As Millennials have surpassed their Baby Boomer parents in number, so too will they soon outgrow them in spending power. As of 2012, they brandished over $1.5 trillion (Marston). “So,” you ask, “why aren’t they spending some of that $1.5 trillion on my ingenious product?” Assuming your product truly has some finesse, here are five reasons why it might not be hitting the mark.
1. IT LACKS HIGH QUALITY DESIGN.
Aesthetic appeal is of paramount importance to get a Millennial in the door–especially with a digital product. If your web page was designed in 2010, you’re six years behind the trend. Take a page out of the app design world, where apps often reformat completely at least once a year (if not more often). My advice? Hire a Millennial graphic designer. She was designing your current website when she was in the fourth grade.
2. IT’S NOT A BARGAIN.
Millennials don’t want to pay a “fair price” for anything they buy. They want a steal. Learn from the recent popularity of thrift stores: consumer satisfaction soars when bargains are involved. If your product sits at the end of a row of eight identically priced competitors, you have just lost your sale to some guy on eBay.
3. IT DOESN’T COME WITH ANYTHING FREE.
Free offers used to be viewed as underhanded marketing gimmicks, but not so much anymore. If you have a mobile app without a free version, you are already dead. “Zero is not just another price, it turns out,” says Dan Ariely in his 2008 book Predictably Irrational. “Zero is an emotional hot button–a source of irrational excitement” (49). Give them something–anything–for free, and you’ll grab their attention immediately. Oh, and don’t attach any strings to it. Nothing catches the eye of a Millennial like a free lunch.
4. IT’S FOCUSED TOO MUCH ON THEM.
One of the most surprising trends amongst Millennials is a widespread interest in social causes. This generation dreams most of a desk at a small, creative nonprofit while their parents continue to chase after the C-Suite at their Fortune 500 firm. This generation cares about the lives of Ethiopian farmers almost as much as the taste of their latté. If you’re marketing to Millennials, expect to receive questions about your sourcing. After all, sustainability is cool.
5. IT DOESN’T WORK ON THEIR PHONE.
Millennials treat their phones as extra appendages, and any product that does not connect with them in some way through that medium is in dangerous territory. Trying to sell a vacuum cleaner? It doesn’t matter. Design an app that can turn it on from across the room, or alert you when enough time has elapsed to vacuum the next layer of dust–it really does not matter. The “Whoa, check this out!” factor is all it takes to make your product more than “just a ___________________.”
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