Gen Y. Echo Boomers. Millennials. We’ve all heard of them, read the reports about their growing influence and buying power, and have met, at the very least, one of them. For marketers, “millennial” is the latest and most popular in a series of buzzwords.
For us, it’s more personal than that. We are millennials. Born at the beginning of the 1990s, we grew up in a world where cell phones, personal computers, and Internet became the norm. Sure, we’re digital natives, but we also remember a world without the ease of smart phones; something we’re not likely to take for granted, and not only because we can remember the horrors of T9 texting.
Marketers will tell you that loyalty marketing to millennials is different: they want different things from generations past, but for the most part, it’s just not true. Yes, we favor a more urban life when we’re younger, but we still retreat to the suburbs when we start families. Contrary to what some reports say, we want to own houses and cars, like our parents before us. We might question the reality of the American Dream, but we still take part in the traditions that have come about because of it.
When creating loyalty marketing efforts focused on millennials, it’s not what we want, but how we want it. We want brands to understand that as digital natives, we expect mobile integration, free Wi-Fi, and apps that are helpful, not clunky. We want opportunities to engage with, and even help shape, the brands we’re loyal to as well. More than anything, we want our relationships with brands to be just that, a relationship. It doesn’t have to be meaningful or deep, but it should be authentic (or at least not explicitly fake, we can tell).
Over the next several months, the millennials at rDialogue aim to discuss exactly what loyalty marketing to millennials means to us as a generation. In a word, it’s “community”. It’s the buzz that comes from a shared experience, like standing in line with two hundred strangers, knowing that you’re all excited about the same thing. Brands that understand this feeling, and harness it, are brands that are going to win with this generation and the next. We seek to praise those who understand this, and push those who don’t. Stick around, and maybe you’ll discover just what it is that makes us tick.