The generation born between the 80s and 90s already significantly influences companies' business decisions and their impact will only increase in the near future. Businesses must adjust to the values and consumption habits of this new public, whose priorities differ from those of previous generations.
In mid-2020 B2B published that millennials —the generation born between the 80s and 90s— are already conditioning the business decisions of companies around the world through their purchasing decisions, consumption habits and behavioural patterns. Specifically, B2B pointed out that 73% of working millennials have already assumed the role of decision-makers in the business environment or, in other words, they are already influencing companies' activity and decisions. Moreover, millennials will represent 44% of the workforce by 2025.
Along the same lines, Forbes points out that millennials generate more than a trillion dollars in consumer spending in the US and already outnumber Generation X and baby boomers.
This is a trend set to increase in the near future, so companies that have not yet adapted to the demands and characteristics of the new audience and have started to design appropriate strategies and actions for millennials, are already late in the game.
One of the fundamental areas of transition between the strategies that worked for the old audience and the strategies that work for the new audience is marketing. Marketing plays a key role in understanding and capturing the attention of this new type of consumer, in defining the appropriate communication in the right channels and in defining customer strategies.
Some already talk about the marketing of the future. Others call it marketing for millennials. Whatever the case, what is certain is that the most recent marketing trends are already pointing towards satisfying millenials' demands.
What do millennials want and what should companies do?
In order to build marketing strategies and actions adapted to the needs of millennials, the first step is knowing what millennials are like and what they expect from brands.
What do millennials expect from companies? Here we go.
1. Personalised digital and social media experiences
One of the main characteristics of millennials is, obviously, that they are much more digital than previous generations. Not only on a general level, but also in terms of their purchasing habits. According to B2B, millennials are twice as likely as boomers to discover and learn about brands digitally. Sprout Social notes that 30% of millennials engage with brands via social media at least once a month.
Millennials not only need brands with an online presence, but they also want their shopping experiences to be personalised. According to B2B, 51% of millennials agree that digital shopping channels should lead to more personalised solutions.
What should brands do?
In order to satisfy the new generation of shoppers, businesses should not only be concerned about having an online presence, but should also leverage social media marketing to engage with them and design personalised shopping experiences and content.
It is therefore crucial that organisations start investing in their digital experience
2. Satisfactory customer experiences
In the article '6 Reasons Why Customer Experience Is Important and 7 Keys to Improve It' we already mentioned that 64% of companies believe that customer experience is the best strategy to improve customer lifetime value or, in other words, to expand the customer lifecycle.
On top of that, B2B confirms that one of the aspects millennials care most about is their experience with a brand. They are twice as likely as baby boomers to abandon a brand for good after a bad experience and twice as likely to recommend the brand to an acquaintance after a satisfactory experience.
What should brands do?
Focus on taking care of the customer experience, listening to the voice of consumers, identifying pain points and striving to resolve them. To create valuable customer experiences, innovation is key. In the new digital era, the customer experience must be multi-channel and organisations must aim to create unique experiences for each channel, also called multi-experience.
3. Transparency and quality
Another distinctive feature of millennials is that they are more sceptical than other generations, especially when it comes to advertising content. Millennials do not trust adverts, content recommended by public figures and, increasingly less, content generated by influencers.
What they do trust, however, is content generated by other users. According to Forbes, 97% of millennials read online reviews before buying a product and, of these, 89% say they trust reviews.
What should brands do?
Make the most of user-generated content, complement the shopping experience with elements that demonstrate the quality of their products and be transparent to create brand credibility.
4. Purpose-driven marketing
Deloitte's 10th Global Survey reveals that millennials and Generation Z are highly engaged in social issues, especially racial justice, social inequality and the environment.
Both generations believe in their individual power to drive change, but nevertheless demand accountability from businesses and governments, which must do their part to achieve a better future. 60% of millennials believe that social change must be driven by powerful entities, such as governments and companies.
Millennials are making a conscious effort to ensure they spend their money with companies that align with their values and are more adamant than other generations when it comes to dismissing a brand for not supporting their values.
What should brands do?
Strive to be clear about their purpose and comply with the brand's values. It is no longer enough to define a set of values and do nothing else. Millennials are smart and do not trust brands that claim values, but do nothing to implement them.
Purpose-driven marketing is more effective than ever and practically a necessity. This type of marketing is about defining actions that support the brand's values, rather than listing a set of values on the corporate website as companies used to do. For future generations, that no longer works. It is now necessary for businesses to demonstrate that they live up to their values through concrete actions and that they strive to drive change both inside and outside the organisation.
Ultimately, today's companies must fully dedicate themselves to renewing their products and services, their brand image, their marketing strategies and their communication and advertising content if they do not want to lose the vote of the most influential generation: millennials.
Brands that manage to please this generation offer valuable, digital, multi-channel and multi-experience customer experiences. They are transparent, mission-driven, value-driven and future-focused.