What Millennials Want From a Rewards Program

Three elements that appeal to this young-adult demographic

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Connecting with millennials today is crucial to the future of your business. At more than 75 million strong, millennials dominate the U.S. population. This generation, born from 1980 to 1996, has around $1.3 trillion in spending power, according to Boston Consulting Group, and they haven’t even reached maximum earning power—yet.

The age gap in the millennial generation is at the root of many marketing communication challenges. The 20-year-olds could be at college with irregular daily schedules, limited budgets and a single relationship status. On the other end of the spectrum, 36-year-old millennials are likely to be married homeowners with children.

Do individuals from ages 20 to 36 really have enough common characteristics to be lumped together as a single target audience?

Researchers commonly cite the generation’s general characteristics as having short attention spans and an expectation for brands to cater to their personal needs and very busy lifestyles. It boils down to this: Millennials demand that reward programs are relevant, simple and convenient.

  1. Relevant: Millennials expect every interaction to be tailored to their preferences. To be relevant, brands need to collect and understand consumer data, from demographic information to behaviors and engagement preferences. Besides tailoring the content of a message to a customer’s individual needs, a savvy way to make messages relevant is to incorporate the notion of context. Relevant messages require the marketer to take several factors into consideration when planning out campaigns. Context includes time of day, location, weather, devices, past behavior, purchase history and channel preference. In a time when millennials are bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages a day, the key is making communications and the user experience relevant.
  2. Simple: There are two questions millennials will ask when learning about a rewards program: “What’s in it for me?” and “How much of my time will this take?” It should take little to no time for a customer to calculate the benefit that the program offers to them, and they should see a clear path to their first reward. If the program contains a complicated points system or an unclear benefit, enrollment numbers will be affected. The enrollment process also needs to be simple and easy so that it can be done quickly via mobile app or in store. If enrollment in the program takes too long, millennials will either walk away or be turned off by the program and not engage with it after enrolling.
  3. Convenient: Given the age difference in the millennial generation, it’s important to make your program available to them whenever and however they want it. The 20-year-olds are constantly on the go and always on their smartphones. But millennials with kids always have their hands full running around and may not have their phones with them at all times. Engaging with millennials means adopting a multichannel marketing strategy including email, push-and-pull messaging and social media.

Building relationships with millennials has immediate benefits, but it pays off even more in the long term. Capture their attention early, and they could remain loyal to your brand for the rest of their lives, even passing on their love of your brand to their children. However, getting their attention is tricky.Learn more about attracting millennials to your program by downloading the whitepaper “Marketing to Millennials.”