This year may be the tipping point year for millennials. In fact, it has been suggested that this year, millennials are set to become the largest social demographic in the world, overtaking baby boomers and becoming a highly important segment for retailers and advertisers alike, according to Marie Dalton, EMEA marketing director for Connexity.
Often overlooked within this group is arguably an even more important audience segment - the millennial mum. Women aged 18-32 now make up the majority of new mums (75%) and offer huge opportunities to marketers. Recent research from the Baby Centre, for example, found that 66% of millennial mums started doing more shopping online once becoming pregnant with 83% sharing their retail experiences online. And 82% are also more likely to favour recommendations from their peers when deciding what to buy and less likely to turn to retailers in-store for product advice.
Millennial mums, however, require a different approach when it comes to marketing. If brands are to succeed in engaging this audience, they need to recognise this and address passion points more personal to them. Marketers can no longer rely on marketing strategies that lump all millennial audiences into one group. One of the most important things brands need to do is get to know their consumers. Tools such as programmatic and audience modelling are dynamic, allowing marketers to not just identify peer groups to target, but to then continually learn about that group so that marketing messages remain as engaging and as relevant as possible.
By making the experience consumers have with your brand seamless and useful from start to finish, marketers can look to track their lifestyle and build up a long-term relationship instead of relying on one-off promotions. Using millennial mums as an example, audience modelling allows brands to select a small seed group - for example a set of mums who clicked on the website or bought one of your products - and identify wider groups of individuals from the same demographic with similar browsing and shopping habits. As this initial seed set grows, marketers can see patterns and trends emerging about how this group is engaging with certain content, making sure their engagement strategies are as effective as possible.
Creating a value exchange
So what is a millennial mum and why should brands be targeting them? Having grown up online, they will be very familiar with technology and keen to keep up with its rapid evolution, being constantly connected to an increasing number of devices. Like most others in their peer group, they are also concerned with authenticity and social responsibility - engaging with brands who display such qualities. If they find a cause or a brand they believe in, they will not hesitate to share their experience with their peers on social media.
Technology is allowing brands to communicate with this group more carefully during moments that matter - such as moving house or starting a family - and smart brands are reaping the rewards by taking advantage of a vast network of consumers, who are hugely influenced by this 'word of mouth' culture. If you build loyalty and prove to this set of consumers that you are can offer what they need at the right moment in their life, they will drive advocacy for you.
It's not just advice and like-minded communities that these millennial mums are seeking out. Whilst millennial mums are 26% more likely to pay attention to digital ads than the older generation, and 51% more likely to pay attention to ads on their smartphone, they are also interested in more innovative forms of engagement with brands. Recent research has also indicated that 38% of this demographic actively use beacon-enabled apps, receiving push notifications about new offers and products as they pass brick-and-mortar stores.
With the typical new mother spending around 1,000 preparing for a baby and with 75% saying adverts with money saving offers grab their attention, the millennial mum is both an engaged and lucrative demographic for marketers to tap into. Audience modelling grants brands a large amount of intelligence and insight into this market. Because data collection takes place at multiple touch points in the retail journey, businesses can be sure they are identifying the exact demographic with the correct shopping behaviours that they want to target. For example, a person buying a pram might not necessarily be the mother, but a grandmother or relative. Data tracking tools will take into account a larger amount of contextual data about that buyer from various stages of the retail journey, weaning out the shopper profiles that brands do not want and leaving in the ones they do want to target.
While it is somewhat obvious that brands need to be implementing a mobile-first strategy in order to fit in with the digital lifestyles of millennial mums; marketers also need to ensure they are identifying what this audience want and need but more importantly, where and when. Only then can the brands create an experience that address these desires and offer something useful to create a relationship from.
Gathering valuable insights into the shopping behaviours of millennial mums will allow brands to develop a marketing strategy which changes and evolves with them as they embark on a fast-moving and exciting phase of their lives. If businesses get this right, they will soon have an army of influential advocates that do their marketing for them.