Top ten concerns around engaging the millennial customer

In Featured on App, Loyalty & CRM by Oliver Arscott

Millennials, Generation Y, Engagement, Top 10, Social

At this year's Loyalty World the engagement of millennials is one of the central themes. Take a moment to register here for FREE to attend the exhibition and the on-floor seminar theatre. Can you afford to miss out?

Millennials are an interesting bunch. As a self-appointed spokesman for those who grew up with the internet, I'd like to share some observations around who we are and what we expect from the businesses with whom we interact.

  1. We always sit at the cutting edge of technology adoption. It takes us less time than any other demographic group to get to grips with and push the capabilities of a new product innovation. Brands need to be able to quickly understand how the latest devices are being used and adapt how they are engaging based on that knowledge.
  2. We are active as opposed to passive. Brands can no longer expect to be able to flog their product or service to a passive marketplace. Millennials expect active engagement to be a critical part of any buying process, whether that be through personalised interaction or innovative multi-channel advertising campaigns.
  3. We are aware of the choice in the marketplace. There has been a great deal written about this age of choice that we find ourselves in. Milliennials more than anyone have the inherent ability to seek out the best offering. The interesting news is that it is not the price alone that we make our decisions on, but instead a unique combination of value and experience. Drop the ball on either of these, either online or in-store, and your Gen-Y customers will go elsewhere.
  4. We have no scruples around showrooming. It's really worth reading the Aimia report on the fascinating showrooming trend. Facilitated by the massive growth in m-commerce, Millennials are more than happy to examine a product in-store before going to another business online to find it cheaper.
  5. We are highly, actively social. One of the major themes around Millennial behaviour is a drop-off of trust in major brands, matched by a rise in social commerce. It is going to be a phenomenally big challenge for businesses to stay relevant if they are unable to harness the persuasive power of social groups.
  6. We desire innovative and exciting rewards, not just points. I disagree with those who claim that reward schemes are dead. They are expensive and do require a good deal of work on infrastructure, but the returns if done well can be vast. What won't work heading forward are generic points schemes that don't provide personalised offers in return for data. We just aren't interested.
  7. We expect a personalised service. If a business cannot engage in a personal fashion then they are going to lose so much credibility in the marketplace. The massive opportunity offered by the Big Data trend is the ability to shape the message to the direct needs of the customer – rather than reverting to template and mass marketing. Millennials are willing to open up their data in return for an individualised service, and businesses need to jump on that.
  8. We expect speed and optimisation. The current batch of 18 year olds were born in 1994. They don't remember Windows 95. Many of them don't recognise the unmistakable ‘pi-dong pi-dong' sound of connecting to the internet via dial-up. They we're brought up in a world where speed was not an added extra but a basic expectation. If businesses cannot get their mobile site to load in under 5 seconds on 3G then there needs to be a redesign. If a return customer cannot get from basket to check-out within a minute, the whole system needs to be rethought. Speed matched with intuitiveness and great service really is everything.
  9. We exist across channels and expect consistent service however they interact. There seems to be a trend towards believing that being engaging, personal and conversational should be limited to social media only, whilst interaction via call-centre should be more formal and generic. This is so entirely wrong. Customers expect consistency of message and interaction. A jovial interaction on Twitter should be matched by a similar tone whatever channel the next contact is through. It again comes back to understanding us as individuals rather than generalising channels and the customers who use them.
  10. We are less appreciative of traditional static display advertising. In simple terms – this sort of thing is the future.

I think the important thing to note about all of the points below is that they are both concerns and huge opportunities. Me and my generation are just waiting to be engaged, businesses just need to catch-up.

At this year's Loyalty World the engagement of millennials is one of the central themes. Take a moment to register here for FREE to attend the exhibition and the on-floor seminar theatre. Can you afford to miss out?