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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.

West 54th Media Millennial Buyers