Staying relevant to the millennial consumer

Staying relevant to the millennial consumer


Shopping behaviors, buying trends and patterns are changing at a rapid pace across the US and the global marketplace; brands that were once iconic, now struggle to stay afloat in markets that are sometimes almost single-handedly driven by millennials.

According to a recent Yahoo survey, millennials will have $1.4 trillion of spending power in the US by 2020. This would make them the single largest consumer segment. So exactly how can brands get millennials to sit up and take notice? How do they get this notoriously ‘tough crowd’ to engage with them?

The biggest advantage that marketers have when building marketing programs for this target audience is the huge trail of digital data they leave behind. An eMarketer survey found that over 49 million millennials use a smart phone. Over 45% of them spend four hours or more on the mobile internet on a week day. The digital data trail, when analyzed, can make available answers to just about every strategic question a marketer might have, to help them conceptualize and run successful campaigns.

As most new age marketers will agree, the traditional AIDA model of marketing has become irrelevant in today’s connected world; more so when dealing with the millennial consumer. Our analysis has often found that millennials browse for a specific need and not a product. There is a huge difference between what they begin browsing for and end up buying. What millennials are looking for is a need. For example, let’s look at deodorants. Millennials that buy deodorants are often not looking for one. Their need is to ‘look attractive to the opposite sex.’ Marketers who are able to identify this need early enough, and are able to engage their millennial consumer with relevant content, stand to gain.

Another interesting trend we found when analysing the digital trail left by this consumer segment is that this target group in particular were abandoning their shopping carts at the time of check-out. We saw this repeat over and over again, across retailers and product categories. The millennial consumer is not willing to pay for shipping.

Analytics plays a very important role in making a brand relevant to a millennial audience. By combining internal and external sources of data, marketers are able to segment consumers based on their interests and affinities. This is essential in order to serve them with customized, relevant and engaging messages. There is enough and more research on how important customization is to a generation that shrugs off a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

When dealing with tech-savvy millennial consumers, it’s important to get a 360 degree view of the consumer. Millennials often interact with a brand on multiple channels, through multiple devices. Analytics can help brands get a holistic snapshot of the consumer and their interactions. It can also help marketers understand behavioral differences between channels and the various paths of purchase.

As more and more marketers see the benefit of using data to make marketing decisions, their need for good quality data increases. Member data collected through loyalty programs, online panel data can all be very useful in generating actionable insights that lead to accurate decisions.

For companies to stay relevant and attract millennial buyers and influence their purchases, there is an urgent need to step it up and keep up the pace. Apart from using data analytics, companies now need to deliver these experiences to the consumer faster and better. They need to look to establish a steady stream of interaction, dialogue that will help them stay in constant touch with the consumer – be it through queries, feedback, or any other channel of interaction that today’s consumer expects from businesses. They need to respond quickly to customer queries, feedback, and any other interactions the millennial buyer has come to expect from businesses. To stay in the game and ahead of your peers, the mantra is simple – be pre-emptive and proactive- more than ever before!

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