Here to stay: The millennial marketplace. Part 2
The first entry in this two-part blog series addressed some key tenets of millennial marketing: moving from a singular focus on virality to more relevant, tailored content and strategy; taking seriously millennials’ emotional and personal investments in what they purchase and advocate for; individualizing customers experiences to appeal to and continuously engage the diverse groups that constitute this powerful generation segment.
This blog dives into the new channels that demand attention and highlights the importance of seamless customer journeys.
Enter the new channels
Today, simply having a social media strategy may not be enough. New channels continue to emerge and grow, and millennials have been gobbling them up, leading to new ways of communication among their peers.
Snapchat, Instagram Live, and ephemeral content
Millennials show a predilection for channels like Snapchat and Instagram perhaps because of their ephemeral content—short-lived, often video content that disappears after its allowed duration. Less time-consuming than live streaming and more exclusive than regular updates, ephemeral content on Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and even Facebook Live feels more spontaneous and intimate, giving brands a chance to connect with a generation particularly attached to moments of “authenticity.”
Voice assistants are in. Customers enjoy the convenience voice technology brings to their lives, freeing them to take on other demanding tasks. Voice technology extends brand-to-customer conversations beyond the store and screens, engaging consumers as they move. With the right AI technology, brands will be able not only to process natural language searches with total accuracy, but also to take full advantage of the customer intelligence that voice assistants gather from every conversation.
But there’s more at play here than just content. As millennials form their families and begin to have children—as many already have—brands should also ensure they have all the necessary privacy and security measures in place which has become an urgent compliance issue for many as stringent data regulations are implemented across the world.
- Augmented reality
Snapchat, Samsung, Apple, Facebook, and many others are jumping on the AR wagon. Brands should consider seriously how this might impact their customer interactions and engagement. AR technology is changing what is possible in digital marketing, and brands are challenged to think about content creatively, considering whole new dimensions of communication. How can they individualize these already interactive experiences? Can they leverage them, for example, to bridge the online/offline divide and redefine the physical store experience?
- QR codes
Before shrugging off QR codes, as many US-centric brands are prone to do, look across the Pacific. Those humble, almost ancient-seeming patches of patterns have pervaded everyday life in China, simplifying and elevating communications, purchases, and customer engagement for high-end businesses and street stalls alike. There’s evidence to indicate, they’re going to become more pervasive elsewhere. Witness, Samsung’s decision to embed a QR code reader in its newest smartphone releases and what Instagram has been doing with them for some time.
While partly attributable to Wechat’s practical dominance of the Chinese market, QR codes’ ubiquitous presence can certainly happen elsewhere too. It’s an affordable, intuitive way to add twists and delightful new dimensions to customer interactions. For instance, placed next to product information, a QR code can be a great way to help customers learn more about your new product lines and to invite them to interact with accompanying campaign content, creating opportunities to capture additional audience insights and to drive cross-sell and upsell.
Go omnichannel for the win
Emergent channels signal profitable opportunities, but it’s important to approach them as potential additions to an existing, organic customer journey rather than a separate or parallel track. Millennials practically live in the internet, their daily rhythms inextricable from their devices.
They constantly shuffle between work and play, a habit made possible by technology. It’s not just that they expect to see the same items in their shopping cart, whether on a browser or hours later on an app, they want seamless, continuously evolving experiences as they chart their paths across channels.
Instead of gimmicky live streams and Instagram updates, gather intelligence on your millennial consumers—their tastes, concerns, digital behavior, purchase patterns, and channel/device propensities—so that you can move past isolated. Instead, each experience should be impactful exchanges that are contextualized by past and real-time data and inform subsequent interactions in other channels.
Secure the right automation solutions. You’ll first need a strong data foundation to consolidate your data sources and to offer reliable predictions and recommendations. Ensure you possess both omnichannel campaign orchestration and a real-time rules engine. They will help you bridge offline and online touchpoints, fusing data, events, and triggers to calibrate your responses in real time to maximize impact. Every aspect of your digital assets—from webpages and social conversations to URLs—should be optimized to help refine the individual millennial consumer’s journey. However exhaustive your planning may seem, millennials never fail to surprise.