"Millennials are fickle."

It's a sentiment I hear all the time when discussing how to market to this coveted demographic. The perception is that Millennials lack loyalty. And in many ways, that seems to be true. Gone are the days of investing thirty years with the same company -- two out of three Millennials express interest in leaving their current employers in the next few years. Relationship loyalty is also in question. The popularity of dating apps has introduced perceived promiscuity and marriages for young adults are at a record low.

But perhaps their loyalty problem is misunderstood.

Take their employment, for example. While Millennial employment statistics are bleak, it's not about inherent disloyalty. According to research from Deloitte, seventy-one percent of young employees that are likely to leave their current positions in the next two years cited poor leadership skill development at their companies. The findings suggest that Millennials are interested in professional growth, and companies aren't doing enough to develop it. Fostering Millennial job loyalty may be as simple as investing in young employees as potential leaders by giving them resources to grow.

Relationship loyalty for the segment is also misleading. Despite the fact that there's a lackadaisical dating culture, exemplified by dating apps like Tinder, Millennials are actually less promiscuous than their Baby Boomer parents. And though Millennials are waiting longer to get married, divorce rates for the segment are declining. Sociologists suggest it may be because they're making one important move before tying the knot -- and that move is under the same roof. By moving in together, young adults engage honestly with one another without the space to always be their best selves. This authenticity may allow them to have a more honest look at themselves, their relationship and their potential marriage. The trends, while appearing to portray fickleness and an inability to settle down, actually support their future commitment.

When it comes to brands, there's a persisting idea that the demographic is elusive; however, research suggests that Millennials are among the most loyal customers. I reached out to CrowdTwist, an industry-leading loyalty platform, to help make sense of this contradiction.

"Our research indicates that Millennials are very brand loyal, so we wanted to get to the bottom of this misconception" says Geoff Smith, CMO of CrowdTwist. "What we found is that there is a profound shift in the way that Millennials perceive and engage with brands from previous generations. Millennial audiences want to be rewarded for all the ways they participate with a brand, including purchasing products, making recommendations, and engaging with brand content. So, naturally, the companies that rate their loyalty efforts as successful are engaging with their audience on multiple channels."

According to their newest report, a whopping eighty-eight percent of brands that rated their loyalty programs highest take this multi-channel approach.

CrowdTwist's platform ensures multi-channel engagement by offering industry-specific custom solutions and engagement-based rewards for an assortment of customer activities. TOMS, for example, rewards customers for an array of activities across channels, including shopping online, signing up for emails, connecting on social media, and even showing up to in-person events. In addition to TOMS, CrowdTwist backs loyalty programs for Pepsi, UFC, and Zumiez, among others.

"Because Millennials are very active on social and digital channels, they expect to be engaged and rewarded for activities on those channels," Smith continues. "It seems that this issue is not about disloyalty, at all. This is part of a changing technological ecosystem where brands simply need to adapt to stay competitive."

So, there you have it. What brands perceive as Millennial fickleness may, paradoxically, be their own aversion to change.

 

Published on: Jun 22, 2016