Don’t Say the ‘M’ Word

Don’t Say the ‘M’ Word

Accenture estimates that, globally, the younger generations hold $600bn in spending power. Young people are quite necessarily a major focus for brands. Digitally active, always connected and quicker to buy than any generation before them, the latest generation represents a rich hunting ground for the brands of today, and many have prospered.

You may have noticed I didn’t use the word ‘millennial’ in the previous paragraph. The reason for this is simple: in a world of the data-driven personalisation of marketing communications, the concept of the millennial no longer holds any value.

As far as ‘segments’ go, this one is pretty terrible. Some say millennials are 18-30-year-olds, some say its 16-24-year-olds. Perhaps those born in this millennium. Wait, aren’t they called Generation Z? I even heard ’Centennials’ the other day.

There’s a reason there are so many names for the segment. The fact is, marketing to ‘millennials’ is about as useful as marketing to ‘over 35s’; the buying power, lifestyle and attitude of a 35-year-old is so different to that of a teenager that it is impossible to avoid further segmentation.

The good news is that younger generations are making this challenge easier than ever before. According to a study on younger consumers by Adjust Your Set, 91% said that they were willing to allow access to their data, but wanted something in return. 46% of those wanted a more personalised experience.

The idea of value exchange through a more personalised experience is nothing new. The retail sector, in particular, has been pioneering in this respect. One brand delving deeper into the millennial segment is ASOS. The retailer has an almost entirely millennial customer base. Their latest feature, providing size guides based on other customers with similar builds, is an intelligent use of customer data to improve one the most frustrating parts of buying clothes online: finding the right fit.

It is, in many ways, the perfect example of Millennial value exchange.

Such levels of profiling are only made possible by the enormous amount of data available on the younger consumer. From sentiment analysis derived from social feeds to full purchasing histories recorded on apps, in-store and online, the ammunition required for personalisation is readily available to those brands willing to invest.

The ‘M’ word may be a useful term for describing a younger generation of consumers, but a diversity of values and interests coupled with an increasing desire for personalised experiences means lumping them together is no longer a viable strategy. Brands wanting a piece of this particular pie need to ensure that they are doing all they can to provide a relevant and personalised customer experience to acknowledge the millennial’s precious individuality.

Matt Tilling
Senior New Business & Marketing Manager

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