Millennials work as teams, not individuals: Mooney at Shop.org

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NEW YORK - Millennials, or individuals between the ages of 8-24, are an important group to reach with your marketing campaign, according to the "The Digital Millennials: RU Ready" keynote speaker Oct. 11 at the Shop.org annual summit for online retailers.

But before marketing to this group it is important that marketers know their role and how to market to them, said Kelly Mooney, president and chief experience officer of Resource Interactive, Columbus, OH.

"Millennials are Internet savvy and have truly changed shopping," Ms. Mooney told the audience of e-commerce executives. "They spend an average 10 hours online per week."

Ms. Mooney, who authored "The Ten Demandments," said millennials are a good group to target online because they are big in number. There are approximately 100 million of them and their spending power is estimated at $200 billion.

Resource Interactive recently conducted a study on 72 millennials over a period of eight weeks. The results are worth noting. So what do millennials spend their money on?

Clothing and apparel is their top priority and they influence one another on what's in and what's out. Eighty-one percent said that they influence the buying of clothing and apparel in their homes, and 77 percent stated they influence grocery shopping in their homes in terms of what is bought.

"Another thing that is important to remember is that any offline purchasing is influenced by online," Ms. Mooney said. "Sixty-five percent purchase online, spending at least $150 to $250 per year in purchases via Internet."

Shipping issues

A barrier that marketers face when targeting this group online is that 42 percent do not want to pay for shipping.

Ms. Mooney mentioned that denim giant Levi Strauss has found way to get around that. Levi's gives consumers an option.

So, once all the relevant purchase information has been filled out and submitted, Levi's then gives the consumer a choice. The consumer can create an ad for what was just purchased, forward it to three friends and therefore receive free shipping. Or, if the consumer opts out, the shipping must be paid.

"This group is all about being a team, unlike our time when it was all about individuality," Ms. Mooney said. "These kids want to be unique, but they don't necessarily take standing out from the crowd as a good thing."

Their greatest characteristic is the fact that they value each other's opinions. And they are perpetually connected. In fact, most of them will not make a purchase unless they consult with their peers beforehand.

Millennials have very different means for communication like cell phones, text messaging, instant messaging and the fairly new social networking sites. It is important for marketers to use these as tools to be able to better reach this group, Ms. Mooney said.

Keep it real

When asked what marketers should keep in mind when marketing to this generation, millennials came up with a list. First, keep it real. They are very big on authenticity. Hear me out was the next recommendation. It's not only about listening. It is involvement, too.

Also, be original or don't be. They are tired of seeing the same old ads out there and are looking for something that is really going to catch their attention.

The older parts of this generation, those between the ages of 18-24, are actually the ones with the most power to influence the rest. How do you know what they want?

Ask them. Seventy-six percent of this group wants to be asked their opinion about what they like and don't like.

"They will influence more people than you can imagine," Ms. Mooney said. "So show them what they want and you'll be just fine."

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