Millennials have taken over the consumer marketplace. But so many businesses struggle to get Millennials on board! This guide will show you how to approach marketing to Millennials.
What Are We Doing Here?
You can’t know how to appropriately sell your products and services until you know who it is that’s interested in what you’ve got, and how they interact with the world around them.
As the leading trend of the decade, you need to understand where mobile fits into this picture. It’s no longer an argument of if mobile should be included in buyer personas.
Consumers regularly turn to their mobile devices during the buying journey. These consumers grew up with technology! They’re roughly 20-40 years old, and have a mobile-first approach to the world.
The question for brands is how does mobile fit into the daily behaviors and buying patterns of your targets?
In this complete guide to the Millennial Buyer, we’ll walk through a day in the life of Mobile Mary, our sample persona of an average Millennial Buyer. Then we’ll explain some of the bigger trends depicted.
It will be best practice for you to take the information presented here, and create a buyer persona that specifically fits your business and market. Let’s get started.
Who Is Mobile Mary?
Mary is an account executive for a local firm, and (thankfully) finds a lot of joy and fulfillment in her work. She’s devoted to her family, but her largest goal is currently to become a partner in her firm. She’s driven to succeed.
Mary and David are both heavily involved in their careers, so they take turns running errands and taking care of Tommy.
Mary loves to shop local, but she prefers to find the best deal, wherever that might be. She enjoys quiet time with David, and the occasional girls night out.
A Day in the Life of the Millennial Buyer (Mobile Mary)
Mobile Mary wakes up to her phone’s alarm at 5:30am. She hits snooze. 5 minutes later it goes off again. She grabs her phone, rolls over, and starts checking notifications on Facebook, Instagram, and everywhere else.
A Vanity Fair article on the election grabs her attention. She clicks, and quickly skims the article. Then she rolls back over, and gets up to start her day.
Mobile Mary heads out to the gym, pulls up her Fitbit app, and starts logging her workout. She prefers to listen to podcasts while she exercises. When the latest Ted Talk segment finishes she heads back to the house.
Mobile Mary walks through the door around 6:45am, as Tommy and David are finishing up breakfast. It’s David’s turn to take Tommy to daycare.
A hug and a kiss later, they’re out the door. Mary turns on the Nora Jones radio station on her Pandora app, and gets ready for work.
She stops by the local Jitterbug Coffee Co. on her way into the office, sees a mug she’d like to buy, and pulls out her smartphone to check if she can find it cheaper online.
Arriving at work, Mobile Mary catches her firm’s partners for a quick “good morning” as they walk out of their weekly 7:00am meeting. She starts up her computer, and pulls out her phone to check email.
Mobile Mary flies into her day’s to-do list, which involves several email replies, phone calls, and account reviews. At 9:00 she has her first meeting, a three-way call between her and an account’s two locations.
After the call, she sends a recap email, then quickly preps herself for a 10:30 meeting a few blocks down the street.
She stops by the bathroom on her way out, taking extra time to breeze through Facebook and check various notifications.
Walking down the street checking texts and emails, Mobile Mary catches someone waving at her. Instinctively, she waves back, only to realize the stranger was waving at someone behind her.
She’s embarrassed, but can’t help laughing at herself. She texts one her coworkers to share the story. They keep texting back-and-forth and decide to grab lunch together after her meeting.
As Mary waits in the lobby for her appointment, she finds an Entrepreneur article on LinkedIn that piques her interest.
Once the meeting starts, Mary’s client decides he wants to try a new idea. Mary texts her assistant to create a quick mock-up.
A few minutes later, the mock-up is in Mary’s Dropbox, which she opens on her phone. Thankful, Mary texts her assistant to join them for lunch – Mary’s treat.
During lunch, Mary pulls out her phone to show pictures of what crazy antics Tommy got into over the weekend. She notes a book recommendation from her assistant in her Goodreads app. The three of them also take a photo together to share on Instagram.
Back at the office, Mobile Mary grabs a cup of coffee and turns on her Spotify app to hear Blink-182’s new album.
A couple of hours later, the only pressing thing on her to-do list is a bunch of follow-up calls to potential accounts. She takes a quick email and Facebook break, then moves into an open conference room where she can more easily pace while on the phone.
