By the end of 2016, millennials will be the largest demographic in the United States, outnumbering the baby-boomer generation for the first time ever. With that comes the extensive buying power of $1.3 trillion annually, according to a recent Forbes article. This annual revenue spend will continue to grow as millennials increase to over 50% of the workforce by 2025. Strategizing now how to reach, attract and retain more millennials will be a winning strategy for years to come.
But what are the best ways to reach this generation and what do they care about most?
1) It's All About Mobile
The millennial generation is the most tech-savvy group in the US with 85% owning smartphones. Being able to reach them on their mobile devices is essential. This can be accomplished on the most basic level by following a few simple steps, including: Making sure your landing page is optimized for mobile, that it is not too graphic-heavy, and that your call-to-action translates well to a small screen.
But it also means reaching millennials in the ways they prefer to communicate. Millennials don't like sending emails or talking on the phone. That's why after-the-fact forms of communication and feedback requests have such a low response rate. If you are not reaching millennials where they are when they are there, they will take their commentary someplace else.
2) Apps are out
This might come as quite the shock with seemingly every restaurant brand now paying up to create their own app in the hopes of building better loyalty with their customers. But in the last 3 years mobile web traffic has grown 2.5 times larger and 1.5 times faster than mobile apps. Even more surprising on average millennials only keep 20 apps on their phones. And 70% of app users use the same 200 apps out of over 2 million developed. So it is essential to find other ways to reach this generation besides asking them to download one additional app.
3) Customization is essential
Burger King’s slogan “have it your way,” are words to live by when trying to engage this growth demographic. This is one of the essential pillars that millennials care about. Chains like Chipotle and Blaze Pizza have capitalized on just that by allowing customers to build their pizza or their burrito down to every ingredient. But customization goes beyond food. Understanding a customer's buying behavior and patterns, and retargeting them based on those preferences is essential to building brand loyalty and increasing retention.
4) Go the distance
Customers love the special treatment that comes from one-on-one engagement. This is even more relevant when it comes in the wake of a negative experience. A recent study suggested that 95% of customers that have a negative experience with your brand would return if they felt that the company handled the issue quickly and rewardingly. But only 4% of customers who have a negative experience will vocalize it directly to an employee on site.
What that boils down to is the importance of creating opportunities for customers to feel like they can be heard and sending quick, tailored responses to ensure that the customer is satisfied. Customers want to voice their opinions through the safety of their phones. And they want recognition when they feel they were wronged. If you can capture that data internally instead of allowing it to end up on an open forum like Yelp then you can resolve the issue of guest's satisfaction-- often building a lifetime customer.
Although, all of this is possible, achieving tangible and measurable results requires focus and a game plan. Understanding how to tap into and harness the energy of millennials to grow and retain a loyal customer base is critical for any company looking for long-term success in the coming years. Following this roadmap will create numerous opportunities to reach this growing demographic, and allow your business to thrive.