Are Millennials Still Hot Stuff? Understanding Emerging Consumer Audiences

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Marketing companies have been competing for the minds of millennials fiercely over the last few years – and for good reason.

Millennials represent about a quarter of the entire US population, and have over $200 billion in annual buying power. Though they have less discretionary income than Baby Boomers and older generations, they have a lot of influence – and are hard to reach with traditional marketing methods.

But are millennials still the hottest consumers out there? Or should we be focusing our efforts on a new generation of consumers? Here’s the scoop.

Millennials Are Still The Most Important Consumer Generation – For Now

Millennials are defined as individuals who were between 18-34 in 2015 by the Pew Research Center. They are just now entering the prime of their lives as consumers.

As millennials age, their income continues to grow as a generation. Most millennials are now out of college and working in professional careers, and millennials are the most educated generation to date.

This means that the buying power of millennials is only going to grow in future years, as they begin to start families and earn more discretionary income.

However, millennials will not stay at the top of the heap forever. As time goes on, Generation Z continues to grow – and a new generation of consumer is born.

Gen Z – The Largest Consumer Generation In History

Generation Z is defined as the “post-millennial” generation. While most definitions vary, it’s agreed that most Gen Z individuals were born around the year 2000 or later. This generation already makes up 25% of the population, and is forecasted to continue to grow.

As Gen Z becomes older, and younger people begin to enter the consumer market, they are likely to become the most highly sought-after consumer generation, just as millennials were before them.

Focus On Millennials In Marketing Efforts – But Don’t Forget About Gen Z!

How should brands market their products? Luckily, millennials and Gen Z both share a few common attributes. Consumers from both generations are tech-savvy and have quite a bit of influence on the market – and both Gen Z and millennial consumers do not respond well to traditional advertising methods.

While millennials should be the focus on most marketing efforts, Gen Z should not be overlooked. Brands should be using social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter to reach a younger audience, and should always be on the lookout for hot trends that could appeal to Gen Z consumers.

Conclusion

As time goes on, millennials will become less important as a consumer audience, and the importance of Gen Z will grow. So focus on millennials for now, but don’t forget about the younger generation.

The Head Down Revolution

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If you live in a major metro market, then you know what it’s like to walk down the street and see 90% of the people with their heads down buried in their phone. I was one of those people, until I found myself standing in the middle of the street in Manhattan writing a text and nearly getting hit by a taxi. From that point on, I made sure that I was always looking up. But I am definitely in the minority. And this post is not about the safety, or lack thereof, when it comes to texting. It’s about how marketers can capitalize on this Head Down Revolution.

According to Statista, the U.S. mobile phone penetration has reached 81%, representing 223 million consumers. And those consumers spend an average of 4.7 hours per day glued to their smartphones. More importantly, is the role that texting now plays in our everyday lives, especially when it comes to marketing. For an eye-opening example, texts have a 99% open rate compared to 20% for email*. Pretty amazing, huh? Now I imagine that smartphones are currently in the midst of fine tuning their hardware to introduce features that can block such correspondence. But who knows when that will come?

So until that day, marketers have a humongous opportunity to take advantage and focus their outbound efforts on the behaviors of the smartphone user. A behavior that is now second nature, and while receiving a text from a brand may seem like a nuisance at first, it is certainly less of one than an email. Also, if you’re sending info or content that isn’t selling, but more serving them something of value, then you’re more likely to be able to maintain that dialogue.

And isn’t a dialogue what we want? It opens the door, and leads to traffic. And when you have enough traffic, ultimately it will lead to transactions. It’s this approach to marketing, partnered with the aforementioned tactics, that can build the awareness and engagement you’re looking for.

Now how about a little “social experiment”: The next time you’re walking down the street, take note of how many people’s’ heads are down. It truly is a sight to see. Just think, those eyes could be engaged in your brands message. And if the message is “timed” to when your customer is in the market for a new product, it becomes relevant and timely — a very powerful combination.

*Credits: Jack Loechner — Editor of The Center for Media Research; SinglePoint; Statista

Headline vs Body Copy

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When we see an article, advertisement or even a movie title, our interest is typically based on the headline or body copy. A catchy headline can draw you in to want to experience the body copy, which is the general idea of marketing. This same principle also applies to how we profile the people we work with. Are you a person that just wants the high level facts? Or, are you more analytical and someone who wants all the details? Also a great tool to use for prospecting, and getting to “know” your audience before you engage them. (Psst, agencies, do this when meeting new clients… it will help you determine who you can connect with when in a room.)

It also very much the practice of how we engage with brands that are marketed to us. And as marketers, this is something we must always consider when strategizing around how to connect with our customers. While imperative to a comms strategy, keep in mind that this approach does vary by placement. For instance, at the point-of-sale, it’s all about the headline, a.k.a. an eye-catching design that visually lures you in. But, while a catchy headline may do the trick at retail, most online shoppers want the specifics before they hit ‘buy’. Therefore, body copy can make a world of difference between conversion and abandonment when it comes to digital commerce.

Nevertheless, it’s important to find a balance between the two. To understand the appropriate place to lean at the appropriate time. So, when you’re implementing your marketing communications strategy, think of it as if you were a boxer — determine which blow will have a stronger impact, head or body. It’s all the difference in determining whether you win the bout against your competition, or have to head back to training camp.

P.S.
Me, personally, I’m a headline. I like to get to the point within five seconds or less. So if we ever email, you’ll likely feel that in our exchange. However, this post is more for the body copy lovers out there. Hope you found it insightful and applicable. 

To Serve, or to Sell, that is the question.

As marketers, we are mostly programmed to SELL, SELL, SELL! However, in this day and age, it seems it’s more effective to serve. Recent studies (according to us) show that consumers are more interested in receiving information that will educate and enrich their lives. They want a story. Content. An experience. Something usable beyond just a “buy this now!” call-to-action.

To do this, we must think about our engagement strategy, and look for ways to immerse our audience in the brand, rather than simply sell it. We must tap into the emotional sensibilities, and bring their normal, everyday experience to life in a way that serves a bigger purpose — to create an unbreakable bond, that ultimately results in sales.

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Here are some ways this is being done…

  • Virtual Reality: Create a new world to experience your brand (Check out what Tom’s did)
  • Augmented Reality: Bring the retail experience to life wherever you are (See how the IKEA Catalog enables you to place furniture in your space before you buy it)
  • Bots: Brands becoming personal assistants (Casper gives you someone to talk to on those sleepless nights)

There are many partners out there specializing in these methods (Blippar, LSTNR, Moth+Flame). And if you want to proactively bring new, impactful ideas to your clients and consumers, we suggest you tap into them.

So don’t get stuck in the world of selling. It’s a one-dimensional way to drive engagement and conversions. Change your approach. Be multidimensional, it will serve you well.

What Sparks Our Fire: Taking the initiative to find new ways to turn simple ideas into ones that serve a bigger purpose.