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With over 80 million Millennials in the US alone, brands recognize the importance of shifting focus to this group. However, doing so often proves challenging, because many of the selling tactics that worked in the past are turnoffs for Millennials.

To create connections with this increasingly important consumer demographic, CPG brands must understand the mindsets of Millennial shoppers and what influences their buying decisions.

When marketing to this digital generation, CPG brands must first understand that Millennials are far more likely to shop online for CPG products than older generations, which shop mainly in the store. In fact, more than half of online CPG transactions are conducted by Millennials, and the digital shelf may well be the only shelf where your products are seen by Millennials they make the purchase.

CPG marketers should also be aware that Millennials don't like to be "advertised at," whereas generations before them were raised on television, radio, and print ads.

In the next 10 years, Millennials will spend $65 billion on CPG products, and they are more aligned with brands than with retailers. Here are five ways that CPG brands can maintain and grow that alignment over the next decade.

1. Prioritize mobile for everything

Today's consumers have their mobile devices with them at all times, and it comes as no surprise that Millennials make up the largest segment of smartphone users. Even inside a traditional supermarket, Millennials use their phones, where their shopping list is likely to reside; it's also a tool they use to learn more about products, deals, and reviews.

Marketing to Millennials means that mobile-friendliness is no longer optional; it's mandatory for CPG brands. In fact, Millennials are at least twice as likely to engage via their mobile device during the path from discovery through purchase than the population overall.

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image of Jennifer Silverberg

Jennifer Silverberg is the CEO of SmartCommerce, where her international team provides simple tools to help major CPG brands such as P&G, Unilever, and Nestle own and drive their customers' buying experience.

LinkedIn: Jennifer Silverberg