Updated: Oct 3, 2018
If your company, brand or product is more than one year old; then your marketing team has certainly had at least one discussion about “how to acquire millennial customers?” The short answer is: it’s complicated; unless, you change one factor – the one factor representing the biggest obstacle preventing millennials from shopping from your organization.
MEET THE MELLENNIALS
Millennials, Generation Y or Gen Y, are people born between 1981 and 1996; in other words, people who are between the ages of 22 to 37 in 2018. Because of their tight budgets, millennials like to make educated shopping decisions. Before committing to a purchase, millennials conduct extensive research prior to the buying process, as well as during the buying process. The research is carried online. Through their smartphones, millennials learn everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, about your company, brand or product. Keep in mind, you can neither target millennials through advertising nor influence the outcome of their research; millennials hate advertising.
THE BUYING DECISION TREE
When asked about the factors that millennials look up online during their research; the following top factors were mentioned as equally important: online reviews, affordable pricing, and the cause that the brand stands for. However, when asked about what prevents millennials from considering a specific company, brand or product; the following factor was consistently and overwhelmingly mentioned by every single person surveyed: online reviews. Several market studies show that online reviews are indeed the number one reason why organizations are struggling to attract millennials, thus missing out on a trillion-dollar market segment.
WHY ONLINE REVIEWS
Millennials love authenticity! They are more likely to listen to people like them; not the rich or the famous. In other words, the owner, leader or representative of a company, brand or product has almost no DIRECT influence on the buying decision of millennial shoppers. However, you can and should INDIRECTLY influence their buying decision through enabling and encouraging feedback, reviews and referrals from peer shoppers. While there are various methods and solutions to encourage such behavior; online reviews are by far the top platform driving millennials' buying decision.
HOW TO ACHIEVE 5-STAR RATINGS
A one-star increase in your overall online ratings could mean a 30% increase in traffic or a 20% increase in sales. Fortence™ Reputation Management recommends three fundamental phases to improving your digital reputation. First, organizations should utilize data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence models and tools to identify and quantify the root causes of their current reputation and their competitors’. Then, easy-to-implement action plans must be developed and adopted throughout the organization, from corporate, to operations, to point of sale. Last, but not least, the implemented action plans must be monitored, measure and improved. This last step also allows the organization to early-detect new issues prior to significant spread and damage.
THE LIMITATION OF REVIEW MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Review management tools allow your organization to access, monitor and manage your online reviews from one centralized platform. These tools provide efficiency and convenience for your team to continually interact with your customers’ reviews. By adopting these review management tools, your organization can easily maintain its digital reputation; but that is precisely the issue. These traditional tools are designed to MAINTAIN your reviews; not to IMPROVE them.
If your online ratings are gradually decreasing, then preventing further decline and maintaining a steady online rating is certainly good news. However, the goal of most organizations is not to maintain their current ratings. But rather, the ultimate goal is to IMPROVE their online reviews from a 1-star or 2-star ratings to a perfect 5-star rating. A 5-star rating will certainly attract millennial shoppers, not only to buy from you, but to willingly support and promote your organization and what it stands for.
In reality, there are no magical standalone tools or secretive shortcuts to achieving a 5-star rating, other than adopting the three fundamental phases throughout the organization, from corporate, to operations, to point of sale, as recommended by Fortence™ Reputation Management. This three-phase methodology has successfully been implemented and proven across a variety of businesses and industries. A published Case Study shows how one client has achieved an average online rating of 4.8 stars, 31% increase in traffic, and 22% increase in sales within twelve months of joining the program (Download: CASE STUDY).
If there is one piece of information you should retain from this article, it would be the following: “millennials love authenticity! They are more likely to listen to people like them.” This changes everything. Paid or non-paid PR, advertising, and sale promotions are no longer enough to develop the reputation of your company, brand or product. When it comes to millennials, your best (and only) bet is your digital reputation; specifically, online reviews. Improve your online reviews today; and welcome a trillion-dollar market segment!