If you aren’t paying attention to the purchasing power of millennials, you should be. According to Forbes, millennials represent a fourth of the United States population and have $200 billion in annual buying power. With newfound power and an increase of disposable income, they are looking to vote with their wallets and support companies that meet their own moral standards. Also known as Generation Y, millennials want to know where a product is sourced from, whether it is produced with environmental and human labor standards, and a way to converse with management. Here are some ways to approach a millennial-friendly marketing strategy:
For physical products, such as food or beverages, the easiest way to draw a consumer’s attention is through packaging. A product's packaging tells the consumer a lot; it includes information about the company, health and nutrition facts, and is an extension of branding. For a customer that is interested in product's that minimize harm to the environment, like the millennial, a product's packaging is ground zero to show the company's commitment.
As an organization looking to attract millennials, it is essential to utilize packaging made from sustainable materials and printing that minimizes environmental harm. For example, Coca-Coca introduced their “PlantBottle” in 2015 in order to meet eco-conscious expectations. Partially made of plants and reducing their petroleum use, the PlantBottle was still recyclable and showed their commitment to sustainability. Other companies opt to focus on eco-friendly labeling. An example of this is the use of electron beam printing, which is very energy efficient and lacks volatile organic compounds. Whether you choose to use eco-conscious packaging or not, your target market will notice and their purchases will reflect that.
Ads Often Fall On Deaf Ears
According to a 2015 Forbes study, Generation Y could care less about what you advertise to them. The study states that only 1% surveyed would trust a brand more after seeing a compelling advertisement. With this in mind, the pressure builds for companies to have a great product that speaks for itself and doesn’t lean on advertising to convince the consumers.
While this doesn’t mean that you should relinquish all advertising initiatives towards millennials, it does mean that one should be careful in the way their message is crafted towards them. Millennials want authenticity, not smoke and mirrors. They would rather an organization be honest about their manufacturing methods than finding out that they were being bamboozled the whole time.
Safety and Trust
Although having safe products and packaging is a no-brainer, companies looking to take a shortcut sometimes skirt around this vital part of practicing responsible business. If you want to build a long-lasting relationship with a Generation Y consumer, your products and their packaging should meet any and all safety requires while aspiring for safer product developments. Once trust is lost with a millennial consumer, it may be impossible to get it back.
One way to ensure your product packaging is safe is to only use FDA approved packaging for direct contact with food and chemical resistant packaging. Electron beam use in packaging is one way to be confident that your packaging is safe for all and to maintain above-par manufacturing processes. Another way is to avoid packaging that contains a synthetic fungicide. Whatever your product is, there needs to be complete confidence in the safety of the packaging you are using to ensure you do not jeopardize your customer relationship.
Marketing to millennials can be a bear; they are finicky with where they spend their money and are very particular in their choices. With a product that adds value and an honest approach to business, you can appeal to them while distancing yourself from cloak and dagger tactics of companies of the past. Use eco-friendly packaging and safe products to build rapport, and from there you can solidify a lifelong customer through open communication channels.