Perhaps no generation has been as scrutinized by marketing professionals as millennials. It seems that every day, there’s a new article about how they’ve fundamentally changed some industry or another with their unconventional behavior and unpredictable buying trends. It’s not unusual to hear observers talk about millennials as if they were an alien species from another planet. Behind all the histrionics, of course, it is normal humans who comprise the millennial generation. They may have some unique quirks that they don’t share with their parents or grandparents, but they will and do respond to many of the same motivators.
For example, loyalty programs are very popular with millennials. The idea of earning rewards and creating value by remaining loyal to a brand is one with a lot of appeal. However, getting the most out of these consumers means tweaking the formula to engage with their unique characteristics. Rather than simply offering a “buy 10, get one free” approach, businesses must tap into what makes these young people tick. Appealing to their sense of community by partnering with a charitable organization is one example.
To reach millennials, businesses must design loyalty programs that appeal specifically to the group. Here are some tips to accomplish that.
Include a User-Generated Content Component
Allowing customers to share content on social media and connecting this action to a points system encourages them to earn rewards while spreading awareness of your brand online.
Enable Two-Way Communication
Marketing is no longer a one-way street. You must be open to feedback from your loyalty program’s members and make it easy for them to share it. Include a link or a comment section in your emails or on your app.
Emphasize Visual Information
Because millennials process information much faster than previous generations, they want you to cut right to the point. Do that by using visuals as much as possible. Use high-quality photos of your products whenever you can.
The younger generation likes to define itself through the brands it uses. That means the image your brand projects is a huge part of attracting millennials. Make sure your reward program reflects the identity that makes you a favorite among your customers.
Base Your Rewards on Status
Structuring your rewards in tiers plays into millennials’ love of games and achievements. When they can “level up” the same way they can in a video game, they’ll be more motivated to participate.
Explain It Clearly
Because millennials have so many choices, they won’t have the patience for a program that doesn’t make sense to them. Include an explainer page where the details of your system are laid out clearly for all to understand.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Millennials spend a lot of time checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds, so be sure you have a presence there. Offer a reward for following your brand on these platforms and you’ll benefit from increased exposure.
Use Experiences as Incentives
Discounts are appreciated, but today’s young people aren’t motivated entirely by money. Offering rewards that take the form of experiences such as games or downloadable content engages with them on another level.
Partner With a Charitable Cause
Members of this generation are more community-minded, and they seek ways to make a positive impact on the world around them. Harness that impulse by partnering with nonprofits or charities, perhaps by tying incentives to contributions.
Make It Easy to Participate
Offering millennial customers convenience is a key way to engage them. For example, a key ring tag they can scan at the point of sale to activate their reward will make it simpler to be involved.
Corey Savage is Director of Operations for Suncoast Identification Solutions, a leader in plastic card printing and manufacturing. Savage has seven years of experience in the industry and focuses on designing menus to lead to the most profitable items.