As we’re gearing up to debut our new supplement, Millennial Home, in April, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a Millennial — what defines us as consumers, what makes us different than the generation that came before and why in the heck people are so confused about it all anyways.
So earlier this week, I went to New York City for two days to attend the Millennial 20/20 Summit — two days of discussions on the future of commerce as the Millennial generation, ages 20-36, becomes the most powerful consumer segment. Its members have unique preferences, nuances and tendencies, many thanks to growing up with the Internet so easily accessible and a phone in their hand throughout their youth.
While I expected to walk into rooms full of 55 year olds trying to learn how to crack the code, instead what I saw was an overwhelming presence of those in their late 20s and early 30s, eager to hear about innovative products, effective marketing techniques and what’s worked for other companies when it comes to Millennials.
Speakers ranged from Peter McGuinness, CMO of Chobani, to Miki Agrawal, the founder of Thinx, and there were a few sentiments that were repeated in almost every session I sat in on — Millennials are experiential, meaning that they crave experiences more than things (cool dinner > new shoes); transparency is a non-negotiable because they are so educated themselves (thanks, Internet); and they’re drawn to brands and products with a purpose (ie Toms), plus those that make their lives easier (hello, Uber and Air BnB).
What does this mean for all of you, who are marketing to and selling to this most-important demographic? We’re excited to provide answers to that within the pages of Millennial Home, and I want to share a tidbit now.
In one of the panels, “Challenging traditional retail dominance through conversational commerce, customization and the power of the crowd,” the panelists were asked how they tell their story as a retailer. Henry Davis, President and COO of modern beauty brand Glossier, gave what I thought was such an eloquent and genius answer:
“Our approach to Millennials is to listen. We fuse content with community, encouraging people to communicate with us and about us. Letting people own a little bit of your brand is the key to success.”
This is true for whatever business you’re in. To create affinity and trust that lasts for the long haul, people have to feel like you ‘get’ them. The way to create that relationship today is different than its been in the past, because Millennials are different and today’s retail landscape is different. To truly be a forward-thinking, cutting-edge brand in Millennials’ eyes is to move beyond the basics (post to Facebook, wait for likes, repeat) and do more, outside of the box, that grabs attention, shows meaningfulness and makes an impact. Reebok provides a great example of this here.
For me, this summit reinforced the importance of us delivering the Millennial Home supplement to you because this is truly a unique and evolving market we’re doing business in, and one that will become a bit less hazy if we take the time to identify and connect with the large and in-charge purchasing generation of today: Millennials.