Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Is Your Business Marketing to Millennials?
We live in the “Age of the Customer,” an age that began in 2010 according to Forrester Research. In this new era, the customer matters more than any single strategy. Empowered buyers – whether they’re existing customers or prospects – demand a new level of brand experience.
In the past, brand marketing was a one-way street, but the tides have turned. Due to social media, the process now promotes two-way conversations between brands and customers. In addition, people expect a higher level of customer service because social media makes it easier for companies to go the extra mile in all of their customer touch points.
Millennials stand at the front of this new age. The generation born between 1977 and 1995 is the largest in American history. It outnumbers the Baby Boomers and Generation X. Known as Generation Y and the Millennials, this group boasts 80 million strong, or to put it in terms that all businesses would like to add to their customer base, 25% of the US population.
The book, Marketing to Millennials by Jeff Fromm and Christie Garton, describes the group: “Not willing to be passive consumers any longer, this generation wants to actively participate, co-create, and most importantly, be included as partners in the brands they love…They are social creatures who expect their brands to engage them. [And] if that expectation isn’t met, they’ll leave and spend their money elsewhere.”
Do you know these facts about Millennials?
 The number of connections on their social networks is significantly higher than non-millennials.
 Social media connections enrich their daily lives: “I feel like I’m missing something if I’m not on Facebook every day.”
 They seek out brands in social media and value a social presence.
 They contribute and consume more web content than non-millennials (blogs, RSS feeds, websites, and ratings sites).
 They shop collaboratively and rely on input from social circles in making product decisions.
 They want to experience quality customer service and share their experiences with their connections via Facebook and Twitter.
 They want to make a long-lasting positive impact on the world and will support companies that do the same.
Every day, there are millions of status updates on Facebook and Twitter by Millennials. Chris Altcheck recently posed some good questions: How can businesses analyze those updates? How quickly can the updates, ideas, and feedback be reviewed to provide useful and actionable content? These are roadblocks for the Millennial generation to overcome. But your business can be front and center with Millennials if you address these issues.
So is your business marketing to Millennials? If the answer is no, don’t let the Millennials boat leave the dock. Your business may not be around to welcome the Millennials back to shore.
Sources for This Post:
(1) Marketing to Millennials, Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever by Jeff Fromm and Christie Garton:
Connect on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MillennialMktg
(2) “Millennials and the Power of Social” by Chris Altchek:
Image Credit: Ambro via FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
Posted by Debbie Laskey, MBA