“Purchasing behavior is the best predictor of purchasing behavior,” said David Rich, vice president, MasterCard Information Solutions, MasterCard Advisors, who discussed the challenges of marketing to the Millennial generation, or those aged between 16 and 33.

According to the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics, there are 15 million Millennials in the U.K., and they outnumber baby boomers. In the U.S. there are 78 million, and they too are greater in number than the boomers.

This story first appeared in the July 17, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Rich referenced a Boston Consulting Group study of the Millennials that broke them down into six subcategories, showing that a one-size-fits-all approach will not always be successful in targeting this, or for that matter, any other generation.

“When you are looking through your purchasing data, it ought to drive some insights. “Where is your customer spending outside of your brand? Are they spending more or less with the competition? Are they loyal?” he asked.

“Being able to identify that is a real key aspect of how you might want to identify cross-sell activity, retention activity; it might help frame the type of promotion you want to provide, to whom you might want to promote that and at what price point. This is about driving up ROI.”

Rich added that understanding purchasing behavior will help “to capture the share of the wallet you need from your customer base as they shift and change. The Millennials will grow up, and the technology available to them is not going to stay the same. The way you need to interact with them is not going to stay static either.”

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