According to a survey published by Edelman, the public relations firm, 74% of consumers in the millennial generation (those born 1980-1995) believe they can inspire the purchasing decisions of their peers, and 70% feel it’s their responsibility to give feedback about their experiences with brands and services. What’s more, 94% consult at least one outside source of information for guidance before making a brand-purchasing decision.
At first I scoffed at these findings. Really? As one of these highly desired millennials, do I actually believe I’m convincing my peers (all 20 followers on Twitter and my 250+ Facebook friends) that my brands should be their brands? My first thoughts went to my weekly supermarket excursions, where my purchases are dictated by the coupons I find – forget any kind of brand loyalty there.
But then I got to thinking that this study might have a point. A quick jaunt through my inbox shows emails from a dozen places asking for my opinions or reviews about a product or service I’ve just used – or why I’m not using it. In fact, when I went out one recent weekend to a new restaurant, the site I made the reservation through, the site I bought the restaurant gift certificate from and the restaurant itself all asked me to review the experience. And before I even made that night’s dinner reservation, I went to my favorite customer review sites to check out what others had to say about the place to ensure it was what I was looking for.
So maybe I do fit the stereotype more than I realize. If one of the companies I’ve liked on Facebook asks me to “like” or “share” something in return for the infinitesimal chance of winning something (An iPad! A Wii! A trip to Tahiti!), I usually do it. When I have a great experience, I tend to share it with my 250 millennial Facebook friends. And when I don’t, I share that too. I’m squarely sandwiched in the age range marketers are aching to attract via page views and ad campaigns.
So how do you get my (and my millennial friends’) love and devotion? Be aware of what we’re saying about your brand and your product. Engage both the brand ambassadors, who will preach the good news about your product from the mountaintops, and the complainers, who may have some valid concerns and highlight some blind spots heretofore unseen. And make your brand accessible via social media, whether it’s a craft that can be put on Pinterest, a funny photo someone can share on Facebook or a quick contest someone can enter via Twitter. I think you’ll see results as you win the millennials over.
And if you pick my entry for a contest, I promise to be your No. 1 fan.