So, we wrote an article on millennials and loyalty programs a few months back. It was pretty good, if we say so ourselves, so give it a read if you want.
But this is going to be the last piece we write on the subject … for a while … and, yes, we really do think it’s the last article you’ll ever need to read that generalizes millennial loyalty …
You know, so we can all move on and get to the content that drives real loyalty results.
Last time out
In that last millennial piece, Kelly touched on some of the frustration of the many articles out there that target millennials and then treat them as some kind of separate species … I massively share that frustration.
Let’s be serious.
- First off, generalizing in loyalty is never a good move, basing strategies off non-program research alone isn’t smart. Smarten up.
- Secondly, millennials are a huge group of people – we’re talking about folks that range from their teens to those in their 30s. Behavior between these demographics is going to be different because that’s two demographic subsets who are in wildly different stages of life. There’s categorically no way that one clear tactic is going to win for your program for said subsets.
I mean, consider all of these other factors too:
- Cultural differences
- Family values
- Regional values
- Life experiences
- Socio-economic status
And that’s just off the top of my head.
The information we do have
All we ‘know’ is that this generation has grown up with the most amount of change, choice, and channels. More than any other generation.
Naturally, there’s quicker adoption to new methods due to technical native-ness (not a word?). We’ve also seen in our programs that younger folks do tend to switch preferences a little quicker … but take note; we’re not saying that that’s true for all!
How does this apply to you?
If by chance you did come here with a view to getting some mystical tactical insight about millennials … you’ve probably come to the wrong place.
Full disclosure – here’s the IC Group advice when the millennial question crops up (*ahem* … all the time). Your program needs to be designed well enough to be able to listen and allow for data interpretation. If your program can’t listen to – and shift with – members’ wants and needs, then you’re going to struggle in this latest generation game … and probably the next one too if you’re still around.
“So, how do I create a program that listens?!”
Hey, this is a pretty complex topic so I won’t get into too much babbling detail … but I will pass on some core staples that you absolutely need to work with.
Survey your members
Ask them simple questions about preferences and award them with points for answering.
Keep checking across various elements of your program including how and where they earn points and spend points. Correlate results to member segments that you’ve defined. Contrast this data to your core sales data, especially if you are using shopper panel data in your analytics efforts to analyze sales patterns and trends. Yes, this even means an age segment for millennials.
A/B test communications
That includes email, social media, text – however you talk to your customers, try different communication messages and measure how they react.
Conduct focus groups
If you are THAT hellbent on “understanding millennials,” put together a focus group to talk to them. Maybe you’ll be surprised with the outcome. Maybe you won’t.
Talk to your partners
If you sell your products online and in-store, ask your retail partners what millennials are saying in the market about your brand and your category. Ask your partners how they target millennials differently. But remember that this is a two-way street. Whatever insights you have about your members; share them with your partners, and create and collaborate so that it’s mutually beneficial to both parties.
Change is inevitable, be sure to create a program that’s flexible
One last piece of advice … get inspired for those millennials in-and-around the college-age group. We’re in an exciting time where we can effect change in more diverse ways.
This age group is starting to make a huge impact on the world and marketplace, but there’s a chance now for programs to help shape where their behaviors are going. Just don’t get so caught up in it that you forget to make sure your program listens to their changing tastes!
And there you have it – the last article on millennial loyalty you’ll ever need to read … for a while.
‘til next time. And there will be a next time.
I’m Director of Client Success at IC Group and a loyalty program strategist.
To talk more, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org