The Business of a Millennial Brand

by Carrie (Adams) Connors

The Millennial market is a desirable one. With over 83 million members and a combined purchasing power of over $170 billion each year, they are a worthy target for brands across all major industries.* With a large customer pool like this one comes unique challenges that is forcing businesses to align sales data with customer engagement to understand the whole picture of who is buying, WHY they made the purchase, and most importantly HOW can we convert them to a lifetime buyer.

It is clear that putting in the work to KNOW your customers is more than just recommended. It is a necessity. As the sales pipeline reverses and informed millennial consumers are no longer being “sold to” but rather choosing to “buy from” brands, the demands of being fresh, unique, reliable, and consistent must be an ever-growing focus.

Gone are the days when large scale marketing campaigns aimed at millions will yield the same response that brought fans flocking to Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign. It is why Nike customers can “Express Your Identity” today with custom NikeID gear and Nike+ accounts granting free access to running and training programs and nutritional support so you can track every step, every activity, and every calorie. It is adding value and the customer level engaging their specific needs inviting the brand to be a part of the customer experience and not the other way around.

Today, millennial customers want a conversation with their favorite brands – they want a customized experience that extends beyond the traditional buy/sell arrangement and they will reward that experience with their loyalty. The way a company presents itself to this demographic must be responsive and innovative, deliver on their promises AND create meaningful exchanges at every place where they connect with their would-be consumers: social arenas, customer service exchanges and in advertising campaigns.

While the millennial market can be perceived as fickle, they are actually quite brand loyal, particularly to to mobile phone providers (59%) and clothing/shoes/accessories (56%) brands.** According to Marketingcharts.com, “To stay relevant the dominant brand virtue appears to be customer-centricity. When asked how brands will remain relevant to respondents and others their age moving into the future, a leading 52% said that brands must be willing to change based on consumer opinion. The next-most common responses were also related: 44% said brands must engage in open dialogue through social channels; and 38% said that brands need to become less about the brand and more about the consumer.”

The company ethos must shift from ensuring the customer understands the brand to ensuring the brand understands the customer.

*http://moosylvania.com/millennials/Moosylvania_Millennial_Study_2015.pdf **http://www.marketingcharts.com/traditional/millennials-and-brand-loyalty-a-complicated-affair-41522/

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