Attracting Millennial Brand Advocates Is Every Marketer’s Priority

By: Folke Lemaitre

March 4, 2014

generation z
social chorus

The digital revolution has had a noticeable impact on every aspect of the consumer purchasing decision process. Detailed information about products is so widely shared and easily accessible that we can now quickly sift through millions of online reviews for first-hand experiences and trustworthy advice and guidance.

Many consumers are increasingly distrustful of ads and, as a result, we are now constantly searching for the most reliable methods to make smarter purchases.

Who is leading this consumer behavior trend? It’s the millennials (Generation Z – born between 1980-2000), and according to a study conducted by Social Chorus, they are the biggest cohort that has ever existed – there are nearly 79 million millennials in the U.S. With this generation holding enormous purchasing power – estimated to be $170 billion per year and growing – brands need to pay attention.

Sooner than later, brands will have no choice but to shift their approach to accommodate the ways of the millennials. Below are a few areas to keep in mind, when trying to build a community of brand advocates from Generation Z:

1. Millennials Spend Their Money Frugally

Generation Z has grown up in a financial crisis; the state of the economy has significantly shaped their purchasing habits. This is especially true for those starting families. Although the millennial generation is renowned for spending money on popular brand names, a study done by Barkley advertising found this interesting fact:

Millennial parents tend to be more traditional and shop more frugally than their non-parent counterparts.

Brands who want to turn millennials into brand advocates need to keep in mind that a “bang for your buck” message will be something this generation of consumers will stand behind.

2. Millennials Are Tech-Savvy Mobile Addicts

With a smartphone in one hand and a tablet in the other, Generation Z is extremely reliant on technology for every aspect of life. Research in Comscore’s found that one in five millennials does all Internet browsing, emailing, Google searching, social networking and online news reading on a smartphone or tablet. Another interesting fact:

18% of 18-34 year-olds are mobile-only users. The best way to reach Millennials is through mobile.

In fact, according to Barkley, Millennials use their mobile device to complement the buying decision process, like researching products or services while shopping.  Brands need to put the power in the hands of Generation Z to make them mobile brand advocates.

3. Millennials Hate Blatant Advertising

Millennials hate and actively avoid traditional advertising. Marketers will need to drastically shift their approach to develop more targeted and engaging means of promoting their brand. Millennials will only advocate for products they truly love and trust, and to gain that trust, a brand needs to be more than just a billboard or online ad. It needs to offer incentives, such as special deals or trial periods for purchases, product reviews and recommendations. Millennials want their voices to be heard.

The way millennials lead their lives is already having a major impact on how we do business. If brands can leverage the power and positive effect that millennials can have, and shape them into brand advocates, they will see immense success in marketing strategies moving forward.