Generalizations are never a good thing, but marketers are noticing some trends in how millennials find and consume products and services. Things are definitely changing, my friends.
The term “millennials” is used to describe the 18 to 36-year-old demographic who have grown up in the digital age. Also referred to as Generation Y, they are known as the socially savvy generation that’s always connected to the Internet via multiple communication devices. Because of their short attention spans and demand for personalized services and goods, connecting with millennials can be a difficult task for many businesses. Each year, Generation Y grows in purchasing power, and they are on track to spend more than Baby Boomers by 2017, according to a study conducted by by Berglass + Associates and Women’s Wear Daily — so if you’re not developing a strategy to reach out, you could be left behind. By assembling a well-integrated and thought-out strategy, your company can tap into this demographic.
Focus on Customer Service
Millennials have a much different idea about how customer service should work, along with expectations on how to be helped as a consumer. According to Nielsen, 42 percent of millennials expect to receive customer service on social media within 12 hours of raising their issue. Instead of having a phone number to call, most young people expect to be able to find answers to their questions online or through an app, and may become frustrated if a solution to their problem requires a phone call.
One way to boost your online customer service presence is to work with a cloud-based contact management company, which can provide and maintain the online infrastructure for a streamlined customer service experience.
Let Others Market for You
According to socialchorus.com, 95 percent of millennials say their friends are the most credible source of product information. Over the last few decades, marketing has shifted from an overarching “push” strategy to a now more popular “pull” approach.
In his book The Thank You Economy, Gary Varynerchuk lays out his philosophies on how to effectively market in contemporary culture and he emphasizes the importance of brands communicating directly with customers via social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Vine. He explains, “At its core, social media requires that business leaders start thinking like small shop owners.” Because the social channels are open, Vaynerchuk urges companies to use these mediums not as faceless entities or corporate representatives of a brand, but as real people. He describes the impact this can make: “When faced with two equal choices, people often buy for no other reason than they associate one choice with someone they know.”
So, if you can connect on a more personal level with millennials, the social word of mouth is likely to grow exponentially, gaining you more clout in the Generation Y demographic.
When in Doubt, Be Collaborative
Millennials are all about collaboration. They want to be involved in the process, be part of a wider community, and feel as if their life makes a difference in the world. In fact, a recent study found ‘collaborative’ to be a word most millennials would use to describe their ideal workplace, and 82 percent of participants agreed that collaboration and inspiration drive innovation.
If you reach out to people in the Generation Y demographic with surveys, prototypes, and beta tests, or capture their opinion in a documentary-style case study video, you’ll be able to tell potential customers that your products and services are ‘user created’ while empowering all the people involved to become mouthpieces for your brand.