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Enterprise Marketing & Promotions Management

Digital Media, Reaching Millennials and the Right Customers for Retailers

By / April 2016


Consumers are experiencing the world using multiple devices as a part of their day-to-day activities. Most Millennials and Generation Y teens don’t remember a time without smart phones and are quite comfortable with online-only relationships.

Retailers are paying attention and are tailoring communications to match this new mindset, while continuing to cater to a large base of shoppers that still rely on print ads.

Multi-Device Media Consumers
A recently released Yahoo study compared Generation X and Millennials’ use of media with an emphasis on smartphones.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Ads achieve more emotional response on smartphones
  • GenX are more proficient at ad avoidance but Millennials are more responsive to ads – especially on smartphones
  • Although TV is the device used the most, smartphones actually receive the highest amount of “primary attention”
  • Millennials and Gen X’ers satisfy their need to be “in the know” in the morning hours by engaging with news apps to start their day
  • 18-54 year olds spend the majority of their day catching up on their lifestyle and shopping apps, showing the importance of consistent messaging throughout the day – not only when consumers are in-store
  • 57% of the time that a TV ad was seen by a participant, attention was deployed to another device (laptop or smartphone)

The report concludes that it’s more important than ever to take advantage of digital ads – specifically on smartphones – because it is the clear leader in engagement and attention for advertising.

Mobile Moments
With the prevalence of smartphone usage, Think With Google coined the term, Micro-Moments, to describe the consumer journey that’s been fractured into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. Each is a critical opportunity for brands to shape decisions and preferences.

Essentially, micro-moments happen any time consumers pick up their smartphones to search for information or simply browse. It’s the seconds between brand discovery and the decision to purchase products and services.

A critical component of harnessing mobile for marketing is the ability to go beyond demographics. Think With Google says, “Intent beats identity. Immediacy trumps loyalty. When someone has a want or need, they turn to their smartphone for help—whether it’s a karate newbie watching an expert do a move on YouTube or a mom looking for the best deal on a pair of sneakers. When a need arises, people turn to search and YouTube to look for answers, discover new things, and make decisions. These intent-filled moments, micro-moments are the best opportunity marketers have to connect with people at the exact moment they are looking for something.”

Here are tips for maximizing micro-moments from DQ&A Media Group:

Context – Ensuring ads are displayed in context — especially consumers who are making location-specific decisions, such as where to eat or where/how to travel. But even product purchases can be determined on the spot by location- or time-specific messaging.

Flexibility – With many decisions and purchases initiated and finalized across multiple devices, the directive for marketers is even more demanding – to ensure their message is seamless across every device a consumer uses.

Social Media & Shopping
Social media channels are essential communications platforms for retailers to educate and engage with consumers.

The Cypher Agency lists the top ways that social media influences consumer behavior:

  • Emphasizes the power of word-of-mouth and online reviews
  • Strengthens relationships between businesses and consumers
  • Keeps all stakeholders informed, including new products, sales, events, etc.
  • Turns a want into a need. The majority of shoppers who read a friend’s Facebook comments and clicks on the product link will make a purchase

Adweek reports that 91% of retail brands use two or more social media channels and provides tips for retailers to optimize social media:

Scale efforts with cross-promotions. Add social icons to emails, resource and event pages. Consider campaigns for driving social media followers.

Encourage interaction by acknowledging fans and asking them to share experiences.

Develop timely, relevant content by including current events, holidays and social trends.

From social to mobile, retailers now have unprecedented access to consumers – even at the exact moment of the purchasing decision. Whether retailers are using digital or traditional media, the marketing principles of building brand loyalty, creating unique customer experiences and demonstrating value must be the underlying messages.


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