Loyalty & Millennials: A Hate To Love Relationship

With many brands focusing all their efforts on the sparkly new Gen Z (the fast-developing emerging buyers who continue to dominate our headlines), it is important to remember that Millennials are the founders of our current understanding of loyalty and now have the buying power to cause seismic sales shifts for brands.

Loyal Millennials Playing Games Together

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So, while everyone is pivoting on their heels to target Gen Z…

Let’s take a look at the complicated relationship between Millennials and Loyalty; what we can do to combat it & how they hold the key to the future of loyalty. 

Millennial loyalty has to be earned

Millennials are the second-largest generation worldwide and currently the largest generation in the workforce. Now all grown up with disposable incomes and strong beliefs. They are widely regarded as trendsetters in everything from digital usage to cultural shifts, making them the sought after generation among markers. So how important is loyalty for them? 

While their loyalty has to be earned, according to product lead they are the most loyal generation to their favourite brands, with just over 50% saying they are extremely loyal to their favourite brands.

Only 1% of Millenials say they are influenced by ads
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Inc Magazine

This pretty much tells us that it doesn’t really matter what a company has to say about its products but more about its actions. Delivery authentic and quality experiences every time the customer has an interaction with your brand, no matter where they encounter happens will build the foundation for a strong loyalty. It is this type of brand loyalty that millennials are known and loved for.

But how do we build brand loyalty in a generation infamous for a lack of loyalty?

Let’s debunk this stereotype before we continue. Millennials are loyal, it is just displayed differently than most and with that, delivered differently. Gone are the days when loyalty could be built on deals and discounts, millennials have turned this on its head, only maintaining loyal to brands that offer engaging experiences and elite customer service. Technology-based loyalty-program features are more appealing to millennials; Single-handedly they have created the industry we all know today. Here are some ways to ensure you do not end up “cancelled”.

Be Authentic

A sales pitch means little to nothing to millennials. They are concerned with the brand’s actions, quality and community awareness. Say you are a carbon-neutral company? Prove it. What are you physically doing to reach this? Words on paper do not cut it anymore so don’t pretend to be something you are not. Millennials ( and all consumers really) are more likely to be loyal to your product if you are open about the journey you are on. “Building a carbon-neutral brand” will go a lot further than faking to be one.

90% of millennials say authenticity is an important factor when deciding which brands they like to support. And this isn't just true of millennials: 80% of baby boomers and 85% Gen Xers reported the same sentiment.

Digitalisation - this one shouldn't be a surprise

We live in a digital age. If you are not communicating with your customers digitally you are much further behind than you realise. Millennials are no different, in fact, millennials respond extremely well to social media messages and marketing. According to Liveperson 61% of young consumers globally would, if forced to choose, leave their wallets at home instead of their phones. (Luckily for our clients, the MyLoyal solution is contactless compatible). With today’s powerful phone capabilities, this isn’t that surprising; by creating a digital message you are insuring direct communication to your valued customers on a platform they are happy to use.

72% of millennials say social media affects their buying decisions.

Millennials and Gen Z use social media as a way to evaluate brands’ values and their trustworthiness; online reviews, comments, likes and content all factor into whether your brand is authentic. This is a generation who have grown up with spam emails and pop-up ads, an authentic genuine presence on social media is vital to ensure you don’t fall into the untrustworthy category.

Multi-Channel Marketing

With digitalisation comes the opportunity of multi-channel marketing, this generation value relationships, transparency and consistency. To meet those expectations, brands must understand their audience and present a unified front on all channels. Great examples of marketing or brand development occur on as many social media channels are necessary to reach the maximum potential target audience. It is similar to multi-channel loyalty! Offering more than one way to build loyalty will draw a larger, more loyal audience. Millennials no longer require communication in person or by telephone. They seek multi-channel communication that creates valuable content relevant to their interests and beliefs. 

Consumers trust brands that have a dominant social media presence, they check Facebook for reviews, Instagram to see the product in function and Youtube to watch tutorials on how to use it. A strong multichannel marketing strategy builds trust between consumers and sellers, building a strong relationship and therefore… loyalty! 

Incentives and Awards

It’s true. Millennials do love a bargain; brand incentives and rewards can result in heavy millennial traffic, as long as they are accessible and easily applicable. Millennials aren’t just looking for monetary rewards, they want something shareable! An experience, a memory with the brand! When a brand offers an inclusive and desired experience, it naturally generates organic exposure necessary to the social media platforms… word of mouth? Yes, please! 

However, long-term brand loyalty cannot be built this way; quickly millennials will explore what else the brand has to offer and if it does not meet their expectations, they will leave. The combination of an authentic brand that can offer genuine incentives and awards will find great success in the world of millennial brand loyalty.

The future of customer loyalty ( & its tech!) is in the Millennials' Hands:

As we said before, Millennials are not a generation to forget. Being the second-largest generation in the world and the biggest in the workforce; their voice and demands are important and fundamentally respected. 

Businesses should meet millennials where they are, incorporating technologies that can provide the infrastructure needed to create these more valuable customer experiences and allow for seamless, quick and painless transactions. If the product or service you provide does not make their lives easier or create value it will not be supported; simple as that.

9 in 10 Millenials own a smartphone
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Pew Research Center

Of course, with everything, there are some millennials who have tried to resist the digital movement but the demand for technological proficiency which is vital for the majority of the job market means that even anti-tech individuals have a certain level of understanding. According to Insider Intelligence – Millennials are less inclined than in their younger days to seek what’s new and buzzy in digital ( remember Milleninnials range from mid-twenties to mid-life crises), so while it is important for brands to continue to develop their product to keep up with the digital age, it cannot move so far that is is inaccessible. 

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