Have you ever been at a restaurant and observed a group of people not speaking to one another because everyone was staring at their phones? The age group most likely to be "engaging" this way are people born between the years 1980 and 1996 - the Millennial generation.
There’s a lot of good news about Millennials for the skydiving industry (for example, they put experiential value ahead of ‘stuff’), but there's some bad news too: many of us haven't adjusted our marketing plan to capture the Millennial market. We've only just begun to dip our toes into the vast ocean of digital marketing which would enable us to meet Millennials where they are - online. Having a functional website and a Facebook page is no longer enough; to effectively reach this demographic, we need to be fully immersed in the channels they are using and understand why they use them.
Why You Need To Be Marketing To Millennials
Although skydiving caters to individuals between 16 (depending on your country) and 106, the number one target demographic for the skydiving industry is men and women between the ages of 25 and 34. Have a look at your Facebook Insights and you'll probably notice that the largest percentage of your fan base usually falls within this category. And this category fits squarely within the age range of the Millennial generation.
Love or hate their addiction to smartphones and tablets, there’s no denying that 18-34 year olds are an important segment, if not the MOST important segment of your customer base, and their influence is growing.
According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials will surpass Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in 2015. In the U.S., Millennials are responsible for an estimated 1.3 trillion dollars in annual spending. This number will only increase as more Millennials reach their peak income earning years over the next two decades.
The future success of your business will depend in large part on your ability to properly market your services to the Millennial generation. As digital natives, the way Millennials interact, view, and engage with the world around them is completely different from previous generations. Their preferences are different, their values are different, and their spending habits are very different.
Companies who want to effectively tap into this growing demographic are going to have to embrace a completely new marketing strategy that takes these differences into account. In a recent report, “How Millennials Are Changing the Face of Marketing Forever,” The Boston Consulting Group outlines the ideal marketing strategy for capturing the Millennial generation. They call it reciprocal marketing and describe it as follows:
“Instead of being a process that is led and pushed by companies, modern marketing is an ecosystem that is influenced by some factors that a company can control and some that are beyond its control. It is a system in which marketers, customers, and potential customers perpetually exchange experiences, reactions, emotions, and buzz.”
How To Create An Effective Reciprocal Marketing Campaign
1. Be WHERE Your Customers Are
To effectively reach Millennials, companies must be present online and offline; they must have a strong mobile presence.
According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 83% of Millennials now own a smartphone. Of those, 50% report that their preferred device for accessing the internet is their smartphone. This means many of your potential customers are accessing your website on a mobile device.
Have you visited your website on a smartphone or tablet lately? How does it look? Is it easy to read and navigate, or do you have to constantly pinch and expand to see the text?
Millennials are the instant gratification generation - If your website is not responsive (meaning it automatically adjusts to fit any size screen or device), chances are they won't be sticking around for long, and you won't be getting their business.
2. EMBODY What Your Customers Aspire to Be
Millennials are looking to connect with brands that reflect their values and project who they aspire to be. What do Millennials value? Luxury, adventure, excitement, travel, and authenticity – to name a few. They describe their generation as tech savvy, modern, risk taking, rebellious, smart and humorous.
If you want to strike a chord with Millennials, make sure that your company’s messaging, imagery and personality reflect what they value. This shouldn't be too difficult - what could be more adventurous, exciting, authentic, and rebellious than skydiving?
And there's more great news for our industry: a recent poll found that Millennials place a higher value on life experiences than on physical possessions. In fact Millennials’ spending habits are the driving force behind the new “experience economy.” 78% of Millennials said they would rather spend money on a memorable experience than on an object; 72% indicated that they would likely spend more money on experiences than physical things next year; and 72% reported suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out), a condition that is driving them to engage in more experiences so they can “keep up” (i.e. post pictures and status updates of their exciting life experiences) with their social networks.
3. ENGAGE with Your Customers to Build Trust
If you want to build customer loyalty among Millennials, you must engage with them. Millennials desire to interact and share their experiences and opinions with companies through social media. Research indicates that recognition is extremely important to Millennials so when you open up a dialogue make sure you are prompt to reply to customers who engage with you. Make them feel as if they have a personal relationship with your brand.
Millennials are overwhelmingly skeptical. Only 19% believe people can be trusted. This means a company has to work hard to gain and maintain their trust. Authentic engagement via social media is one of the best ways to do this. When you build loyalty with Millennials who have already used your services, you encourage them to share their opinion of your company with their friends. And because Millennials’ purchasing decisions are largely influenced by friends and family, making your current customers brand advocates will reassure their social circle that you are a trustworthy company to do business with.
Social Media - Quick Facts
52% of Millennials follow/like their favorite brands online via social media channels.
Facebook is still by far the most popular social media channel with Millennials, but more users are engaging with multiple platforms daily.
2014 Usage Statistics (18-29 years old)
Facebook = 87%
Twitter = 37%
Instagram = 53%