Here in AWG marketing, we’re no strangers to the concept of marketing to the millennial generation. We’ve been following and commenting on these trends for several years now along with the rest of the grocery industry. Recently, millennials were the key focus at this year’s National Grocers Association (NGA) Show. In fact, the NGA Show hosted a session titled Marketing to Millennial SHoppers and Beyond which had to turn away attendees because it was too full! This is a demographic age group that gets more attention with each passing year.
In last week’s Coffee with CART, Sterling and Schuyler Hawkins discussed the millennial trends and info shared at the NGA Show, along with several articles highlighting the millennial generation and their shopping habits. We all know that the millennial generation’s online habits have affected retail marketing (re: social media and online shopping). However, Sterling and Schuyler discussed more in-depth millennial trends beyond the technology.
For example, new data is showing that millennial shoppers will shop across multiple stores. Previous trends led us to believe that this generation didn’t have very much money to spend or that they weren’t spending a lot of money on groceries. It turns out that they simply weren’t spending all of their money at one grocery store. Supermarket News pointed out that they are a more cash-strapped generation, but they will “indulge themselves on things like craft beers, artisanal chocolate or exotic seasonings.”
This tendency to indulge illustrates one of the most important trends we’re seeing with the millennial generation: they care more about having personalized, meaningful experiences than buying a lot of “stuff.” Stephanie Steiner, sales director for Unified Grocers, Los Angeles, was quoted in Supermarket News as saying that millennials will “go back to a store where they had a fun interaction with [an employee] they liked.”
The draw to a more personalized experience affects the kind of marketing that will resonate with this generation. Cox Target Media researched how millennials interact with media and found that “marketing will be most effective with millennials if it’s personalized, useful, entertaining, and in some way unique or exclusive.”
And while there are differing opinions about whether or not the millennial generation is all that different from other generations, one thing is clear. Millennials are are now considered the largest generation at 83.1 million and they’re also the largest age demographic in the work force. This up and coming generation is changing the way we all do business and interact with customers. The important thing to remember is that it’s not enough to simply use technology to reach this generation. Technology, in and of itself, is not valuable. It’s how that technology is used to solve a human need.