The starting gun of Black Friday has sounded, prompting retailers and brands to begin the holiday marathon—trying to make shoppers happy, as the shoppers themselves grab up presents on their lists (as they make those lists on the fly).
Given that Millennials have the 2nd largest spending power (compared to Baby Boomers and Generation X) at $1.70 trillion per a recent Technomic report—and with their individual and collective buying power increasing every year—brands and retailers recognize Millennials as an important audience, and are burning through mega budgets to win them over.
But what are the things that Millennials actually want from brands?
Here are the three things that Millennials wish brands knew…
- EVERYTHING IS MOLDABLE
Millennials have changed the terrain of life, as IPG’s Media Lab explains: “They learn differently (Google, Wikipedia), shop differently (Amazon, Yelp), speak differently (Facebook, Twitter), and document differently (Instagram). Millennials look to rework – not reject – the rules and status quo in order to put their mark on the world.”
Implication: So, what to do? Give Millennials the power to co-create with your brand, and you will begin to form that elusive bond with them and earn far more loyalty.
- EFFICIENCY WINS, SO DIGITAL RULES
Millennials spend significantly more time with their devices, to a point where they are now using their screens as their interface to life. But most often, this occurrence says more about their desire to get things done rapidly and make confident decisions from as many information sources as possible than a potential addiction to their iPhone.
Implication: When you understand Millennials’ mindset for productivity, things get easier. It is no longer “what do I say to get their attention and what social platform do I say it on?” It instead narrows in to “What do I want to make sure they know when considering my product (or retail experience) and where is the most natural place to slip it into their digital info stream?”
- COHESIVE IS GOOD
No one likes things that are unpredictable. It is the reason why people begrudgingly stick with, say, Apple products despite their flaws; for better or worse they offer a predictable, consistent experience. Mintel’s Millennials at Retail findings reinforce this sentiment among this generation: “Retailers need to ensure that the shopping experience is impressive and remains consistent across marketing channels. Millennials, likely to visit the store/brand website in conjunction with visiting a physical location, expect a consistent experience regardless of the communication medium.”
Implication: For Millennials, provide an intuitive, mobile-optimized website to supplement your brand’s brick-and-mortar presence. Don’t give the impression your marketing team drew path-to-purchase touch points from a hat and then proceeded forward from solitary confinement. If you are going to add a new tactic to your marketing tool kit, make every touch point work in concert or Millennials will avoid your show.
The big takeaway?
While Millennials have been stereotyped as the most fickle generation of them all, they aren’t exactly a mystery if you listen. When brands and retailers allow them in to help shape products/experience/services, as well as interact with them resourcefully via communication media perceived as convenient and familiar, then Millennials will naturally gravitate closer – consciously or unconsciously – feeling understood and welcomed.
Follow this advice and all will be merry this holiday season.
Matt O'Toole is an associate shopper marketing strategist based out of Momentum Chicago.