Nowadays, we often hear of millennials as a target demographic for growing markets and companies alike, and rightfully so. Representing nearly a quarter of the U.S. population, millennials also make up a larger chunk of the population than baby boomers and command significantly higher spending power, spending about $200 billion each year in the U.S., according to Nielsen. But a straightforward approach to targeting millennials may not be optimal. Why? Put simply, people’s purchasing decisions aren’t necessarily tied to a single demographic identifier.
To target the right customers—millennials or otherwise—high-tech companies need to truly optimize their marketing strategy, which requires a more nuanced approach around customer attitudes and behaviors. Here’s how to get started:
- Determine what your product really is. Although this may seem obvious, many companies fail to market the product attributes that resonate the most. This evaluation should be conducted based on product characteristics that distinctly and substantively provide value to a customer. Consider Tesla as an example of a brand that plays to its strengths in design and automotive innovation, and the competitive advantages that each of their models brings to market.
- Determine who is really in a customer segment by understanding the attitudes and behaviors that uniquely identify them. Focusing on how certain audiences may think, feel and behave will uncover nuances in what really defines an audience beyond a demographic level. This step is crucial not only for accurately understanding what resonates with different segments, but also for identifying target segments and utilizing an audience profile to structure marketing campaigns and position your brand. In the eSports marketplace, for example, companies from Riot Games to Activision Blizzard are leveraging a clear understanding of the perceptions and behaviors of several key segments to scale live gaming events.
- Determine how each customer segment consumes information and interacts with brands in the marketplace. Consumers have better access to more information, which is influencing purchase decisions in B-to-B sales. It’s important to understand not only the type, medium and channel through which your customer segments source information while making a purchasing decision, but also the methods that different segments prefer to use for completing a purchase.
As a final step, companies can establish a loyal customer base by implementing sales and marketing initiatives together, in a unified plan. Netflix, for example, provides top picks based on your search and viewing history, and uses data on viewed and trending content to inform future content development. Likewise, Amazon provides recommendations for similar items to those you’ve seen or purchased in the past, and it uses data from items purchased to inform its inventory and fulfillment strategy.
Overall, successfully marketing and selling in the modern marketplace increasingly requires companies to ask themselves how they can anticipate what their customer will think and do next. To get there, you need to look well beyond customer demographics.