outperform premium brands with this demographic.

5. Belonging

As is the case with anyone, millennials seek to belong above all else. They want to fit in and will do whatever it takes to connect with people and causes.

“Suddenly, the one-for-one model wasn’t just another stodgy cause marketing program. One-for-one became a new category of social action, where the product becomes a badge of honor,” entrepreneur Bridget Croke says. “With this in mind, we can treat behavior change like an innovative product launch, where we target early adopters first and use their influence to make that behavior feel like the behavior in their community of peers.”

6. Recognition

Some have dubbed millennials “Generation Me.” While it might not be an endearing title, it’s hard to debate the fact that millennials are more narcissistic than previous generations. Individualism is huge right now; this has led to a desire to be recognized. Social media is a driving force behind this.

How many times have you seen someone post an Instagram photo of a trip they took six months ago with a comment that says something like, Take me back? This is simply an excuse to post another picture that drives recognition and status. As some would say, it’s a “humble-brag.”

Millennials love humble brags and businesses can leverage this to increase exposure and drive brand loyalty. By giving out rewards and memberships, offering social media contests, and tapping influencers, brands can appeal to narcissism in ways that haven’t been nearly as effective in decades past.

Reach Millennials Where They Are

The consumer spending power and influence millennials have in the marketplace is growing by the day. A failure to understand and engage this segment on their terms will result in unnecessary friction and push back

Now’s the time to really home in on your target market and adjust, tweak, and optimize your marketing strategies and product offerings to align with their preferences. In doing so, you’ll find it easier to penetrate what is otherwise a highly misunderstood generation.

*Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

10 Ways Retailers Can Reach Gen Z with Social Media

Published: Apr 18, 2017 by Rieva Lesonsky In Retail Trends. Small Business Trends

You may think you’ve got a handle on Millennial shoppers — but are you ready for Generation Z?

While the two groups do have many similarities, Gen Z takes Millennials’ shopping tendencies to the next level. Defined as consumers age 20 and under, Gen Z is leaving older shoppers (and many retailers) “in their digital dust,” warns a new report from Accenture.

Marketing to Gen Z on Social Media

The good news: Like Millennials, Gen Z shoppers love brick-and-mortar stores. But their real-world shopping choices are greatly influenced by the digital world — specifically, social media. Here are 10 social media moves you should make to get Gen Z into your store.

  1. Think beyond Facebook. YouTubers number one with this crowd; almost twice as many Gen Z shoppers as Millennials visit it before making a purchase. You also need a presence on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

  2. Make it easy for them to get social in your store. Four in 10 Gen Z shoppers get opinions from friends and family before they make a purchase. Offer free Wi-Fi in your store so they can quickly consult with their social circles on their smartphones.

  3. Practice “social listening.” More than other generations, Gen Z is open about what they think. Forty percent say they give feedback, such as writing reviews, “very often.” Whether they’re reviewing you on ratings and review sites or posting on your social accounts, be sure to stay on top of online feedback from these customers. And make sure you act on it — there’s nothing this age group hates more than feeling like businesses don’t listen.

  4. Ask for their opinions. Don’t wait for Gen Z shoppers to share their opinions—ask them! This group is very responsive when you survey them. Try asking quick questions on Snapchat or Twitter.

  5. Put them in the spotlight. Even if they don’t know each other, Gen Z shoppers trust each other’s opinions. When you get positive feedback from one of them, share it on social media.

  6. Create a sense of community. Ask young shoppers to share photos or videos of their purchases and themselves on your social media accounts. Engage them in contests or polls. And be sure you respond to them on social media! You’ll build trust in your business and engagement among Gen Z shoppers.

  7. Picture this. For Gen Z shoppers, images are more important than text in influencing their decisions. Avoid text-only posts and assess whether you need to up your game when it comes to the photos you share on social media.

  8. Make a movie.Gen Z loves online video (witness their YouTube addiction). When it comes to making online videos, don’t be intimidated—they don’t have to be Oscar-winning productions. Sharing quick, live videos on Snapchat or Instagram is just as effective with this age group.

  9. Keep it fresh. Gen Z shoppers have a short attention span, so make sure your social media presence is not only consistent but active. A steady stream of new posts, photos, videos and comments will keep them interested—and coming into your store.

  10. Connect with influencers. Popular YouTube stars, Instagram personalities, and other social media names can sway Gen Z’s purchasing behavior. However, you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for an influencer at this level to promote your store. Instead, try reaching out to those of your Gen Z customers who have big followings on social media to help market your business. Perhaps they’ll be willing to review a product to sell or participate in an event at your store.


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