3 Ways Companies Can Harness the Power of Millennials in Today’s Digital World

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In a world projected to reach 2.77 billion social media users in 2019, brand image is everything. Not only do companies need to establish themselves as profitable and trustworthy, they need to go as far as assuming “personality” for their brand—all to make themselves more marketable on social media. Unsurprisingly, the target audience behind this movement is the generation known for their technological smarts and hard-to-please consumer reputation—Millennials.

From product reviews to influencer marketing, Millennials have the power to make or break a brand on social media. Similarly, Millennials have been deemed—fairly or not—as disloyal consumers, quickly switching brands based on instant gratification or whether the brand aligned with their moral and ethical values. Although winning over Millennials may seem daunting, companies have the opportunity to experience major growth if they are able to effectively cater toward this generation. Here are three ways in which brands can leverage the benefits of Millennial engagement.

Align with Millennial Values

Among the generations, Millennials have shown the biggest drive to actively consider company values when making a purchase. According to one study, moral and ethical values are top of mind for 7 in 10 Millennials when considering purchasing a product or service. These values include areas such as environmental responsibility, climate change awareness, and community service. Seeing as though millennials control about $2.5 trillion in spending power, companies need to make these values a priority too.

However, enforcing these values may not be feasible for all brands, as meeting Millennials’ demands will be both time-consuming and costly. Oftentimes, this transformation can spark the need to collect and analyze data, rethink manufacturing and production procedures, and sometimes even a full rebrand. Although companies will need to fully commit themselves to these kinds of ethical initiatives, the opportunities for success in attracting Millennials this way seem limitless.

Undoubtedly, the days of impersonal email blasts and badgering consumers with unrelated advertisements is over. Further, not only will Millennials give their loyalty for aligning with their values, they may even post about a specific product or brand, paving the way to completely organic marketing content.

Personalize the Customer Experience with Technology

A tailored approach is key when targeting Millennial consumers. Not only do millennials expect brands to understand and comply with their wants, they also demand a personalized customer experience. As Millennials’ demands grow louder, companies must adopt certain technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, in order to meet consumer wants and separate themselves from the competition, who may still be adhering to a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy.

AI and machine learning bring customer personalization to a whole new level. Through robust data analysis, these technologies are able to find patterns in consumer behavior, therefore enabling businesses to offer a more tailored marketing approach. Amazon is a prime example of a company that has done so successfully. By offering personalized product recommendations based on buying habits of their customers, they saw a 35 percent increase in revenue. AI and machine learning allow for this type of data assessment. 

In 2019, millennials are used to brands “getting” them—and they expect your brand to “get” them too.

Think Beyond the Point of Sale

For better or for worse, social media reviews hold a significant power among Millennials. A negative product review or comment can severely damage a business’s image. Frequently, supply chain problems are the cause of minor—yet potentially consequential—inconveniences such as late delivery. And as Millennials seek instant gratification, these seemingly small disruptions can prove to be more harmful than they appear. Therefore, companies need to make sure that their supply chain procedures are running efficiently to support demand and avoid those bad social media reviews.

Fortunately, there are solutions that promote an efficient supply chain. For example, specific networked solutions offer business executives a holistic view of their supply chain, including how assets are operating as well as how products are being made. Not only will this ensure proper supply chain operations, it will also tie into Millennials’ growing interest in sustainability and ethical manufacturing.

Final Thoughts

Harnessing millennials’ brand loyalty is certainly a challenge. However, they (and their social media platforms) are the advocates that can help to drive brands to the top in today’s crowded and competitive landscape. By implementing business practices that reflect their values, creating a customized, personal experience, and promoting a supply chain system that is both timely and ethical, business can engage with and benefit from the once “untappable” generation. Rewarding you with both their loyalty and marketing content, Millennials are the drivers of success for every brand in the digital world.

Erick Rowe is vice president of industry strategy at Infor Retail.

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