MasterCard’s David Rich on Reaching Millennials

As technology changes the way consumers live their lives, so does it affect the way marketers reach coveted groups.

David Rich

As technology changes the way consumers live their lives, so does it affect the way marketers reach coveted groups such as Millennials.

This story first appeared in the June 19, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

David Rich, vice president of North America sales and business development at MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard, said big data can provide a new look beyond the usual marketing parameters based on geography, demographics and psychographics. Specifically, MasterCard Advisors uses the data from 80 billion anonymous credit card transactions to better understand Millennials. Compared to the general population, for instance, Millennials spend three times more on beauty products and at department stores, 3.5 times more on shoes and five times more on women’s apparel. They tend to make more transactions but spend less per transaction. Furthermore, in 2011, Millennials between the ages of 16 and 34 numbered 79 million in the U.S., or 3 million more than the Baby Boomers, ages 47 to 65. By 2030, the number of Millennials will hold steady at 78 million, while the Baby Boomer population will diminish to 56 million.

Even within the Millennial segment, subgroups exist. Old-school Millennials who prefer to meet in person rather than connecting on Facebook and Millennials who like to live “clean and green” both make up 10 percent of the segment. The gadget-guru Millennials form 13 percent, whereas the anti-Millennials who are too busy taking care of their business and family, 16 percent. Millennial moms who love to work out, travel and pamper their baby make up 22 percent and the remaining 29 percent comprises Millennials who think they can make the world a better place. Millennials also leverage technology to do things differently, such as consuming media and shopping.

“Millennials typically will start watching a movie on one device and finish it three devices later,” Rich said. “The same is true with the shopping experience and the integration of the online shopping experience with the brick-and-mortar purchase.”

The challenge for marketers and brands, he said, is to determine “how do you focus on the clients that you want to have and retain the clients you’ve already got.” They also must keep abreast of the changes enabled by technology, which is only going to be accelerated. “Looking at purchasing behavior of your customers and what is relevant to them is a really good way of getting a better return on investment for your marketing spend,” he said.