The SCORE Column: Businesses needn't struggle with marketing to millenials

Pasco-Hernando Chapter of SCORE
Published:   |   Updated: August 30, 2013 at 11:01 AM

When it comes to marketing to Millennial consumers. Some companies find themselves scratching their heads.

They are not alone. Winning the loyalty of Millennials can seem hard — if not impossible — for many brands these days. But can you really blame them? After all, this generation has been dealt a difficult hand with the recent economic downturn forcing many to get real about consumption habits. Indeed, a recent report found that while 43 percent of Millennials prefer to shop the brands they grew up with, 56 percent are willing to switch brands in favor of a good deal, even in the form of a cents-off coupon. On top of that, 63 percent have purchased nonfavorite brands to take advantage of a sale or promotion.

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So is brand loyalty a thing of the past? It doesn't have to be with these three following tips:

The price has to be right: Given their affinity for a good bargain, Millennials say price is the most important factor when it comes to making a purchase decision. As a result, brands need to emphasize value. Put into practice, private-label programs are one effective way to build loyalty among members of this consumer segment because these types of programs elevate the value profile of the retailer.

Reward them: Studies have found that Millennials place a high degree of importance on being a success in life, so achieving status in a rewards program is also extremely desirable for them. Millennials are more likely than other generations to take part in customer loyalty programs, especially when there is a giveaway involved. They are much more likely to tell their peers about the program thru social media.

Support a good cause: When it comes to building loyalty among Millennial consumers, tap into their desire to make a difference in the world.

You don't have to look far to find a study that highlights just how much this generation wants to make a positive impact. Indeed, Millennials express an overwhelming interest in making a difference and supporting companies that do the same, with almost half of Millennial respondents in one survey saying they're more likely to buy a brand they know supports a cause.

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The bottom line when it comes to marketing to Millennials? They don't have to be an enigma. Millennials are not a homogenous group. Spend time getting to know them, understand which segments are most important to your brand and then go out and engage with them on their terms.

If you have an existing business or are planning a new business, the Pasco-Hernando Chapter of SCORE is here to help you. We offer free small business mentoring and free seminars throughout the year at local libraries. Visit our chapter website for the seminar schedule and to request mentoring.