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Why You Must Deliver an Experience When Marketing to Millennials

Posted by Dean Asher on 11/18/15 11:00 PM
Topics: sales strategies, millennials, Marketing to Students

If retailers at large are shifting their image to market to millennials, college bookstores needed to do so yesterday. After all, they've made up the bulk of traditional students at college campuses since the early to mid 2000s. Marketing to them has been a challenge: we know social media and omnichannel retailing are important, but just how do we get the message out? Erik Fowle at theStorefront blog says to appeal to this generation, marketing needs to be an experience.

Experiential marketing is all in the name. Millennials’ purchasing preferences add up to one thing: today’s shopper is more interested in buying in on an experience. Experiences, particularly shared experiences, are what connect us as humans. The camping trip with new friends, a night out with coworkers, the first smile on a first date. Those moments allow us to build the relationships that matter to us. While corporations (and brands) aren’t people, some companies are finding success through building a marketing strategy around sharing experiences with customers.

Today’s experiential marketing efforts attempt to deliver an emotional response. Trend Reports believes experiential marketing is any strategy, “that aid[s] in the creation of a memorable customer experience.” Moderne Communications, an experiential marketing agency, has a longer explanation. For them, experiential marketing is a “method used to break through the chatter to reach today’s overstimulated consumer with live and personalized experiences where they can see, touch, and interact with products and services firsthand.” Emotional responses. Shared experiences. Authentic relationships. That’s how brands are breaking through the chatter.

The front line on the battleground for Millennials’ wallets is social media. Eyes on phones, finger on the “like” button, Millennials live in the digital world. They spend somewhere around six hours every day on social media or browsing the Internet. The first step to developing a relationship with this cohort of customers is to engage them where they spend 37% of their waking hours.

— Erik Fowle, theStorefront blog
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