If there is one thing that can be said about the state of marketing in the Millennial age, it’s that it has become more challenging than ever. At any given time, up to 20 percent of a company’s loyal customers may ditch their tried-and-true brand to benefit from appealing introductory offers and cheaper prices presented by a competitor. While this wasn’t the case with previous generations, Generation Y, or Millennials, make up more than 26 percent of the population and account for well over 30 percent of its total Internet usage. A population of 80 million and counting, Millennials grew up with computers, cell phones, smartphones, and tablets, exposing them to a wealth of information and choices.
To reach the Millennial generation—a generation that no longer needs to visit a branch or hear a friendly recommendation to shift their brand loyalty—companies need to get personal. And to reach them on a personal level, you must capture their attention through provocative, highly engaging, and powerful communication. For a generation that prefers to watch visual content rather than read text, taking an integrated approach to include social networks, direct communication, and online and mobile channels is essential. Here are a few ways that companies can personally engage Millennials in the digital age and increase brand loyalty along the way.
1. Appeal to the Individual: The « Me Me Me Generation »
« Generation Me, » as the Millennials have been dubbed, is a generation that has no tolerance for noise. They won’t pay attention to irrelevant, spammy communication since they can easily locate what’s of interest to them. This is a generation that expects individualized and customized services to keep them engaged. Personalizing offers and tailoring communication efforts is crucial. Digital communication must make the customer feel that an organization knows them personally— knows their history, preferences, and needs. Services offered to them by a company should be complementary to the products and services they already have or are currently using. Companies must learn to track and analyze the digital footprints customers leave behind and tailor communication to their personal tastes and habits, making them feel as though they come first.
2. Create Emotional Connections
In the past, companies didn’t worry as much about customer retention, or « churn. » The majority of customers would remain with the same company despite new discount offers from competitors. The reason that our parents always went to the same dry-cleaners and ate at the same neighborhood restaurant was because they were used to the warm, friendly, and personalized side of business. For Millennials, brand loyalty has taken on a whole new meaning, as companies search for the most unique, original, and emotionally powerful customer communication content that will grab the mind share of their customers. To help them reach this goal, marketers have heavily adopted video as the medium to best reach their customers. As Forrester Research has noted, a picture « is worth 1,000 words and an online video is worth 1.8 million words. » Video has the capacity to evoke a more emotional response in the viewer, and since the « emotional » part of the brain is the area responsible for decision making, video can be a motivating factor leading customers to act in a particular way
3. Bridging the Gap between CRM and Long-term Customer Engagement
OK, so you’ve got their attention and they’ve clicked to see what it’s all about, but how will you keep them around? Remember, the 20 percent of customers that remain loyal to your company account for over 80 percent of your business. They key to striking a balance between customer relationship management (CRM) tools and long-term engagement is to get personal. Often, companies have a great deal of CRM data to tap into but they don’t know how to leverage it, leading to many missed opportunities. Personalized video is a great use case for generating significant business value based on big data. By using CRM data to create personalized videos, you can generate an engaging and valuable experience for your customers across every touch point in the customer journey, starting with acquisition, upsell and cross-sell, renewal, retention, and customer satisfaction campaigns. Catering marketing content to customers involves continuously staying up to date on current trends and constantly gathering information on consumer interests.
4. Use Visualized Display to Motivate Customers to Take Action
Today companies are faced with the reality that traditional channels of communication once used to build and grow personal relationships are a thing of the past. Emails and websites have replaced cold calls and face-to-face meetings, and many customers prefer using digital channels to engage with and communicate with their favorite brands. Therefore, effective digital communication is paramount in keeping customers committed. Email marketing, for example, is the most common way to reach consumers and drive them to seek out offers and services. The simple action of adding your customer’s name to the subject line—the most basic of personal touches—results in a threefold increase in email opening rate. Now, pair that with a personalized video and you can leverage the power of visual storytelling to instantly connect with each individual customer. You’ve got 1:1 communication, personalized, on a mass scale to an audience of one. And that, my friends, is more likely to lead your customers to action.
To capture the mind share of your customers in the digital Millennial age, you need a communication mechanism that includes the combination of video and personalization to remind your customers that you genuinely care about them. Video is one of the most engaging marketing mediums, with the power to evoke emotions and drive consumers to take action. It has the added benefit of making your customers feel that you’re going that extra mile to keep them engaged. For Millennial consumers in particular, this can make all the difference in an age of distraction, turning them into brand loyalists.
Danny Kalish is the CTO cofounder of Idomoo, a personalized video technology company.