Three essential tips for engaging Millennial and Gen Z customers
Millennials and Gen Z encompass the most digitally engaged demographic of consumers. Mobile, social, and digital platforms occupy the forefront of their personal lives, as well as their purchasing behavior.
Both generations expect brands to know them authentically and would rather engage with brands and products that recognize and reflect their personal values. Orchestrating a seamless user journey across multiple channels and platforms is essential if your business aims to deliver the highly personalized experience these tech-savvy generations crave.
Big spenders today, bigger tomorrow
Millennials, born between 1980 and 1995, make up the largest population segment in the United States with 75.4 million consumers and growing. This powerhouse generation spends a whopping $200 billion annually and is expected to spend $10 trillion in their lifetime. Gen Z, generally born between 1996 and 2010, is the population still coming of age, yet their annual spending power is valued at $44 billion. By 2020, this generation will account for 40 percent of all U.S. consumers.
Here are three essential tips for engaging this lucrative demographic of digital natives.
Engage them across their favorite channels
Omnichannel engagement plays a vital role in Millennial and Gen Z purchasing behavior, particularly through mobile devices. A recent Facebook case study demonstrates the role of cross-channel platforming as the driving force of Millennial and Gen Zer’s engagement with retail and restaurants.
According to Cliff Graham, Client Partner at Facebook, 83 percent of Millennials and Gen Zers pick a dining location within three hours of a meal and 57 percent make the decision within an hour. This time frame, referred to as the “point of hunger,” is the most valuable opportunity for restaurants to gain visibility through mobile searches. Additionally, 60 percent of consumers solely rely on their mobile devices to select dining options.
Mobile plays an integral role in retail engagement as well. According to a recent Retail Dive Consumer Survey:
- Nearly 60 percent of shoppers look up product information and prices while using their mobile phones in stores, making a mobile strategy critical for retailers.
- More than 65 percent of consumers conduct online product research before stepping foot in a store, amplifying the need for retailers to optimize digital experiences.
- More than 55 percent of consumers visit stores before buying online, emphasizing the idea that high-touch physical and seamless omnichannel experiences are critical for modern retailing.
Consider utilizing promotions through text notifications, in-app notifications, email campaigns based on past purchases, timing, behavior, and loyalty status to reach mobile users. Facilitate more active mobile engagement by creating apps to deliver a continual flow of fresh, compelling content and information, such as detailed product descriptions, images, user-generated ratings and reviews, and personalized offers.
Additionally, optimize the value of cross-channel engagement with an omnichannel rules engine, one that will help prioritize relevant business rules and execute next best responses to facilitate, and maximize the value of, individual customer journeys.
Build personalized user experiences
The average Millennial or Gen Z consumer spends more than three hours per day on mobile apps alone, creating ample opportunity for marketers to gather and leverage data from various channels to target them better. And they love it! Gen Zers in particular crave a marketing experience that reflects a brand’s personal understanding of their interests, habits, and values.
According to an Accenture Interactive study, Millennial and Gen Z shoppers want brands to know their individual preferences and their ordering history, and most are willing to exchange their privacy for a more enhanced shopping experience.
According to IRI, thirty-eight percent of Gen Z kids think it’s “cool” to get ads or promotions in their social media feeds for products based on their interests and shopping habits. For Gen Zers, personalization is seen as a great way to discover new products and services. Brands can utilize more advanced audience segmentation to better define their Millennials and Gen Zers audiences.
However, accurately defining the Millennial and Gen Z audience bases specific to each brand doesn’t qualify as personalization. Brands need to be poised to identify every customer across touchpoints, enrich their profile across interactions to achieve a 360-degree audience view, and deliver an evolving individual journey that is ever relevant and delightful.
Reflect their values though cause marketing
Millennials and Gen Zers tend to express interest in brands that embody their ethical values. Words like sustainable, fair-trade, farm-to-table, and organic reflect their concern with a brand’s global impact.
According to Robert I. Tomei, president of Consumer and Shopper Marketing and Core Content Services for IRI, “Millennials and Gen Zers are deeply motivated by authenticity and a brand’s ‘emotional DNA,’ which we define as how completely a product or brand aligns with the values shoppers attribute to it. Because young shoppers rely on brand recognition to make purchase decisions, manufacturers and retailers must create transparent and authentic relationships to build loyalty as their purchasing power grows.” Cause marketing strategies cultivate a socially responsible identity and align your brand with the values of Millennials and Gen Zers.
Ensuring reach, engagement, and conversion among Millennials and Gen Zers requires a personal touch. Businesses must position themselves as “friends” while cultivating relationships based on individualization and familiarity with young consumers across devices, channels and platforms. With a combined annual spending power of roughly $244 billion, successful engagement with these generations is imperative for any business. Millennials and Gen Zers lead omnichannel lives, so offer them omnichannel engagement.