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How to connect your business to Millennials

How to connect your business to Millennials

It’s official: Millennials are changing the (consumer) world.

A report from management consulting firm McKinsey & Company shows what younger consumers expect as they buy and engage with brands. The study focuses on beauty brands, but its findings can be applied to any company that sells to younger buyers.

Millennials were born from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, so today they are anywhere from their late teens to their mid-30s. The older ones were born before the internet and all its opportunities were widespread, but they all now communicate, shop and entertain themselves online.

They also are much more willing, according to McKinsey, to try new brands. They respond less to traditional advertising and want to engage with stories involving brands.

New is in, old is out

Not coincidentally, internet-inspired communication – such as social media, blogs, video and even email – are excellent ways to tell stories and connect directly with individuals.

According to McKinsey’s research, millennials are:

  • Three times more likely than baby boomers to assume that newer brands are better or more innovative and three times more likely to say they typically learn about new products or brands from social media.
  • They expect to be able to try anything once — free of charge. And they want the experience to be fun and prefer informal interactions.

McKinsey quoted the WaR Agency, a London-based marketing firm, which says that seven out of ten people surveyed said they want to learn about products through content rather than advertising.

The findings mean that entrepreneurs working to build an audience, and therefore customers, need to create relationships with younger consumers. You can do this by telling your story on your website, and encouraging consumers to sample your products — and then talk about them on their favorite social media.

Make consumers part of the story

Doing so not only introduces your product to consumers, but creates an experience and even gives customers a sense of ownership in your company’s growth.

The approach is working in the beauty market. From 2008 to 2016, new brands grew by 16 percent a year, four times as fast as legacy companies.

Let’s work together to market your products and services to the largest number of consumers possible. Contact me at or (203) 491-2814 and we’ll talk about how to work together to increase your sales.

Imagine your best customer, and stop marketing to everybody else

Imagine your best customer, and stop marketing to everybody else

No matter how great your product is, and despite your devotion to customer service, most people won’t buy what you sell.

A common mistake of entrepreneurs, however, is to try to appeal to everybody, assuming that anybody is a potential customer.

That approach is not the most efficient, and it will dilute the message of who you really are — which makes it that much more difficult to show potential customers what you can do for them.

Best customer forever

As an exercise, describe your best friend. Mine is not just a female who lives in Manhattan. No, she’s fun, likes movies and an occasional drink. She enjoys shopping for clothing, but not groceries, so she eats out a fair amount. She has a driver’s license but doesn’t own a car. Go a little deeper and you will find she is an avid baseball fan. But her team is the San Francisco Giants, because her grandmother rooted for the Giants, even after they left New York in 1958.

Car rental companies can attract my friend’s interest, but car manufacturers never turn her head. She will investigate a new restaurant near her home and she has been looking into the many new companies that will deliver fresh food to her apartment. She subscribes to and watches Giants highlights on her phone. She comments on social media about their biggest wins.

Can you describe your ideal customer to that level of detail?

If not, let’s start.

Who wants what you sell?

Why would this person buy your product? Does it make life easier or does it enhance their own business? How much does that customer know – or want to know — about your product? Do they involve themselves with its implementation, or instead do they just want it to work without worrying about it? Do you have customers for whom cost is no object, and others who look for every bargain?

And if one is much more profitable for you, how do you get more of them and fewer of the other?

Not only do personas help you communicate with your existing customers, and find the most profitable ones, but a deep understanding also can help you address churn, or the phenomenon of customers who buy, and then leave you for someone else.

If you are just starting out in business, create personas that reflect who you think your ideal clients should be. You might believe your sweet spot is made up of homemakers, architects and artisan coffee brewers. Determine their comfort with technology and whether they will drive to your office or work only online. What is their income range, age and gender? Giving them names might help you build an even stronger connection.

Longer-term companies can survey their existing clients. It’s one more way to communicate with your customers, and offers an opportunity to know and describe them in greater detail.

Happy customer, happy entrepreneur

The results might surprise you, too. Perhaps you will create an entirely new persona for your ideal customer, add another one or two, or tailor a better sales message.

At the same time, you will stop pursuing customers who are unlikely to ever buy from you. You can stop selling to everybody and anybody, because you understand them — and your perfect customer — much better.

Why you need to understand Europe’s new website standards

Why you need to understand Europe’s new website standards

Why you need to understand Europe’s new website standards

By now, you have become accustomed to a message at the bottom of websites you visit that reads similar to the following:

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; others help us improve the user experience. By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Learn more

The message is the result of the General Data Privacy Regulation, or GDPR, put in place by the European Union. You may wonder why the all-American website you are viewing needs to comply with an EU rule: Because it’s the Internet, and folks over in Europe are watching us, buying from us and sometimes even answering our questionnaires.

That last part, in which we gather information about customers and potential customers, is what requires U.S.-based companies to protect themselves from stiff penalties that could result from violating GDPR rules.

And it is what you should consider – even if you work by yourself and don’t intentionally appeal to Europeans.

One more point: The rules set out in the GDPR are intended to improve transparency for consumers. Transparency helps customers understand what you do, and decreases their tendency to think you are somehow deceiving them. In other words, following the general intent of the GDPR guidelines is a good business practice, even if you aren’t bound by the technical rules.

The basics

Under GDPR, a business must get permission from website visitors to collect their information. It must also keep that information secure for a required period of time (which may depend on where your business is based), and ensure that any vendors that you share the information with also protect it.

The GDPR will also keep an eye on what kind of information you collect. If you are only asking for name, email and name of business, you will be OK. If you ask questions about religion, spouses and similar personal information, you may be violating the law.

Who needs to worry

Most small businesses probably won’t be targeted by the GDPR rules, which are realistically aimed at multinational corporations and companies doing business within the borders of the European Union.

But you might be surprised when you look at where some of your traffic originates. It’s as easy, of course, for someone in France to access your site as it is for someone in your hometown. You will probably only be notified of a GDPR violation, however, if you collect personal information as you fill your sales funnel, and then find that many of your potential customers are citizens of the EU.

On the other hand, keeping track of your customer information is always a smart idea, whether you sell overseas or not. You are also likely to get more customers, and earn their loyalty, if you are clear about how you handle any information they give you, and that you can keep your promise to safeguard it.

Bingley helps customers build attractive, effective websites. Call us with your questions about whether you need to comply with GDPR or want to improve your customer communication.