Marketers in every segment are well aware that the millennial demographic is a primary target for their efforts, comprising 80 million Americans and an annual spend of over $600 billion, according to Retail Solutions Online. However, appealing to generation Y is easier said than done, considering the fast-moving trends that have enveloped all aspects of consumer culture for this age group. Furthermore, millennials are more than twice as likely than previous generations to embrace next-gen technology, affirming that brands need to step up their digital marketing strategy.
While many of these trends exist online and in the form of mobile devices, millennials are also highly influenced by in-store tech, namely the visual and informational value of digital signage. Here's a five-step strategy that will help brands properly deploy and optimize their signage assets to deliver a high-impact experience for today's choosy millennial shoppers.
1. Diverse content types: For millennials, "boredom is punishment," according to Retail Solutions Online. This means that digital signage must feature a rich and relevant variety of content types that constantly refresh to avoid repetitive cycles. The source suggested experimenting with different styles of slide shows and video arrangements, as this will keep viewers guessing as to what will come next. Brand strategists should also consider incorporating live XML and RSS feeds that display up-to-the-minute news and weather throughout the day.
"Include a rich and relevant variety of content types to keep millennials engaged."
2. Social media connection: Arguably the most definitive millennial trend, social media now plays a central role in all facets of digital marketing strategy. Retail Solutions online pointed out that 63 percent of gen Y members stay informed about their favorite brands using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and the "like" is becoming a currency unto itself. That's why digital signage coordinators should not hesitate to include social media elements into their content strategies, as this will compel viewers to engage with the material on a more personal level.
3. Touchscreen engagement: While past generations of consumers may have been pleased with simply viewing signage content from afar, millennials want to interact with the technology in a way that mirrors their experiences with personal devices such as smartphones and tablets. That's why touchscreen strategies are gaining such momentum in the world of digital signage, giving generation Y an engaging and individualized in-store journey that can't be replicated online. Brands must therefore ensure that their digital signage software tools are ready for this new standard of interaction.
4. Experience enhancement: Attractive visual displays and touchscreen functions may be fun novelties, but millennials expect their shopping experiences to be truly be improved by the presence of digital signage. Retail Solutions Online explained that next-gen signage systems are location sensitive, offering way-finding capabilities to consumers seeking direction around a store or larger shopping area. Many strategists are also looking to capitalize on the ubiquity of smartphones by coordinating on-screen recommendations with unique customer data found in these devices.
"Millennials have an unprecedented affiliation for technology, and as such are especially susceptible to digital marketing," explained a blog article from MayoSeitz Media. "The generation is more than 200 times more likely than the average shopper to be influenced by smartphone apps when making brand decisions."
5. Embrace experimentation: While the suggestions above may guide a brand in the right direction, there is no tried-and-true method to mastering millennial engagement with digital signage. For this reason, strategists need to track the impact of their campaigns with strong analytics tools and tweak their approaches accordingly. Only then will a brand be able to truly set itself apart from the rest with unique signage displays and functions.