Trend Watch

What Millennials Want: 4 Simple Keys for Brands

January, 2016 · By Deborah Fiorentino

America’s 80 million millennials represent some $200 billion in annual buying power, making it vitally important for businesses of all sizes to market their products and services to this demographic. If you’re one of the many entrepreneurs who feel stumped when it comes to connecting with the millennial buyer, don’t despair. Instead, take some to time to explore the patterns and trends driving the buying behavior of this group.

What Drives the Millennial Buyer?

Many of millennials buying habits vary greatly from those of Generation Y shoppers. The following four attributes are among the biggest differences millennials exhibit:

1. Intentional with Buying Decisions

Today’s young adults are overwhelmingly earning less money than their parents did for the same work, which has made millennials more intentional about their buying choices. For many hospitality businesses, catering to millennials means taking steps to ensure products are environmentally-friendly and produced in accordance with fair trade practices. With greater competition in a globalized marketplace, small business owners need to be incredibly specific with their marketing message.

2. Not “Black and White” Thinkers

According to recent research, 50% of millennials self-identify as “foodies,” but many of these food aficionados are still attracted by the low prices and decadence of fast food eateries. Unlike the baby boomers, millennials are more flexible in their buying choices. They want to save the planet and make a difference in their local communities, while simultaneously embracing spontaneity and following their whims.

Feel confused? So do many marketing experts—the key to connecting with marketers is treating nothing as sacred. Instead, be open to experimentation and tweaking your brand values.

3. Focused on Technology

Nearly three-fourths of millennials use the web to make buying decisions, and their fascination with the internet doesn’t stop there. Young consumers are redefining many aspects of the hospitality industry, as they prioritize features like online checkins and paying tabs via their mobile devices. Millennials are also vocal about sharing their opinions on review sites, in turn impacting the decisions of others.

4. Interested in “Unique” Experiences

Whereas yesteryear’s buyers were happy to go with the flow and follow the overall shopping trends of their peers, millennials are increasingly looking for the unique, out-of-the-box experience. For hoteliers and restaurateurs, it’s imperative to change the traditional marketing message. Millennial buyers are driven by a desire to see something outside the norm. Curating specific experiences and giving these consumers the opportunity to do something their friends haven’t had the chance to do is an important principle for marketers to embrace.

Like it or not, millennials are here to stay. Understanding the unique challenges that these buyers represent is a beneficial tool that will help your business better reach such consumers. If you’re eager to keep your business on the right track, continue to monitor the habits of the millennial buyer. This will allow you to better craft the right marketing strategy for your brand.

Every Business is an Online Business!

January, 2016 · By Deborah Fiorentino

Small business owners often overlook the need for a dynamic business website. According to research conducted for GoDaddy this past summer, 59% of small businesses still don’t have a dedicated website. Survey respondents provided a number of different reasons for this trend, with 35% of participants citing their small size for their lack of a web presence. Unfortunately, these businesses are missing out on a myriad of benefits, while simultaneously jeopardizing their financial health.

Why Do I Need a Website?

In 2016, every business is an online business. The internet is not only a tool for retailers who provide services to clients via the web. Instead, it’s a vitally important resource for connecting real-world businesses with customers. If you’re still on the fence about building a web presence, consider the following invaluable benefits an effective business website provides:

1. Your Website is a 24/7 Salesman

Think of your website as the best salesperson on your team. Unlike human staffers, websites never take a break or clock off for the day. A professional website allows consumers to learn more about your business and the services and products you offer. Best of all, this advertising is incredibly affordable. Unlike traditional ad campaigns, you won’t fork over thousands of dollars to keep your website performing optimally.

2. Websites Increase Your Visibility

How many customers are you losing to competitors who market themselves effectively online? According to a Google study, a full 50% of consumers conducting mobile local searches visit a business in person within 24 hours. Buying habits have shifted in the 21st century, with customers turning to the internet to make informed decisions about which local businesses to patronize.

3. A Professional Site Boosts Customer Engagement

Any business owner can recognize the importance of fostering customer loyalty. Your best customers will repeatedly visit your business and recommend you to others. Building a web presence is a powerful tool for customer engagement, as it allows you to foster relationships with your existing customer base outside of physical interactions.

Whether you choose to build a targeted email list, promote new products or sales, or simply keep your customers abreast of changes in your business, your website allows you to make a powerful impact. Generating interesting content also gives your loyal buyers something they can share with others via social media, further contributing to your online clout.

If you’re eager to invest in the future of your business, stop thinking about in terms of “online” and “offline.” 84% of Americans use the internet, while a further 65% use a smartphone. The internet is a ubiquitous resource that nearly all consumers are already using to make buying decisions. By refusing to embrace the power of the web for your small business, you’re only driving would-be customers away and endangering your livelihood.