Article Series – Targeting Millennials 1 of 3: Nutrition & Fitness
If there is one dominating group that businesses want to capture, it would undoubtedly be Millennials.
Millennials are attending school, entering the workforce, getting married, and having children. According to The Washington Post, this cohort has the strongest presence in the workforce and the most consumption power than any other age brackets.
Nutrition and fitness is a growing topic among the Millennials. Products that contribute to their diets and exercise habits serve as a medium to communicate who they are to the world.
Social media profiles have become a platform that reflects how Millennials wish to convey their identities to the public. Phrases such as “vegan,” “fitness guru,” and “zero-waste” all explain the shifting trends of consumer behavior, which drives product innovation and advertising schemes.
So what do Millennials look for and how can businesses meet those expectations?
From being able to “build” sandwiches and bowls with personalized ingredients to alternating between meditative yoga and high-intensity cross-fit classes, Millennials want to take charge of their nutrition and fitness routines.
- Empower the consumer
- For example, instead of offering set meal choices, categorize ingredients into lists, i.e. grain, protein, greens, etc. for customers to select according to their preferences.
- The feeling of receiving personalized catering imbues a sense of autonomy and engagement into the dining experience.
- Introduce mixing and matching options
- For example, provide unconventional fusion workout classes, i.e. spin and yoga combination classes.
- Millennials live a busy lifestyle amongst constant distraction. They crave the satisfaction of tailoring health and fitness options to effectively multi-task.
Why spend $4 on a cup of coffee that only takes less than a quarter of the cost to make one at home? Millennials today are not only seeking a cup of coffee. They view their payment as an exchange for the ambiance of the store and the treatment they receive. Not only does the product need to deliver the customer’s needs, the environment and utility that comes along with receiving the product should also satisfy the need for feeling special.
- Address consumers personally
- For example, adopting the practice of calling and writing customers’ names on an ordered item instead of a call number can instill a sense of personalization.
- Target a niche audience first
- Smaller businesses should provide a personalized experience to a niche segment of the Millennial market if they want to differentiate themselves and have a chance to capture market share from bigger companies.
- For example, Starbucks initially branded itself as a haven where college students could study, providing comfortable seating, long tables for study groups and ambient background music, before branching out to a larger customer base. Through niche targeting, Starbucks became a brand many students see as an integral part of their college lifestyle.
Values and Beliefs
Millennials today receive constant streams of information that hold businesses accountable for their actions. According to a study done by Deloitte, Millennials place more value on products that practice sustainability and are tied to a CSR initiative, ethical animal farming etc.
- Identify and address core values and beliefs
- Create a product that addresses the core values of a targeted audience, i.e. using recyclable and compostable packaging. For more on aligning business objectives with Millennial values read “How Negative Externalities Can Be Opportunities.”
- Make sure these values are clearly visible to customers, i.e. printing the buzzwords “Recyclable,” “Ethically Raised,” or “Organic” in big print on the packaging.
- Buyers not only want to practice their values, but they also want to convey a story about their identity to others through consumption choices.
Attention spans are shorter than ever now. A new study from Microsoft suggests that people nowadays lose concentration after 8 seconds, in comparison to 15 seconds of the older generation.
This means that businesses have less than 8 seconds to convince Millennials to buy their product. With the influx of information around us, brands must be bold and creative in their marketing in order to stand out and maximize those 8 seconds.
- Leverage the power of technology
- For example, most Millennials today own fitness apps that track the miles they have walked, their nutritional intake, their heart rates, etc. Since mobile devices have become an essential element in Millennials’ daily routines, incorporating your brand into these devices automatically integrates your product into customers’ lives.
- Leverage the power of social media
- Social media connects people with similar values. Encouraging consumers to share the benefits they have reaped from your product can pique the interests friends and family, who are likely to have some parallelity in lifestyles and tastes.
- For example, encourage gym members to post pictures of their monthly results online. This incentivizes existing members to frequent the gym to keep up results while attracting other media users who want to attain similar fitness goals.
“U” for Unique and Useful
More emerging food and fitness trends are surfacing on the internet. It is difficult to not be bombarded by Instagram pictures of new rainbow Starbucks smoothies, sushi burritos, avocado toasts, Aero-pilates machines, SoulCycle bikes, etc.
However, businesses should take caution of simply being a short-lived fad. It is important to not just capture, but maintain the interest of Millennials. For a sustainable business to thrive, it is imperative to have returning customers who don’t just use your product for that one Instagram post.
- Prioritize usefulness over eccentricity
- Define an existing problem or one that consumers didn’t even know they had
- For example, Better Brella, which sells reverse-open umbrellas that answer to the annoyances of having to avoid raindrops when closing umbrellas or getting in and out of door frames with one.
- Better Brella gathered a crowd with its unique patterns and designs, yet customers revisit the product because of its ability to provide a functional solution that is easy to use.
Millennials are generous with their money when it comes to paying for products and services that satisfy functional needs, as well as emotional and social reassurance.
What Millennials eat and how they move their bodies have transformed from personal routines to an expression of their identity. Products that best communicate targeted Millennials’ beliefs, values, and desired images will thrive with the emotional attachment and loyalty they gain from returning consumers.
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