In 2015, Millennials became not only the largest generation in the US, but also the largest generation in the American workforce. Millennials are the first generation to grow up in the digital era and such, they are different from every generation that has come before them. As such, Millennials will change everything—including your marketing and sales strategy. To stay ahead in this new reality, you’ll need to know who Millennials are, how they’re different, and how to adapt your marketing strategy to them. Because for the next 15 years, Millennials will be your business’ main paying customers.
Who they are
Millennials are those born between 1980 and 2000, and today they are between the ages of 15 and 35. With more than 92 million Millennials, this generation is larger than any other. They have lived through the Dot-Com Bubble, September 11th, and the 2008 Subprime Mortgage Crisis.
Millennials grew up in a new world. They are the first generation of digital natives. They’ve seen technology constantly change the world and their habits and behaviors are changing with them. That’s why they have a unique point of view. It means that old marketing approaches don’t work on them and that businesses need to adopt everything in their operations, marketing, advertising, and strategy to achieve their loyalty.
How they are different
Millennials have different needs than previous generations. And this isn’t just because of how many millennial there are, it’s also because millennials are different in character.
Millennials have grown up with Internet, smartphones and digital TV and they are more familiar with new technologies, use them more often and use them in different ways than previous generations.
For example, half of Millennials play video games on a regularly basis. Many brands already consider this in their marketing strategy. While product companies used to co-brand their products with movie studios, now they mainly co-brand them with game studios. One well-known example is Angry Birds. It’s not just a game. It’s penetrated every part of life from co-branded bags and the usual merchandise to textbooks for elementary school and attractions in NASA.
More importantly, marketers have started to use game mechanics to solve marketing problems in real life. This is called gamification and it means that companies use mechanics that were invented in games such as bonus points, quests, leaderboards, and competitions in their marketing strategies.
This works because Millennials are already familiar with video games and social games, they understand the concepts and it’s not a big deal to link gamification with their real lives. Consequently, marketers have achieved quite comprehensive results with it.
The digital world has also changed how people communicate with each other.
Half of Millennials use instant messaging services on daily bases. On Facebook alone, users send more than 3,000,000 messages every 20 minutes. And Millennials not only send messages, they use social networks, read blogs and spread information at warp speed across the Internet.
And messaging is not only the way Millennials communicate, it’s also the way they make decisions (about whether to buy or not based on what their friends think about a particular brand or product).
For example, Lady Gaga’s Facebook page has 61 million likes. And that’s not just a number. Lady Gaga’s agent said that one of Lady Gaga’s keys to success lay in her social networking strategy. The results are obviously excellent.
This is why businesses should not only have a presence in modern IM and social networks, but also understand how they work, how information spreads and what people consider important when they make decisions.
Millennials know not only how digital things work, they’ve also lived through the financial crisis, the housing bust and other major events. Another factor to consider is that the majority of them have just finished college and have student loan debt.
All these reasons show why Millennials prefer on-demand products and services to ownership. On average, they also spend less than Gen X.
And that matters not only in terms of money. Millennials also prefer on-demand services and products. They don’t want to invest in ownership. Which is why Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, and Netflix are so popular with Millennials.
Millennials also prefer to rent rather than buy houses. The median first marriage age was changed from 23 years old in 1970 to 30 years old in 2010, which also relates birth rates.
How to tailor your Sales and Marketing Strategy to these challenges
The world is changing faster than ever before and people’s behaviors are changing just as fast. Thus, there are no special rules about how to make your business more “millennial.” But some approaches have proven effective, and you can use them to start transforming your business.
The first is adopting an omnichannel strategy.
This is not only about cross-channel marketing communications, it’s also about how to establish an omnichannel customer experience.
The key challenge for retailers is that customers don’t think in terms of offline and online. They want the same service and experience across all channels. Your customers want to be able to seamlessly go from your site to your brick-and-mortar store and then back online to your mobile app.
With SailPlay products, businesses can establish not only cross channel communications, but also make a customer relationship management (CRM) that recognizes people both offline and online in order to create cross channel loyalty programs that work in brick-and-mortar stores, on your website, in mobile apps and even on social networks.
The second strategy is to make your marketing campaigns more valuable to Millennials. Discounts and promo coupons still work, but their ROI is not what it used to be.
Millennials want to communicate with your brand in a different way. There are a lot of successful examples of the implementation of gamification in e-commerce and retail.
At SailPlay, many of our clients use loyalty programs not only as a bonus points scheme, but also to give their customers a way to earn badges, compete with each other, and get special gifts.
Because no one loyalty scheme fits all businesses, loyalty programs are harder to implement than discounts. But if you do them right, you will have loyal customers.
The third strategy is to make your business viral. Nowadays, every site has share buttons, which makes sense because Millennials make decisions based on “social approval.”
At the same, time people are tired of “social spam.” They don’t want to share and recommend something without being confident that it is special or worth their time. This is why SailPlay Loyalty is deeply integrated with social networks and companies that give bonus points to their clients for social activities.
If you are interested in learning how to update your business strategy and be ready for Millennial market, reach us here at SailPlay through our contact form.