What (Truly) Matters to Millennials

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A recent study reveals the things that millennials really care about—and what moves them to make a purchase.

Walmart seems to be intrinsically different than the other brands in the top five. Why do you feel that this retailer is connecting with such a young generation? 
Walmart has been on the list; it just moved up. We've looked at it carefully, and we believe it's the value proposition—the store helps them achieve their lifestyle. 

There are a couple of other reasons, too. First, we know that in-store experiences—maybe quick opportunity to make purchases—are helping. But also its Savings Catcher app is clearly targeted to the digitally savvy. Also, Walmart has the opportunity to build CRM into their communications stream which may also be helping. The more interesting caveat to this is that Walmart has been on the list twice and there were no beer brands mentioned in either study by consumers. To us, this is the most revealing contrast particularly since the two beer brands spend $1 billion in so-called one-way advertising.

Would marketers be more effective by creating a culture or cause that millennials can believe in—rather than trying to become friends?
Causes help for sure. Colgate jumped into the list, and they had a “Tweet a Smile” promo. For each smile tweet, Colgate would give to charity. It was original and seemed to resonate. There's no question that social responsibility helps—but it is only one part of the mix.

So, how can marketers show millennials that they care about the communities and neighborhoods of young adults?
Well, the simple answer is to ask them. Ultimately, the brands that show up on the list have two-way communication that is excelling, believable, and sincere.

Your team mentioned micro-targeting as a major player in relating to millennials. What is micro-targeting, and why might this be an effective strategy for brand marketers to consider?
We would look at micro-targeting as both segmentation, as well as personalization. We know from our April study that 40% of this audience will opt in for email. There's no more personalized connection than email—if you have a real conversation. Some brands have real personalities, and it comes across. Others think it's an in-store sign.

As this generation continues to mature, what might marketers need to look out for as they craft future campaigns?
One of the things we constantly talk about is thinking friendship over marketing. We know that millennials filter out marketing messages. So, marketers need to find their center, and be real. What do real friends do? We trust friends who listen to us, who are open and honest, who remember our names, who are consistent, and who are true to who they are.

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DMNotes is DMN's around-the-clock blog. Yes, a blog in 2016.

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