How to Attract Millennials

Buzz Marketing CEO: It’s all about beauty, content and value

VOORHEES, N.J. -- What’s the No. 1 way to get millennial shoppers into c-stores? Offer them a value—and make it about beauty.

Offering 20- to 25-year-olds a beauty product that’s a good value, vs. a pricey purchase from a department-store counter, and you’ll get their attention, according to Buzz Marketing Corp.’s Tina Wells.

But first, you have to figure out what your content strategy is. “How are you talking to millennial consumers?” Wells told Convenience Store Products. “Are you on Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook? Find interesting brands and push out content to them about those brands. Talk to them about what’s relevant to their day.”

That also may mean offering “convenience-style quick meals for an in-and-out culture.” Growing up in the age of the Internet has shaped the way these young adults think: They want it now, and they want it the way they want it.

“We’re talking about a generation of kids for which everything is instant and value-oriented,” she said. “They’re going to really be pushing retailers in a way they haven’t been pushed before.”

Wells, who last month identified her company’s top 10 millennial trends for 2013, also pointed out how influential this group is. “Their values are going to be the values of all consumers,” she said.

“They have money to spend,” she continued. “They are trend setters for a lot of other generations, including boomers. Everyone likes to feel young and hip and in the moment.”

Wells has identified four subgroups, or “tribes,” of the millennial generation:

  • Preppies: This group—the subgroup most likely to gravitate toward c-stores—is brand conscious and well put-together. They’re trendy, but not trend setters.
  • Techies: They’re tied to technology, but geek chic, in the sense that geeks and nerds today are more perceived as the billionaires of tomorrow vs. the “losers” of the past.
  • Alternatives: This group is laid back, casual, creative and more interested in causes such as deciding not to “own” things, showing more of a willingness to share.
  • Independents: Averse to being marketed to, this group is adamant that their choices are their own. They’re passionate and selective.

Despite the differences among these four groups, they all face a stark fact of the times. Millennials came of age during the Great Recession, and many of them have had to move back in with their parents. That living situation makes for a challenge for all generations.

“How do they carve out their own space, in a family home, in their 20s?” she said. “What does that mean? This is a learning experience for everyone.”