No matter the industry, brands are shifting their marketing, engagement, and loyalty strategies to accommodate customer needs. On an entertaining front, they are also attempting to get customers to simply look in their general direction with catchy marketing campaigns. Whether it be a McDonald’s six-pack of candles that smell like a Quarter Pounder, a Crystal Pepsi Engagement Ring, or a Supreme branded Oreo, brands are all looking to break the internet in one way or another to be heard by consumers and become a part of this social media obsessed culture we live in today. (Fast Company).
It’s clear who these brands have in mind with these attention-grabbing campaigns: millennials & gen-z personas–experience driven multi-taskers who expect a VIP experience 24-7. The goal is hyper-personalized, omnichannel engagement, that has no obstacles to overcome or hoops to jump through.These are customers who expect a whole different form of communication with the brands they interact with. While it helps, it takes a lot more than posting a moldy cheeseburger to keep them around. If a brand is neglecting to engage with millennial or gen-z customers on a personalized level, then they can kiss their loyalty goodbye. So how does one keep up with these high expectations? Let’s walk through a few ways you can give your brand a millennial makeover to keep them coming back.
1.Check in on your loyalty program
The millennial-focused world requires a whole new mindset to drive true customer loyalty. PYMNTs recently noted that,“Millennials may be eagerly redeeming travel points, and unperturbed by data collection, but 54 percent of travel loyalty memberships are inactive. This could indicate that current loyalty programs do not cater to millennials’ interests.” Take a step back and look at what your current program offers, and determine why it isn’t working for certain audiences. Change your mindset from thinking about loyalty as a metric to viewing it as an outcome of knowing who your customers are across channels at all times, being able to meet and anticipate their needs, and finally, recognizing their behavior with more than freebies and points.
2.Focus on Experiences
Creating experiences is a big part of rethinking loyalty. In a recent Phocuswire article, Mastercard’ SVP of Travel & Lifestyle, Dana Rosenberg, noted, “The most effective way to build long-term loyalty is through personalized experiences, often delivered in a digital-first environment, that gives travelers more choices.” To attract millennial shoppers, brands have to think about how they can deliver a customer experience that makes them want to share with others. Use your collected customer data to deliver 1:1 offers, product recommendations, surprise and delight messages, and maybe even some private tiers to form deeper relationships, and make customers feel like they’re receiving that VIP treatment.
3.Think outside the box
Forward-thinking brands are doing everything they can to keep up with consumer expectations. According to Mastercard’s Beyond Rewards, 55% of organizations have refreshed their loyalty strategy in the past two years. It is important to think outside the box, and provide your customers with an experience they find refreshing, and relatable. For example, Panera just announced their new subscription based loyalty program, that allows customers to pay one monthly fee of $8.99 in exchange for unlimited coffee or tea. In a saturated market filled with loyalty programs that start to resemble one another, Panera was smart to identify something they could provide to customers that no one else has. Doing something different not only grabs consumers’ attention, but also motivates more customers to jump on board. According to CNBC, almost two-thirds of millennials say they are living pay-check to pay-check, but also spend almost $500 a month on things like dining, entertainment, traveling, etc. A program that still provides millennials with the experiences they want and crave, but taking away financial guilt, is a way to gain their loyalty.
Doing one or all of these three things is a great starting point to earn loyalty from consumers who seem to constantly play hard to get. By delivering a more personalized, unique brand experience, you’ll have millennials knocking down your door in no time. (Throwing in some random swag or branded food seems to help too.)