Customer-obsessed marketing

Channeling My Inner Millennial

Mary Shea
Principal Analyst
March 31, 2017

As a very late Boomer or — as The New York Times columnist Richard Pérez-Peña likes to call us — a Boomer reboot, I find that I have Millennials on my mind all the time! I’m not on social networks for 3 hours a day; I’m just an avid user. I sleep with my smart phone on my bedside table, and I’m a pretty good multitasker. I work with a group of phenomenal Millennials at Forrester, and I now clock more than a year in terms of researching, writing, and speaking about Millennials in the workplace. As I think about our team of researchers, I’m reminded of a Forbes quote of the day that Caroline Robertson shared with me recently: “If you put Boomers and Millennials together in the same place and with the right setting and conditions, it’s amazing how they spark each other.” I wholeheartedly agree.

Check out our most recent report, “Millennial B2B Buyers Come of Age,” and see if you agree. Shanta Samlal-Fadelle and I coauthored this report, which looks at the impact that the heads-down generation is having on purchasing decisions for their firms. Although 73% of Millennials in B2B organizations tell us that they have involvement as influencers or decision makers, our research shows that B2B marketing and sales leaders are not paying enough attention to this increasingly present and influential constituency. In the report, you’ll hear directly from Millennials regarding their engagement and channel preferences, while Shanta and I provide actionable advice on how to fine-tune your approach to attract, rather than repel, Millennial buyers.

But it doesn’t stop with just understanding your prospects and customers. Our research process brought us in contact with some interesting companies that provide solutions for traditional businesses — retailers, media, and major league sports teams – to deliver to their Millennial end users, customers, and fans. We uncovered some examples of technology innovation that Millennials lead and design. While these mini-case examples were outside of the scope of our report, we wanted to share them here to highlight some exciting developments in the field.

With an average employee age of 26.5, BuyerQuest provides procurement solutions to companies with large distributed Millennial workforces. When Millennial employees reject unfriendly procurement tools, corporations can lose millions of dollars in pre-negotiated volume discounts. BuyerQuest’s software solution leverages an eCommerce experience to engage Millennials. Users can access the device-agnostic app whenever and wherever they want, and they can personalize, post product reviews, watch videos, and consume role-based curated content.

The firm Appiness allows media companies to embed interactive advertising directly into shows. The embedded Spott app allows viewers to source, price, and purchase almost anything they’re viewing in real time. Whether it’s the frame of a movie, reality show, or sitcom, Millennial users of Spott can research and purchase apparel, shoes, or other items while they watch live on their screen. In addition, they can become fans of characters, series’ or brands and continue the engagement post viewing. The result is more impactful ad spending for companies.

Pronto enables major league sports teams to increase fan engagement. According to Pronto cofounder Conrad Caplin, “Major league teams have to fight to get Millennials off the couch and into the arena.” Once there, this heads-down generation gets consumed by its own personal entertainment rather than video screens, often as far as 60 yards away, that show sponsored replays and other messaging. Pronto’s app acts as a near-field communications device and payment gateway that automates and manages tickets, concessions purchases, and notifications. Designed to remove game-day friction for fans, Pronto allows the team to enhance fans’ relationships with the brand, reduce shrinkage, and gather rich behavioral data, which it can then use to enable personalized marketing to the fan at a later date.

Why are Millennials always on my mind? Because in the end, companies that fail to understand the dynamics of the heads-down generation may find themselves supplanted or disintermediated by up-and-coming companies that do.

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