If your business isn't talking the language of millennials, you might be turning this generation of consumers off - costing you millions of dollars every year. In order to initiate dialogue with this technology-driven generation, you need to embody innovation, authenticity and transparency1.
Main characteristics that define millennials2
- Perpetual connection
Gen Y is the first generation that grew up with the Internet. They are accustomed to having everything accessible at their fingertips and probably could not survive without a mobile device. Now with the omnipresence of technology, millennials expect a seamless online experience at every connected touchpoint.
- Thirst for collaboration
Millennials possess a desire to fit in. Steering away from the individualist mindset, millennials pursue a democratic society. The Internet has allowed millennials to engage in collaborative activities. Millennials love being part of a community: they want to participate and want their views to be heard. This evokes a sense of identity and belonging for them.
- Short attention spans
Research has shown that one of the defining characteristics of millennials is their short attention spans. Their primary communication tools exemplify this notion; tweeting about their emotions in 140 characters or less, or even condensing their feelings down to a couple of emojis. This attribute makes them impatient. Millennials expect processes to be almost instantaneous.
How to engage millennials in business and marketing
- Create experiences4
Millennials spend more money on experiences and less on tangible things because the main driving force towards their purchasing decisions is to share their customer experiences with others1. Many organisations have now started investing their marketing dollars on events where millennial consumers can experience their brand.
In recent years, events such as food and wine shows, and music festivals have sparked consistent buzz amongst millennials.
- Support causes that are important to them3
Millennials share a passion for social and environment issues and expect businesses to undertake initiatives that address these issues. Organisations should keep track of contemporary social issues that millennials care about.
(The CEO Institute is proud to be the first Australian partner to support UNESCO’s ‘Malala Fund for Girls’ Right to Education’.)
It is important for organisations to lead culture, not just follow it. Millennials respect a voice that advocates positive change and sustainable progress.
- Provide variety and customisation3
Offering a wide range of products that can be customised to the individual is crucial to attracting millennials. Businesses are tailoring each customer touchpoint for the millennial consumer. One example of a successful campaign is Coca-Cola’s ‘Share-a-Coke’ campaign. The aim of the campaign was to excite people to find a can with their name on it and then share it with their friends. A compelling idea that had people lining up for hours just to get their hands on a personalised can of coke.
Restaurants have also introduced unconventional items on their menu to cater to this adventurous generation. An example is McDonald’s introduction of 'Create Your Taste' touch-screen menu, which enables food customisation, more variety and more choices for the consumer.
- Give them liberation for self-expression; let them engage with one another
Millennials enjoy sharing parts of their lives online with friends, family and the general public4. They thrive on social connections and interactions - both digitally and in person.
Social media allows millennials to express themselves and the effortless sharing of experiences and networks with others. Communicating about what they’re doing and who they’re with through a photo on Instagram or tweeting about a daily coffee are the simplest interactions, but they incite a community feel.
Introduce creative ways of self-expression and communication such as community hashtags and let your customers interact; this will keep millennials engaged and excited to contribute. Millennials are heavy social media users, so capitalise on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks2.
- Create a long-term relationship3
The attitudes and behaviours of millennials today might not be the same tomorrow. This is validated by their transitions in social media, from MySpace to Facebook to Snapchat - all within a decade. It is crucial for organisations to maintain conversations with Gen Y consumers as this generation starts to age and their lifestyles evolve.
Loyalty is a naïve ideal in this age, millennial attitudes are not static, keep up or be the change.
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Lisa Kasiaras, Global Manager - Franchising & Marketing, The CEO Institute
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1Retrieved from Dudler, R. THE AGE OF AUTHENTICITY: Why Brands Need to Get Real. frontify.com
2Retrieved from Claveria, K. (2016). How to engage millennials for customer insight and marketing. www.visioncritical.com
3Retrieved from Harris, P. (2014). Engaging Gen Y in your marketing – what’s the secret?. www.marketingmag.com.au
4Retrieved from Lytle, F. (2015). 4 Marketing Tips To Engage Millennials. www.provident.bank