How Small Businesses Can Attract Millennials—And Why They Must
December 11, 2018
By: Kelly Spors
The Millennials (those born between the early 1980s and mid 1990s) are set to become the largest living adult generation in 2019, stealing the thunder from the baby boomers.
Given the generation’s gigantic size and $200 billion spending power, millennials present a significant opportunity to small and midsize businesses––if they know how to engage them. That means understanding their background, priorities, behaviors and preferences. Here are three key insights about Millennial consumers and tips for engaging them:
They expect personalization
Millennials expect marketing that speaks directly to them on a personal level, tapping into their unique tastes and past behaviors. They’ve grown accustomed to targeted advertising that knows what products they’ve bought or searched for—and they expect companies to keep tabs on their preferences and choices. Small businesses may not have the data-mining and online tracking capabilities of a major retailer, but they can keep track of customers’ past purchases or preferences using customer relationship management (CRM) software. They can also use good old-fashioned customer service to personalize their customer experience. When sending email newsletters and promotions, it can help to let customers sign up for the types of information they want to receive—so the emails feel tailored.
They crave experiences
Millennials are very proficient online shoppers. But they also want social activities and experiences they can share photos and details about with their online social communities. SMBs can win over Millennials by creating events and other experiences that lead to what’s been dubbed as “FOMO”—fear of missing out. In fact, a Harris poll found that 72% of Millennials prefer to spend money on experiences over material objects. What does this mean? SMBs should consider ways to create real life experiences for their customers—such as hosting classes, parties, a charity drive or another special event. Every business is different, of course, so the experiences should relate to what the business does.
They want authenticity and purpose
Millennials don't just care about prices and products, but also the ethos and values behind the companies they’re supporting. This can be an advantage for an SMB that has developed a culture around, for example, social responsibility or environmental sustainability. Building a reputation for having great customer service and employee practices can help attract millennials, who often read online reviews before making purchases. In other words, SMBs should consider thinking about their culture and mission and how they share that information with their customers.
Companies that do a great job winning over millennials can be the winners of the future.
About the Author
Kelly Spors is a freelance writer and editor based in Minneapolis. She previously worked as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, covering small business and entrepreneurship.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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