Marketing to millennials

I came across an interesting infographic earlier this week and thought it was worth talking about.  OpiaTalk, an e-commerce widget that uses social shopping to convert customers, polled over 300 millennials (average age was 26) to study their receptiveness to deals and promotions.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • With both online and offline promotions, Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories saw the most usage at 39%
  • Common brands across both channels include Banana Republic, Target, and Victoria’s Secret
  • The most common online channel is still email with 56% of respondent votes; social media came in at only 8%
  • In terms of use-cases, the majority of respondents indicated they were already going to purchase the item(s) and said the promotion was just an added benefit
  • Promotions/deals that were received in the moment had the highest preference (as compared to physical mail, which was the least desirable option)

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 6.29.35 PM

As both physical and e-commerce merchants find new ways to incentivize and engage with shoppers, it’s important to understand what mediums best influence the target audience.  For example, it was surprising to see that social media marketing accounted for only 8% of discovered deals especially since 63% of millennials use social media to stay connected to brands (source).

It was also interesting, but not surprising, to see that contextually relevant promotions were the highest ranked in terms of desirability.  This is where mobile has the best chance of succeeding.  In a recent Harvard Business Review (May 2014), a group of researches conducted a test for discounted IMAX tickets in China.  The researchers sent different time-based text message promotions to over 12k recipients of varying distances (.2KM – 2KM).  What they found was that there is a clear relationship with time and proximity.  “Compared with promotions for discounted movie tickets sent two days in advance, same-day promotions increased the odds of a purchase by 76%.”  Researchers also found that one-day coupons were the most effective for recipients that were further away, increasing the odds of purchase by 71%.

The point here is that merchants need to be smart about their marketing strategies and make sure to understand their target customers.  New marketing tools can help, but it’s important not to concentrate on any one channel before doing ample research.

2 thoughts on “Marketing to millennials

  1. kevinsterne September 2, 2014 / 6:00 am

    It seems, and I may be interpreting this wrong, that my peers ( I’m almost 23) don’t go out of their way for deals. They are set on buying something and a sale seems to only be a bonus. Sort of the antithesis of “extreme” couponers

    • Nathan SooHoo September 3, 2014 / 2:25 pm

      Agreed, I’m the same way – if I’ve committed to buying something, a promotion is just icing on the cake. However, I still think merchants have an opportunity to make an impact through real-time engagement (e.g. a store offering extra discounts if it detects a potential sale).

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