Today, Moosylvania launched a study that’s been in the works the past six months – “Is Your Strategy Showing? Truth, Justice and the Millennial Way.”
This group of digital natives is a key target for many of our clients. We wanted to know how Millennials adopt brands. What makes a brand their favorite? What media do they prefer to connect with brands?
We started the project by hiring a Ph.D. in research to develop a survey and execute a statistically significant 1,000-person panel across the country – with an evenly divided group of males/females, representing geographic diversity.
We evaluated the data to find out what resonates with this group. At the end of the day, I think we know them a little better. Yet, let me be the first to tell you – this is one elusive target market, so marketers need to learn as much as they can before investing in social media or cookie-cutter interactive marketing.
To initiate the survey, we first asked them how they view themselves. The questions included all sorts of assumptions. Are you environmentally conscious? Do you care about your community? Do you read a lot? Their responses were the reflection of 20 years of trophies and feel-good moments. The conclusion? They feel great about themselves and are very confident about everything in their line of sight.
Next, we asked them to write-in, unaided, their top three favorite brands. Out of a possible 3,000 responses, 620 were mentioned. The top ones reflect the badges that this generation wears – their technology, their clothing – anything that helps define themselves. Out of the top 58 brands with five or more mentions, we had 11 retailers mentioned and that includes Wal-Mart and Kroger. Our evaluation is that these retailers have worked hard to open up CRM channels and create value. Absent from the list was the entire beer category. What types of connectivity differentiate these 58 brands from Bud and MillerCoors, who together spend close to billion dollars a year on advertising?
We asked them how they like to relate to their favorites, and why they believe in them. What channels do they tune into to keep the connection open? We found Facebook, email and Twitter are all welcome connections – and the numbers show nearly half of these consumers are happy to engage. They freely accept brand messages from marketers in the same filter as ones from their peers. And, yes, brands can be peers – in fact, loyalty ranks high among this group once they find a product they love, with 44-percent “showing off” their purchases/brands to friends.
On a more personal level, we asked with whom they live and shop and how they make their purchasing decisions. The results revealed that 85-percent of those surveyed live with someone, either a significant other, roommate or a parent, which makes some sense since this age group is defined as 13-33. Yet, they are constantly seeking reassurance. For example, we learned that a basic check-in like “I’m posting my #OOTD (outfit of the day)” message to friends and family occurred 23.5 million times in the last six months.
When asked how they like to learn about brands, the study revealed that video resonates with Millennials across many product categories, and it’s changing our world. Brand How-To’s and video reviews rank high with this generation. It makes sense though – video delivery is easier and faster than ever. People want stories, and brands have the ability to create them. The execution/quality filter is the same as the friend filter: the connection is more important than the sizzle.
Getting more granular, we compared product categories. We discovered each has a different list of favorite connection media. As we extrapolated results, we found certain categories are noticeably underdeveloped and unsupported when it comes to making these connections. For example, Entertainment as a category has connection rates in the 60-percent range – probably because there’s so much great existing content. Consumer Products and Apparel categories also do extremely well, assuming they’ve done the work and they fit the badge parameters. At less than half were beer, wine and spirits on levels of connection. (This was measured against 23-33 year old respondents.)
As marketers, we need to do our research before executing any kind of a brand/product plan that includes marketing to Millennials. There is definitely a unique consumer out there looking for you. You just have to know how to make that connection stick.
Remember, Millennials grew up reading, thinking, evaluating, and discovering whatever they want online (especially reassurance) – and now walk around with it and check it 150 times a day on their phones. They have advanced (BS) filters instilled in them. Be honest, be authentic and follow through.
We believe the ultimate goal for our clients is to cross the fine line from marketing to friendship.
Let us know if you want to hear more about how this study impacts your business.