The 3 Things Millennials Want from a Rewards Program

two millennialsAt over 75 million strong, millennials dominate the U.S. population. This generation born between 1980 and 1996 holds around $1.3 trillion in spending power, according to Boston Consulting Group, and they haven’t even reached maximum earning power yet. Your brand needs to connect with millennials now – it’s crucial to the future of your business.

Building relationships now with millennials has immediate benefits, but it pays off even more in the long-term. Capture their attention early, and they could remain loyal to your brand for the rest of their lives, even passing on their love of your brand to their children. But, getting their attention now is tricky.

The age gap in the millennial generation is the root of many marketing communication issues. The 20-year olds could be at college with irregular daily schedules, limited budgets, and a single relationship status. On the other end of the spectrum, 36 year-olds could be married with a home, plenty of savings, and even children. And yet, from 20 to 36, this generation has enough common characteristics to be lumped together as ‘millennials’. What’s a marketer to do? It seems as though rewards programs couldn’t possibly account for the needs of every millennial.

Well, let’s not jump to conclusions. Think about some common characteristics within the demographic – millennials have short attention spans, expect brands to cater to their personal needs, and lead very busy lives. We could go into endless detail about these qualities, but basically it boils down to this: millennials demand that rewards programs are 1. Simple, 2. Relevant, and 3. Convenient. Let’s tackle #1.

Getting more millennials to enroll in your program means building a program that has a simple structure and therefore clear value proposition (don’t forget that naming your rewards program can be just as important as building it!). The first question a millennial (or anyone, for that matter) will ask when learning about your program is ‘What’s in it for me?’ It should take little to no time for a customer to calculate the benefit that the program offers to them. If the program contains a complicated points system or an unclear benefit, enrollment numbers will be affected. Low enrollment rates in turn create an unhealthy rewards program, according to the Loyalty Impact Model. Take a look:



Beyond that, we need to consider the preferences of your target audience. ‘Simple’ does not mean the same thing to everyone. What does it mean to your customers? To answer that question, you need data – and lots of it. You’d want to know how old they are, their average spend per visit, the time of day they usually visit, what menu items they usually order, whether or not they have children, how often they eat out in general, and more. If you’re building a new rewards program, this data should be the foundation of the program’s infrastructure. Or, if you already have a rewards program, use customer data to create promotions that are as relevant and effective as possible.

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