By Wendy Eichenbaum
There are over 80 million millennials in America, one-fourth of our population. They have $600 billion in buying power according a recent Accenture study. And they were the first generation to grow up with instant and constant interaction with technology. When developing your CX marketing strategy, it’s critical to consider what makes a great experience for millennials.
Millennials typically perform their own research when shopping for products. They use an average of three devices, so they expect an omni-channel experience with companies. At a minimum, your website should be responsive. And they will look at multiple sources for information. Social media is a primary source. An Elite Daily report showed that nearly half of millennials used social media to influence buying decisions. Only 1% of millennials said that traditional advertising influenced them.
Millennials highly value companies who respond to them over social media. This level of engagement gives millennials a sense of connection and co-creation with a product. This connection is one reason why half of millennials say they are extremely loyal to their favorite brands. This loyalty increases a product’s virality. According to a CrowdTwist study, 43.5% of millennials said they use social media to spread the word about products or services. Therefore, make sure your content is easily sharable, especially on mobile platforms.
How do you connect with millennials? Matthew Tyson wrote on The Huffington Post in 2015 that millennials “are not moved by flashy ads, big promises, and ‘wow’ factor… They want to know we’re dealing with real humans, not faceless corporations.” Companies should be transparent, relevant, and care.
Transparency means that millennials expect more insight into a product. A recent study by Label Insight revealed that millennials wanted more than a product label. They wanted detailed data on where you source your materials, how you manufacture the product, and the values that guide your production process.
Relevant products align with their needs and goals. Companies must explain why their product is unique, and how that product will fulfill a customer’s needs. And millennials want to feel that companies care about them, and not just their wallet.
Millennials also want to feel that companies care about the greater good of the world. The Elite Daily survey found that 75% of millennials expected brands to give back to society. A perfect example is Warby Parker, the online eyeglass company that disrupted the brick & mortar market. For every pair of eyeglasses that are purchased, they distribute one pair to someone in need.
But you have to find a balance. As you target millennials, you can’t forget the other generations that are in your target audience. In 2014, Marriott Hotels rolled out a “hotel room of the future,” which included replacing desks with a small, movable surface. They touted that millennials didn’t need a desk because they had laptops and tablets. But road warriors from all generations were very upset. Dan Wetzel, a Yahoo Sports columnist, wrote, “Marriott was telling me that my preferred manner of working was wrong.” A prominent website about travel, FlyerTalk, had a 23 page message board post about Marriott’s decision. One poster complained, “I’m in my fifties… I don’t work on my computer cross legged in the bed.” By 2016, the desks were back.
Millennials are very savvy about information and their needs. Reach out to them and address their needs. You’ll find a loyal partner in co-creation and spreading the word.
About the Author
Wendy Eichenbaum has been a UX professional since the early-1990’s. She began her career as a technical writer. She then earned a Master of Arts in Professional Writing at Carnegie Mellon University, studying both writing and UI design. Over the years, she has worked across verticals, from start-ups to multi-national firms, in many areas of UX including research & strategy, Information Architecture, usability testing, and focus groups. She started her own UX consulting firm in 2008, Ucentric Design. And she is an adjunct professor at Cal State University, Fullerton. There she teaches a class that she created, User-Centered Design for Web and Mobile Interfaces.