For more than a decade, marketers have fretted over winning the notoriously fickle Millennial Generation. This is especially true in Asia where 59% of all millennials reside– meaning more than half of the millennial population is in Asia! Known as the first digitally native generation, Millennials—now 26-40 years old—have stumped marketers with their lack of brand loyalty and priority on experiences over status. While marketers still work to crack the millennial code, they also need to keep Gen Z in mind. This young generation, ranging from 5-25 years old, is gaining buying power and cementing brand preferences.
According to the Economic Development Board (EDB)of Singapore, Southeast Asia is a crucial subregion, with millennials and Generation Z (the next generation of consumers) accounting for 75% of ASEAN customers by 2030. Southeast Asia’s markets have reached a tipping point, presenting significant development potential for businesses, as long-term consumption growth converges with increased digitalisation.
So, what does that mean for marketers? Good news—it is possible to win the loyalty and business of millennials.
“Millennials are always looking for an interesting new experience, something different every few weeks,” says Chris Taylor, Ph.D, associate professor at the University of Houston. But unlike other generations who develop brand loyalty early and stick with it, “They’re the generation that buys the ‘mixed six-pack,’ which is a package of six different brands of beer. They don’t buy the same food over and over. They don’t care about car brands.”
What this means is that brands need to focus on making a connection with Millennials rather than trying to sell them products and services in the traditional sense. And to make a connection, you’ll need to gain a deeper understanding of them as individuals. Here is what we suggest.
Focus on the Millennial customer experience.
Harris Group reports 72% of Millennials would prefer an experience over a material item. (See—who are you calling materialistic?) Regular attendees of music festivals, concerts, trade shows and sporting events, Millennials also frequent malls and local attractions—always on the lookout for the next new thing.
With this in mind, it pays to make sure your product or service enjoys a presence in these physical environments so you can capture Millennials’ attention, sharing your brand in a context they seek out and enjoy.
Invite your customers to participate in the experience.
To attract Millennials, start by creating content or an experience consumers will want to share on social media. After all, this is a generation that grew up posting and liking photos and videos online.
Many companies now create hashtags along with every campaign, inviting customers to share and participate. To think beyond the hashtag, companies really win by going a step further and creating an immersive experience, like a pop-up shop or an experiential booth for a trade show. After all, Millennials don’t want to be marketed to; they want to participate in the brand relationship.
3. Be authentic to capture Millennial customer loyalty—and everyone else’s too.
It may seem counterintuitive to say that Millennials crave authenticity when we’re talking about a cohort of individuals who reportedly take an average of at least 6 selfies a day, but one of the first things you should know about Millennials is that they’re complicated.
So it’s true: they crave authenticity. Millennials are attracted to honest and transparent brands that connect person-to-person with them.
Align your brand with relevant social causes.
In the eyes of Millennials, your brand should stand for something. This is a generation of individuals who reward businesses who are socially responsible. Showcasing that aspect of your business and your values can often help win their attention.
Much of a company’s success is attributed to its ability to turn a product into a movement, positioning itself as helping consumers’ innate desire to do good by rooting its products into the idea of helping.
Optimize the brand experience for mobile devices.
Millennials love their mobile devices (don’t we all), and they rely on them to navigate through life, including searching and buying products and services online. According to GSMA’s Mobile Economy report 64% of APAC residents are already smartphone users. This number is set to rise up to 80% by 2025 which would result in billions of internet-capable users in this region alone. So making your website mobile-first is a move that will benefit consumers of all ages. The platform you use for engagement should also be catered to the audience you intend to reach. For example in South East Asia, Instagram is the most popular media channel, followed by Twitter and YouTube according to Meltwater’s 2019 report,
If you haven’t translated your digital experience to mobile, start with these key items:
- Reduce the website load time.
- Offer a touch-friendly user interface.
- Use larger fonts and button sizes.
- Compress and minify images, style sheets and Java scripts.
- Use shorter titles and headlines.
- Streamline navigation so key information is easy to find.
- Send mobile-friendly email.
- Use mobile pay platforms.
- Optimize purchase and checkout for mobile.
Get to know your customers—as individuals—and personalize customer experiences to entice them.
Data drives growth. But it also drives a real understanding of your customers. To succeed with Millennials, your company will need to focus on meeting their needs and solving their problems in innovative ways.
Every day, customers all over the world make purchase decisions—and every day, marketers strive to understand which factors impact those decisions most. With the right data delivered at the right time, you can reimagine the customer journey, accessing insights that inform your strategy.
Data plays a critical role in giving a sales and marketing teams the information they need to more accurately understand the customer journey, including shoppers’ relative readiness to purchase a new release.
Hyper-connected, socially informed and knowledge-driven, Millennials and Gen Z are deeply suspicious of being sold to. What they are looking for is conversation. They are eager to engage. They want to participate. It needs to be a two-way interaction. If you can adapt accordingly—and invest in creating relevant experiences for consumers—you will succeed in winning their approval and their business.
This article was contributed by Tom Treanor, CMO of Treasure Data
About the author
As the CMO at Treasure Data and Editor-in-chief of CDP.com, Tom Treanor drives the marketing strategy and execution for Treasure Data’s CDP (Customer Data Platform) solution, including ramping demand generation and growing brand awareness. Previously he helped define the product roadmap for Alexa Internet’s SaaS marketing, SEO and analytics tools. Before that, he was the Director of Marketing for Wrike, a leading project management and collaboration software solution. He has prior experience in high tech and consulting with HP, PwC Consulting, Booz Allen, Meltwater and Sony Electronics.