Millennials Speak Out

Inspired by the recent EEC webinar, “Millennials Speak Out: Email Marketing Preferences & Brand Loyalty,” I wanted to share a few key takeaways:

We’ve been hearing “email is dead” for about 15 years, and we know that’s not true. What’s dead is outdated email strategy and spray and pray tactics. Email stays relevant with fresh thinking and applying cutting edge technologies to bring data out of silos and into an integrated experience that predicts the landscape as it changes. Simply put, email is evolving, remaining as relevant and effective as ever in its fluidity. Email is the workhorse and the main channel where we can capture and engage the millennial audience, but only if we play by their rules.

Email remains a channel preference across generations—it’s how we as email specialists and marketers choose to use it that makes all the difference. Combat never ending digital distraction by keeping any generation engaged with a solid communication style and watch these 5 key trends:

  1. Millennials aren’t solely online shoppers—50% of them still shop in-store. Use point of sale system for in-store purchases or in-store beacons to accurately track consumer’s behavior and feed back into digital. You can utilize email for this ongoing trend by including incentives to in-store savings and exclusive deals.
  2. They are distracted—95% do other things while shopping, mostly watching TV (67%) and waiting (49%). This is that golden opportunity for mobile-friendly email to really get them engaged and ready to convert. Take advantage of this time spent on their phones.
  3. They are not brand loyalists—but they can be…millennials form brand loyalty to those brands that get them and personalize their communications individually. A 28% uplift, in fact.
  4. Their shopping habits, preferences, and influences vary widely. Again, another push for personalization at a deep level. Marrying all of your channels together to understand behavior at an individual level, and using email to drive the right message at the right time (when it’s the right channel) is the key to communicating differently and effectively to each person for ongoing engagement.
  5. Millennials prefer personalized emails over batch and blast. (Surprise!) They can tell when a brand is not speaking directly to them. If a message is not 100% relevant they will see it as batch and blast, cheap and salesy, so what do they do? Unsubscribe. A whopping 70% were frustrated when brands sent irrelevant emails.

It seems like every marketer these days is so obsessed with the millennial consumer group that it’s almost a worn phrase. However, they are so interesting because they are so hard to pin down. They respond to marketing differently than any other generation to date. And given the wide range of time that defines them (anyone born between 1980 and 2000), this population needs to be further broken down into subcategories just so we can market to them appropriately. All this effort is worthy of a marketer’s time because by 2020 millennials will make up 30% of consumer spending, which is the biggest population of consumers, even surpassing the Baby Boomers.

So how can email put you in front of this audience and get them engaged? Keep content fresh and get personal. What you’re saying, how you’re saying it, and where it’s being said needs to be completely unique to get millennials in a place where you appeal to their hearts, minds, AND wallets. These users are extremely savvy and know when they’re being sold to, so you need to go beyond the right message at the right time. You need to tell a story to get this audience on board with you, make sure that content is share-worthy, and leverage the technology at your fingertips (e.g., analytics, eCommerce, CRM platform) to stitch together online behavior. So the right message at the right time really becomes the right technology with the right data that can be executed through your email service provider.

Monica DiBartolo
Email Marketing Director, Jellyfish
eec Education & Events Subcommittee