5 quick trends CPG brands must embrace to win with millennials

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If you aren’t sick of hearing about why you need to invest in millennials yet, you probably haven’t been paying close enough attention to their forecasted purchasing potential. Millennials are a unique generation with an emerging purchasing power unlike any generation we’ve seen to date. Their eclectic spending habits make them highly desirable and somewhat elusive. Often cited as “penny wise and dollar foolish,” (see our recent post about some of the biggest myths surrounding millennials here) CPG brands sometimes have a hard time breaking through the clutter to connect with these brand-loyal consumers.

If your brand happens to be lucky enough to resonate with millennials already, you know how fiercely loyal they can be. If you’re a new market entrant or emerging company, however, catching millennials’ attention (and keeping it long enough to make a sale) can be a hurdle. Don’t waste another minute. These five quick and easy marketing trends will help you win with millennials and score for years to come.

1. Don’t try to win with price:

Go ahead, throw out the coveted “Marketing Four P’s” you learned in B-School. As a consumer packaged goods brand, you’re never going to win through price with millennials. Unless you happen to be at the very bottom end of the pricing scale, your best bet is to distinguish yourself by adding unique value or meaning to your products. Millennials will shop for a bargain on goods and sundry items, such as CPGs, but often make an exception for brands that go above and beyond their expectations. Additionally, millennials are one of the least likely demographics to switch brands once they have found a product they like, even when that brand is out priced by competition. Colgate discovered that they could actually increase their prices above competition because millennials were so connected with their unique lifestyle messaging that other toothpaste labels simply didn’t stand a chance. And of course, prices are always going to fluctuate, which is why it’s smarter to invest in what makes your product special.

2. Do something that matters:

Never think of your brand as “just another CPG.” Even the most mundane products can appeal to millennials when they connect with something larger than the product itself. Millennials often invest in products that are aligned with global issues or lifestyle causes they believe in. For example, the (RED) HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, which often lends its stamp of approval to CPG products willing to donate a portion of their profits to the cause, has generated wild success for everything from personal speakers, to food products, and clothing brands simply because it augments the product within the global community. 

3. Invest in digital marketing:

If you’re going to attract millennials, you also need to sell your products where and how they want to shop. Although consumer packaged goods were often considered a brick and mortar staple, the emergence of e-commerce giants such as Amazon have changed how millennials shop. Thanks to services like Amazon Pantry and home-grocery store delivery, these savvy shoppers often save time and money by purchasing CPGs online and having them delivered. To ensure your products don’t get overlooked during their next shopping spree, take time to invest in digital ads and social media that will keep your products top of mind and encourage millennials to go out of their way to purchase your items. 

4. Don’t be afraid to buddy up:

CPG brands can supercharge their image with a boost of edginess, allure, or excitement simply by partnering with endorsers or unrelated brands that already enjoy that reputation. For example, when Redbull partnered with the X-Games (a millennial favorite), they immediately shifted their market from overworked corporate travelers, to adrenaline-junkies and adventure seeking “Gen Y-ers.” Even if your CPG can’t generate (or sell) a certain emotion on its own, chances are, partnering with another organization could. Choose wisely when trying to attract millennials, however, to avoid unintentionally negative brand association with elitist or non-environmentally sound partners that will immediately turn off this audience. 

5. Make your packaging an extension of your brand:

If all else fails, learn from a CPG giant: Apple. Ensure your packaging is an extension of your brand values. Whether you want to attract millennials with quality or a certain emotional vibe, your packaging is your first opportunity to communicate who you are. Apple’s clean, high-quality packaging mirrors its products in many ways and is often photographed and shared on social media as an exciting addition to the product experience. Custom packaging may be a little more expensive, but it’s an opportunity no company can afford to waste.

Although there’s no silver bullet to attract or retain millennials, our team of trend forecasters and cutting edge marketers have our fingers on the pulse of the latest tools and tips that win with the millennial market. For more ideas, or a customized millennial-friendly marketing plan contact us here.

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