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Marketing to Millenials - March 2019

Hungry for more sales? Some tips on marketing to Millennialsby Tom Allen According to Pew Research Center, anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is considered a Millennial. Along with Gen Z, these are classic QSR and Fast Casual prospects that need to be nurtured in order to drive your top line. Why Millennials? Millennials represent roughly 1/4 of the American population and in many cases have started their own families. With roughly $20 billion to spend, Millennials are the living generation with the most spending power. Understanding your “Who” Smart strategy and positioning work always starts with understanding the “who” and their situation. Understanding a few key attributes about Millennials will significantly increase the effectiveness of marketing and selling to this demographic. Millennials value convenience According to Technomic’s Generational report, when millennials order from restaurants, they’re dining in just 42% of the time. Other restaurant visits are made up of takeout (40%) and delivery (18%).  That means that your products and packaging must be built to travel to be successful with this market. Millennials are digital! They value a robust, intuitive restaurant website with all the relevant information they need. They expect you to have social media accounts, and to be able to order and follow up directly from their mobile device all while having a seamless carry out experience. Millennials like to share When asked about their dining habits, 75% of the millennials indicated they valued the “experience” of eating the food far more than the nourishment. Millennials are more willing to pay for experiences over products than their prior generations.  This reinforces the importance of creating products and packaging that travel well. Millennials will purchase more often from you if you provide them an easy way to share their meals with friends and family. Millennials love their devices Millennials use technology to do just about everything and expect the companies and services they use to “meet them” on the devices they’re using. If you aren’t offering on-line ordering you are missing a significant opportunity to market to this group of influential consumers. Millennials want a custom experience Beyond taste and freshness, customization is key for millennials, as 44% say that the ability to customize their meal is an important attribute when choosing where to dine. Customization doesn’t just refer to adding or omitting ingredients, but being able to choose a smaller or larger portion size based on how hungry (or not) they are. Millennials are different users of media Millennials tend to be different media users than their predecessors. When allocating your media budget you need to make digital media a priority. Gone are the days when TV, Radio, OOH and Print would suffice. They are still relevant in many cases but digital has to take a significant place on your media platform. Your website must be mobile optimized with online ordering. You need to take a serious look at a mobile app that features menu items, on-line ordering, store locators and possibly a loyalty component (if only a surprise and delight feature). Influencer marketing, social media, email, video, SEO/SEM and remarketing are all part of an effective digital approach. As you can see, marketing to Millennials means being very dialed in on their “who”.  They are a huge market that is moving through the sweet spot for QSR and Fast Casual operators. These tips will help as you think about how best to capture your share of Millennials. About the author: Tom Allen is a restaurant and consumer goods marketing and brand development consultant with over 20 years experience in the restaurant industry. For 16 years he led the marketing for the iconic mid-western Skyline Chili brand.  His passion is helping brand owners align around their brand benefits and communicate them to consumers in a compelling fashion. You can reach him at:

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