Opinion: How to engage with millennials and gain monetisable insights

By David Peters, Founder and CEO, Emagine International

According to Beth Ann Bovino, Standard & Poor’s US Chief Economist, by 2020 millennials could account for $1.4 trillion in spending, or 30 percent of total retail sales.

With such growing economic power, it is vital that brands understand this audience in order to secure the future revenues of their businesses.

Shaped by new technology and social attitudes, the millennial generation has a more interactive relationship with companies and brands.

While brand loyalty may be strong in other sectors, amongst mobile providers it can be hard to win and easy to lose; Teen Youth Research revealed that a huge 44 percent of millennials are considering switching operators at any given time.

Operators therefore need to develop marketing strategies tailored to millennials’ needs and expectations. But how? 

Data is vital

Unlike previous generations, millennials have never experienced a world without the internet, and increasingly they shop, socialise and share content on mobiles. 

As a result, they expect to be constantly connected via their phones, with one in five relying exclusively on smartphones to access the internet according to comScore.

Offering attractive data packages provides a key means of attracting and retaining Millennial customers.

However, to avoid bill shock incurred through exceeding data limits, or to reward loyal customers, operators should look to offer micro-data packs, which enable customers to purchase small bundles of data in “bite-sized” amounts.

Personalisation matters

To generate the best results from micro-data packs, they should be personalised to the user’s own individual needs, and delivered in real time.

For example, operators can see the data usage of a customer, and identify one customer who is streaming video from YouTube vs. another who is a heavy Facebook user. 

The first interaction could be tailored: “At your current usage, you will run out of data in 2 minutes. Reply ‘yes’ to purchase our mega-data bundle for $3, and get unlimited video all weekend”. 

The second can be offered: “Switch to our Social Plan, and get unlimited access to Facebook for free”. 

Both decisions can be made in real-time for operators with the right architectures and tools in place, and reward the user for taking an action.

With millennials valuing both guaranteed rewards and instant and relevant benefits, offers such as these are perfectly tailored to attract and retain millennial customers. 

Alternatively, if data services simply continue at high “out of bundle” rates with no intelligent customer interaction, this will inevitably lead to bill shock, and drive customer dissatisfaction and damage to the operator’s brand.

New revenue opportunities

In addition to reducing bill shock and enhancing the customer experience, offering personalised and customised micro-data packs at exactly the right moment is proven to drive revenues for operators.

This method can also be utilised for credit, with messages and alerts being sent to users to let them know they’re nearing their limit and to provide them with the opportunity to top up.

Keeping friends close

As millennials are closely networked with friends and family via social channels and apps, offering deals for family and friends can be appealing and can provide a key incentive to switch operator.

This was highlighted in Teen Youth Research’s findings, with 77 percent of millennials saying that the fact their friends were using a new carrier was key to influencing their own decision to switch. 

Offering friends and family incentives is not a new concept for operators, however hooking into social networks to do so provides a new powerful capability and an excellent means of creating a strong customer experience for existing customers, while simultaneously helping to grow subscriber bases.

For example, imagine a Prepay top-up app that rewards customers and all their Facebook friends when they top-up within a certain period. 

Utilising the data at our finger tips

With millennials’ already substantial economic power on course to increase, it is vital that brands build an understanding of this demographic to ensure they are able to meet, and exceed, their expectations. 

In todays’ digital age, we have unprecedented access to a wealth of data; according to IBM, a huge 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone.

Operators are therefore able to utilise this data to build a comprehensive picture of their customers, and deploy personalised and targeted offerings to meet their own individual needs. 

While operators should do this for all cohorts, with millennials growing up surrounded by technology, personalised digital marketing has come to be expected, and any brands that opt to ignore this risk being left behind.

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