Marketing in a Millennial’s World
Millennials are a force to be reckoned with. Accounting for a hefty sixty-four percent of the total population of Pakistan, the nation is witnessing its highest percentage of young people ever recorded in its history. They are a tough-minded, resilient generation who have had to work hard to get where they are and are well-aware of the marketing tactics and gimmicks, which makes them wary towards the various campaigns launched by brands. There is a new millennial shopper base at hand who does not mind spending to have the kind of lifestyle they desire. Rather, they have realized the need to start earning for themselves in order to be able to finance their needs.
All in one solution
From streaming music and video services to dining out, millennials who are busy balancing both personal and professional growth seek out products that make their lives easier. Rather than dealing with the hassle of handling various products – or traveling to numerous contact points in the case of services – the consumer base requires an all-in-one solution that features everything that they desire, while also serving the purpose of being budget friendly. The generation’s yearning for a complete package deal has paved a pathway for various other branches of retailing (online trading, mobile retailing, digital payment methods and mobile financial services) and given emergence to the phenomenon of omni-channel retailing. Incorporation of the concept of omni-channel retailing can be seen in many apparel brands in Pakistan, wherein they offer loyalty cards that add points upon every purchase made, provide stitching services not just in-store but online as well, and allow payments via credit/debit cards.
Reaching out to your audience
In this age of media explosion, it is now a huge feat to even capture a millennial’s attention, let alone expect brand recall from them. Millennials were found to have the lowest ad memorability, making it difficult for companies to captivate and woo them enough to fuel a purchase. Given their culture of multitasking, youngsters switch devices and platforms quickly and habitually, which has given rise to the phenomenon of cross-channel marketing, wherein companies have started to divide their ad spend across multiple relevant channels. Multi-channel content has a greater likelihood of generating exposure, helping to increase recall and brand perception. Various brands across the nation have added more novel touchpoints, aiming to surprise their audience and increase footfall. A great example of this is the ‘Little Zoo’ event held by the Emporium Mall, wherein caged animals were showcased in order to increase the flow of traffic to the mall and the corresponding stores in it.
The balance of power
The trust of your customers is not something to be taken with a grain of salt, for all it takes to cause your demise is one unsatisfied customer spreading their experience like wildfire. What fuels this fire is the increased use of and the conscious importance of social media. The power of social media and its elements is such that seemingly huge companies have suffered severe blows to their image – or even had to shut down operations in some cases – due to their negligence. A fairly recent example of this would be the boycott of Sana Safinaz by its customers, due to the racial imagery and depiction in its campaign shoot that was held in Africa. This did not just affect the perception and overall image of the brand but also impacted its sales, as awareness of what went awry with the photo-shoot was spread through social media posts and hashtags such as ‘#boycottSanaSafinaz’.
Lending a helping hand
In essence, marketers should understand and be aware of the fact that their biggest consumer base is not one to be fooled, but instead require to be reasoned with. With access to information more available than ever before, they have more ways to research and educate themselves on the products they’re interested in before they buy. Millennials like to have sound reasons behind their choices and are extremely careful when evaluating different alternatives. In order to reach this particular audience, it is essential that you serve them the tools that will not only subtly paint your product out to be their knight in shining armor, but also aid them in making informed decisions. A successful example of this is the world renowned beauty brand Huda Beauty, the brains behind which started off her career with frequent informative blog posts, sole reason of which was to educate her target market. After establishing a certain level of trust with her consumer base, Huda Kattan – the founder of Huda Beauty – launched her line of beauty products, educating her consumer base about the constituents of skin care products and coaching them through their path of beauty.
Weaving a web of stories
The challenge now does not lie in simply telling the audience that your brand is worth the purchase, but rather showing it in a way that entraps their attention. They do not want to read about your brand – they want to see it in a manner that gives them a flavor of the experience they will be promised. Findings of the various studies conducted by iris communications show that video advertisements have surfaced in popularity among the youth, as they are seen to be more convenient and easier to process in comparison to their written and printed counterparts. Brite’s campaign of ‘Har Dagh Key Peechay Ik Kahani Hoti Hai’ targeted the fairly fresh concept of working women while also incorporating traditional and cultural values and morals. The advertisement was a great balance of brand promise and a powerful story. However, a noteworthy observation would be that the market is no longer impressed by aesthetically and visually pleasing ads – they demand a spin of heartwarming and touching stories that will help them relate and connect to the brand better. Advertisements with stories revolving around social stigmas prevailing in the society were found to enrapture the audience’s hearts such that the brands did not just receive higher brand recall but also an increased respect and adoration for its efforts. In 2013, Coca Cola took a stand to ease the tensions between the people of Pakistan and India, by placing vending machines in different areas in both countries. Bystanders were then asked to ‘Make a friend in Pakistan/India’ and upon simultaneously placing their palms on the screen – divided by distance but united by the screens of the machines – and tracing a ‘peace’ sign, they all received a free bottle of Coke.
Millennials are people with a conscience; they feel responsible for the current state of the world, and wish to contribute towards its welfare in whatever way they can. With the time constraints that their busy schedules bring, they desire an all-in-one solution with respect to social causes as well. This means that the youth wants to know itself to be and be seen as one that is sowing the seeds for a better world. They do not just choose to spend on what brings them value, but are also inclined towards brands that give back to the society. Is it active in terms of social causes? Does it help make better the lives of the poor and underprivileged? Is it an honest and environmentally responsible brand? Adding on to the communication of the value of your product is your company’s efforts towards social and environmental causes. This incorporation is more useful than standalone promotions when it comes to increasing conversation rates. One of the companies that understood the importance of CSR activities and executed them perfectly was IDEAS; on Mother’s day, they visited an old age home and spread love and cheer to those that resided there, ending the evening by a giveaway of gifts. Another commendable example of a brand giving back to the society is the contribution of the apparel brand Generation towards the enlightening of the population regarding issues of women empowerment, which it successfully did and continues to do via its well thought-out marketing campaigns.
The journey from the thought and efforts that go into your offering to the way you choose to translate and highlight it to your target audience is one filled with various pitfalls, but if you manage to accurately understand the needs and wants of the market, and link it to their moral and social values, the possibilities are endless.