Millennials have more spending power than all the audiences before us. We also act differently to all the audiences before us. Our buying habits are actually altering the way markets operate. So you need to ensure your loyalty program appeals to us.
In order to engage us, you must first understand the reasons why we’re different.
Why Millennials are different:
- We’re connected –we’ll know if you don’t provide us with the same product or level of service as someone else. And you’ll know if you’ve failed to meet our expectations. We have the power to share our thoughts with thousands or even millions of others instantly. That’s not a threat, it’s a fact of our lives and your program can use this to your advantage. Use us to grow your member base by rewarding us through a quality ‘Friend-Get-Friend’ strategy or a ‘Social Sharing’ strategy. We can become your best advocates.
- We understand technology – technology is infused into every aspect of our lives, in fact we rely on it to streamline our lives. We know how technology should operate and will be quick to abandon if the interface is confusing or the load time is slow. Stay on top of digital trends and be always thinking about how new technologies could improve your processes and give you a competitive edge. We’re not afraid of new technology, we’re on the lookout for things that will save us time!
- We have high expectations – we have been exposed to the best. Companies like Uber, Amazon and Netflix give us access to products, food, transport, content and anything we could ever need at our fingertips. As a result, we have completely transformed our expectations of the brands we do business with, and your program can’t get away with what it could 5 years ago! Make sure you’re always evolving and developing whilst keeping a keen eye on the companies who are setting and raising our expectations, even if they aren’t competitors. Un-met expectations are the primary cause of member disengagement with a loyalty program.
- We have poor attention spans – don’t assume because you have communicated with us that we understand the program. We live in an ‘attention economy’ and you are competing for our attention in a cluttered, multichannel, double-screening world. Don’t assume that we’re loyal, we get bored easily. If we can’t see pretty quickly that your program is going to add value to our lives, you’ve lost us. It’s important to keep us excited about you and keep us excited for freshness. Companies like Tesla do a great job by switching up their rewards program every quarter, always keeping us excited and on our toes about an upcoming quarter’s offering with giveaways, sneak peeks and rewards.
In order to deepen our emotional connection with your brand, you next need to understand the things we care about.
What Millennials care about:
- We care about ourselves – we want to be communicated with as individuals, we want our actions to be recognised, we want our experiences tailored to us, we want you to ‘know us’. Personalisation (i’ll stop saying it, when brands start getting it right). You have our data. Use it. We want you to have a 360 view of us and recognise us across every interaction and touch-point we have with you. In return, we’ll boost your conversion rate, engagement rate and talk about you with friends. There’s endless technology solutions which can allow you to harvest data to deliver a single customer view, create hyper-personalised marketing communications which are delivered to each of us, individually, at the right time. This is literally the key to a successful loyalty program, and there’s no excuse for not knowing us, because there’s quality tech out there, and it’s just getting better!
- We care about flexibility – there’s no one-size-fits-all approach you can take with us. We all want different things. Sometimes we don’t even know what we want, which is why we want flexibility to engage with you when we want and how we want. We also like the idea of flexible rewards. Uber gets us. They recently launched flexible rewards where members get to choose between a free ride upgrade, a % off the next X rides or a Uber Eats $ voucher, whichever reward suits at the time. Qdoba Rewards (a QSR from the US) also allow members to manually change their tier perks within their app at any time, depending on whether receiving bonus points or special prices are most appealing at any given time. We like this.
- We care about seamlessness – do everything you can to eliminate hoops and hiccups. Make our journey as easy and frictionless as possible. From the time we join, feel like checking our points balances or redeem a reward, let us do it without forcing the installation of an app (we have too many) or filling out a long form. Pay attention to the channels we use and reach out accordingly (refer to 1. We care about ourselves) ensuring the experience is as seamless and as speedy as possible.
- We care about a cause – we are concerned about our planet and we are aware of the world’s inequalities. If you can build environmental appeal into your business, or find ways to give back, we will take notice. Marley Spoon have a package recycling program, coffee shops reward us with a discount for bringing a Keep Cup, Qantas Frequent Flyer allows me to donate my points to a number of charities, Oroeco rewards me for reducing my carbon footprint. If you can incorporate a cause related element, you will gain some millennial supporters.
- We care about the value exchange – above all, we care about getting value from you. We also understand the data value exchange and know how profitable our data can be for you. Reward us appropriately. We have numerous brand choices, and we feel empowered by this, so if the reward doesn’t reflect the level of investment we’ve made, we won’t be excited to return. On the flip side, if you get the value exchange right, your program will give us a reason to come back and give you a competitive edge.
Loyalty programs are for-the-most-part, falling short of expectations from millennials. You can no longer have a one-size-fits-all approach, nor can you ignore technology, flexibility, customer experience and customer data. It’s true, we don’t always know what we want, but you have the ability to use our data to figure out what we want before we know.
We could be customers for a long time to come, so investing in your loyalty program to ensure it meets our expectations makes a lot of business sense. Our presence will continue to grow, and programs that fail to connect will fail.