Free samples, flashing billboards, Facebook campaigns and aggressive sales associates are just background noise to Millennials. Raised on DVRs, ad-blockers and opt-outs, these digital natives are experts in tuning out marketing messages they don’t want to receive.
However, Millennials do enjoy a good Shopper Moment.
Their desire for connection and authenticity has pushed retailers to raise the bar for experiential marketing. The concept of the retail experience has evolved into the more emotional, more satisfying Moment. By creating a non-interruptive brand interaction, and presenting it to Millennials on their home turf, retailers can interact with this generation in a way that truly resonates.
Creating a Shopper Moment for the Millennial has specific challenges. Their worldview is such that retail brands must speak and act in ways they deem thoughtful and honest. They’re happy – eager, even – to “do” something with a brand they love. It just has to be on their terms.
Here are four directives to keep in mind when creating a Shopper Moment for the Millennial:
Tell the truth.
Honesty is always the best policy, particularly when connecting with Millennials. For one thing, they’re the most educated generation of consumers we’ve ever seen. Misrepresent a product or brand, and they’ll either know it immediately or do their research to find the truth.
This means the brand ambassadors interacting at in-store or pop-up events must know the brand and product intimately and personally. They should tell first-person stories with authenticity and passion.
Showcase corporate citizenship.
This is a generation that has grown up knowing that it’s cool to care about the planet and believing that “giving back” is a must. They demand the same from the brands they consume. Millennials will support retailers that communicate an established environmental platform or donate proceeds to a nonprofit (your brand does, right?). Integrate evidence of good corporate citizenship into the Millennial Shopper Moment.
Leverage those activities to actually engage Millennials. Enabling shoppers to do something for the greater good is a smart way to get them involved—and show off the brand’s community-mindedness.
Another reason the whole truth matters is that sharing – whether in person or through social media – is one of the defining aspects of the Millennial experience. There can be great buzz and word-of-mouth around an honest, meaningful Moment. A false interaction will spread even more quickly.
Engineer instant gratification.
Because Millennials demand transparency, it is critical to build opportunity for instant gratification into the Moment. Generally, offer sweepstakes entries in exchange for shoppers’ contact and demographic info. But often, the prize giveaway doesn’t actually take place until weeks or months later – at the end of the tour or the season.
Marketers are asking shoppers to take it on faith that somewhere, some time, someone ultimately receives the big prize. But that doesn’t fly with Millennials, who want to see with their own eyes that, yes, that grand prize actually made it into the hands of a real person.
Facilitate meaningful participation.
The beauty of experiential marketing is that it creates a platform for real engagement. But one must go a step further with Millennials. Use live marketing to deliver Moments that advance their interests or career goals. Some savvy brands build in opportunities for Millennials to join their team as brand ambassadors. (Who better to talk up the product?)
Or bring brand supporters to company headquarters or a retail location and invite them to share their insights on how your product or your marketing could be made more relatable to their peers. College-age Millennials, especially, are hungry for that kind of experience, and it can be a valuable resume-building opportunity if it’s positioned the right way.