One of her calls leaves her on hold for what feels like an eternity, so she starts browsing Pinterest for ideas and inspiration to spiff up Tommy’s room. She finally makes it through her last unanswered call, and leaves a text with the prospect.
At 4:00, Mobile Mary and team have a brainstorming meeting. Mary pulls out her OneNote app where she keeps all her ideas, and shortly after 5:00 everyone walks out of the meeting happy.
Mobile Mary and Tommy come home to find David in the kitchen, phone out, following the recipe Mary sent him.
Mary and David both spend a couple of hours after dinner playing with Tommy and reading to him before putting him down to sleep.
Both take some time to veg out, scrolling through various apps and articles on their phones. They turn on Netflix to watch a couple episodes of FRIENDS, and grab a couple books to read in bed.
Mary chooses Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!, and falls asleep thinking of everything she wants to get done tomorrow.
What’s Going on in This Story?
How Much Does the Millennial Buyer Use Her Phone?
Throughout her day, Mobile Mary turns to her smartphone 25 distinct times, starting with her alarm, and uses it for 20 different reasons. Her phone is literally the first conscious interaction she has in her day.
Notice that many of the times she turns to her phone she’s doing multiple things, like checking Facebook and Instagram and reading an article, or texting and checking email.
For the Millennial Buyer, mobile usage is a constant throughout the day, and uses are chunked together. (Tweet this!)
If your brand is advertising to Millennials, interpret this as a need to be in multiple places at once. If someone sees your promo email and then sees your Facebook ad, they’re much more likely to engage with and buy from you than if you were only in one place.
Another big picture concept portrayed is how often people check their phones. Mobile Mary had 25 distinct moments where she was on her phone for several minutes each.
As a brand, this gives you 150 opportunities a day to be there, in front of your target. Is it through a text? An email? A Facebook comment? An Instagram ad? All of the above?
Millennials check their phones at a nearly alarming rate. It’s part of the technology lifestyle, and it opens your brand up to a mountain of opportunity. You just need to be one of those notifications they check for.
How Does Mobile Fit in the Buying Journey?
When Mobile Mary is in line at the coffee shop, she pulls out her phone to see if she can find a better price on that mug.
This is a very common scenario – looking up products and pricing on a phone while in a physical store. 82% of smartphone users pull out their phones while inside stores to look up product reviews and compare prices. That’s incredible! (Tweet this!)
A key in selling physical product used to be to get the customer holding the product. If it’s in their hands, they’re sold. That isn’t the case anymore.
The current state of things means competition is insane, and brands who rely on physical stores need a strategy to help them out.
Perhaps it’s geo-targeted coupons, or a top-of-the-line mobile website, or a heavy investment in SEO. Maybe it’s online texting and picture messaging for questions, reviews, and recommendations.
Maybe it’s best to keep less of each item stocked to lower your own costs. You’ve got to do something!
How Does This Mobile Dependence Thing Work?
There’s plenty more that could be elaborated on, but one last thing you need to take away from our Millennial Buyer case study is how reliant people are on their phones. Mobile dependence isn’t a bad thing!
People have always been dependent on technology for one thing or another. Cars for transportation. Radio and TV for news and information, etc.
Today, people’s jobs and lives are stored in their phones. Pictures of the kids, notes for work, emails, friendships and connections, entertainment, Google, personal and career data. It’s all there in the palm of consumers’ hands!
Mobile usage and dependence continues to grow. The more your brand tailors itself to the mobile dependent Millennial Buyer, the faster you’ll grow and the better off you’ll be!
Summarizing the Millennial Buyer
Millennials are roughly those between 20-40y.o. They’ve grown up in the technology age, and mobile devices have steadily become more and more integrated into their daily routines.
The average American checks their phone 150 times a day, and uses it for a slough of reasons, from shopping to work to entertainment.
Brands can’t afford to silently watch this trend go by. Month after month, the Millennial Buyer turns to mobile for more and more. You either have to catch this wave now or risk falling far, far behind.
Each brand’s targets will be different from the next, and you should use this guide to help you craft your own Millennial Buyer persona. You need to be able to define who your targets are, and how they approach every facet of their world. Then you’ll succeed.