Today we’re going to talk about how to market to and attract millennials—that elusive group of consumers that is now the largest demographic of buyers. Millennials collectively make up more than 80 million consumers, are nearly half of the US workforce, and have an annual buying power of over $200 billion.
You may know them as that maverick group of individuals born between 1981 and 1996 who have deep institutional trust issues and have been upending markets for the last decade.
These digitally-savvy individuals feverishly seek out experiences, align with causes, reject corporate gimmicks, and are notoriously difficult for organizations to attract.
Their influence on markets will only grow as millennials are soon to be the recipients of “the largest wealth transfer in history,” inheriting as much as 30 trillion dollars.
If you’re a business in today’s market, your future success and longevity depend on your ability to attract millennials.
To successfully court, millennials require a change of approach.
This group knows exactly what they want and are aware of their considerable authority as consumers. Despite anecdotes—millennials are extremely loyal and are 1.75x more likely than baby boomers to say they’d like to be brand-loyal.
Millennial loyalty presents an opportunity for organizations to form long-term relationships if they can meet their sophisticated needs.
How do we know so much about millennials?
Because we are Millennials.
Our digital agency specializes in helping organizations attract, form deeper connections, and earn these digitally-native consumers’ loyalty.
Here are some tips and insights on how your organization can speak the millennial language and draw them to your brand.
Communicate with Authenticity and Trust
Millennials have a deep distrust of traditional advertising.
They have grown up in an era of out of control outbound marketing.
Persistent and ever-present ads have eroded the current generation’s trust and caused them to reject traditional marketing by default.
A consumer study on millennials found that a mere 1% of those polled would trust a company because of advertising.
To reach millennials, brands need to leave behind the corporate playbook and seek genuine interactions with their customers and adopt inbound marketing strategies. This requires showing flaws, speaking truths, owning missteps, and communicating consistently.
The competitive advantage of brand authenticity is significant. 91% of consumers are more likely to buy from an authentic brand than from a dishonest brand.
A recent study by the Harvard Business Review shows this shift in consumer confidence and gravitation towards brands that broker trust.
If you want to attract millennials, lead with candor.
“An overwhelming 92% of marketers believe that most or all of the content they create resonates as authentic with consumers. Yet the majority of consumers disagree, with 51% saying less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic.” (Source)
Be Accountable and Accessible
Millennials are well aware of their consumer authority and how easily they can take their business elsewhere.
78% of millennial customers have moved their business somewhere else after one single poor customer service experience.
More than any other demographic, Millennials vote with their dollars and demand that organizations they do business with are accountable.
If you want their business, you need to stand by what you say and provide immediate access when requested.
This means understanding your customer life-cycle, creating strategic engagements, and providing access to help your customers achieve the value you promised.
Failure to do so is an opportunity for the competition.
“At every stage of the customer life-cycle, a majority rated an immediate response from businesses as “important” or “very important” — 82% when they had marketing or sales-related inquiries, and 90% when a customer support issue came up.” (source)
In the past, building great products and services at reasonable prices was all that organizations had to worry about. But with global competition—a connected and informed consumer and a fiercely competitive market have changed that.
Brands now need to stand for more than the products they sell if they want to court modern consumers. Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2020 found 64% of today’s customers are belief-driven buyers. Meaning they believe brands can and should be a force for change.
If you want to gain a competitive advantage—look to champion a cause, operate differently, and/or give back. It will enable you to form deeper relationships with your customers and foster loyalty beyond the value that your product or service provides.
“Accenture Strategy’s most recent global survey of nearly 30,000 consumers found that 62 percent of customers want companies to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues like sustainability, transparency, or fair employment practices.” (Source)
Create and Embrace Digital Engagements
It is no surprise that the digital generation prefers and expects companies to be sophisticated and digitally-driven.
These modern consumers want to interact and engage with your brand on their terms and through their preferred channels.
This means that organizations need to communicate seamlessly over multiple digital channels, embrace social media and influencer marketing, and create informative and easily-navigable websites.
As evidence, chat engagements have a 92% satisfaction rating, making it the preferred direct communication method for customer service inquiries.
Creating and managing digital interactions enables you to attract, influence, and retain modern customers throughout the customer journey.
Are you curating and developing the digital interactions that your customers demand?
Provide Streamlined and Consistent Interactions
Convenience is king.
Millennials have multiple competing priorities and demands on their time.
They do not want to waste precious resources haggling with sales, dealing with multiple hand-offs, or making repeated calls for support.
Microsoft recently found that not solving a customer’s issue in a single interaction increased customer churn and lowered satisfaction scores.
To stay competitive—businesses need to remove barriers, streamline engagements, and obsess about their customers.
Any inconsistency or unnecessary obstacle to a customer obtaining their desired value is an opportunity to lose their patronage.
If you can’t sell a product conveniently, deliver it rapidly, and provide on-demand support—your customers can find someone who will.
“59% of customers are willing to go to Amazon when companies can’t match its shipping speed and cost.” (source)
Empower and Enable Self-Sufficiency
Despite the anecdotes, millennials are fiercely independent and prefer to be empowered rather than assisted.
This poses several benefits to organizations that embrace a self-service philosophy.
By empowering customers with self-service tools and information, organizations can lower their cost-of-service and increase their customer satisfaction scores.
This doesn’t mean you don’t have to provide personalized interactions and support. Rather, you can lower your customer’s dependency on these traditional channels by providing the information they need to be successful upfront.
91% of customers will use an online knowledge base when made available, easily accessible, and tailored to their needs.
“89% of millennials use a search engine to find answers before making a call to get customer service.” (source)
Focus on the Experience
Consumers want businesses to think of them and provide unique and tailored interactions. They want the businesses they interact with to offer them something more than just their services and products’ advertised value.
They want experiences.
Make your customers the center of your focus, anticipate their needs, make engaging with you easy, and they will reward you.
“64% of customers believe customer experience is more important than price when deciding to purchase a brand.” (Gartner)
Modern consumers are willing to pay more for and be loyal to brands that provide great experiences.
Sprouts, Starbucks, Amazon, REI, Southwest Airlines, and Disney all invested heavily in customer experience and—in return—enjoy the benefits of extreme loyalty.
“According to the 2019 State of Service Report from Salesforce, 80% of customers now consider their experience with a company to be as important as its products.”
– Salesforce, 2019 State of Service Report
Millennials are the largest demographic and are soon to have considerably more buying power.
They are informed, socially-minded, and completely aware of their significant consumer authority.
If you want to attract this highly sought after demographic, your organization needs to change how it operates, communicates, and positions itself.
The brands that manage this transformation are more resilient and profitable.
Millennials and their disruption of the status quo is here to stay. SequoiaCX can help your organization adopt the digital tools and customer-focused strategies that attract and keep modern customers. We are happy to share what we have learned. Contact us today and schedule a consultation.