Branded Experiences for Millennials: The New Planning Trinity

We have survived an entire decade of marketing research articles, studies, and infographics about the Millennial generation. We know that Millennials are a massive group numbering around 83 million in the US alone, and while they have tremendous spending power, there is a fundamental difference from previous generations in how and why they spend their hard earned dollars.

At its core, this generation values products, services and experiences that are unique, fast and simple.

The New York Times recently published an article citing research that Millennials aren’t eating cereal anymore, perhaps because it’s too much work. But rather than assuming this group is lazy, consider that cereal in itself is no longer considered unique, fast or simple. New breakfast options are on the rise that offer these traits, perceived or real.

The funny thing about cereal is that it has already been positioned as unique, fast and simple. But consider that it also takes time to prepare, eat and cleanup. Today, breakfast is much faster and easier when prepackaged and consumed on the go.

The cereal situation is a great example of how the old perceptions of unique, simple and fast are evolving from function to benefit; with an increased focus on opportunities gained in the moment. Millennials are constantly questioning the value in a product or activity, measuring  how it affects them right now, and what they have to do to get it.

To that end, they seek out products, services and experiences that feel exclusive, are incredibly easy to use, and maximize their time investment (shorter or longer). Branded experiences are no different. The most successful campaigns are designed around these values:

  1. Exclusivity: Attract attention by offering an authentic opportunity the consumer can’t find anywhere else, to create a unique memory.
  2. Interactivity: Engage with quick activities that are respectful of time and energy.
  3. Accessibility: Make participation intuitive, so that the experience can be self-guided, via individual discovery.

The lesson for experiential marketing is the same. What used to seem fun and engaging may no longer appear that way to a younger audience who has more options at their disposal. The most successful efforts today cater to these core Millennial values with exclusive experiences that are easy to participate in because the interactions are quick and easy.