Boomers are considered big spenders. They currently have the vast majority of the wealth in the U.S. The next generation coming through may be even more of a critical audience than their predecessors. The Millennials (age 17-34 today) are predicted to spend over $200 billion annually in 2017, and $10 trillion in their lifetimes. What makes this group different are two ideas.
They are fiercely brand loyal – When it comes to brands, Millennials don’t just like their brands, they LOVE them. In a recent study by BazaarVoice and Kelton Research, over 70% of Millennials say they always come back to the brands they love. Brands mean a lot to this group. They use it as shorthand for who they are, their tastes and ideals they value. To them brands are more than just the product, it’s what the brand stands for. If the brand’s belief system is in alignment with their own, they see that brand as an extension of their “personal brand”.
They trust experts over friends – Yes, they do listen to their friends, but when it comes to doing their research, and they do, they seek out the advice and opinions of experts. In the same study, 84% said they trust an expert second opinion and 51% said they trust total strangers more than friends. With all of the ways and availability of information gathering, Millennials are very savvy researchers. They’ve been doing it most of their lives.
If you see value for your brand in connecting with Millennials, then what’s the best way to accomplish that? Create a brand experience that they would want to come to and share. This must extend into everything you do, your marketing, your online presence, your store experience and employee interaction. You also must provide relevant information as a “expert” on their psychographic needs. The second part of this is to give them the tools to share their experiences of not only about your brand, but other brands in the area (if you are a physical location) or related subjects (if you are online). By placing your brand experience within proximity of related experiences, makes you even more vital to the TOTAL experience they want to share.
Ultimately, they want to express themselves, be heard and get a response back, and learn from others. What is most important is you brand market, not just advertise. If you don’t extend the brand experience throughout every part of your business, Millennials will find that disconnect and count you out as a “trusted” expert.