The Age Of Environmentalism

eco-pencil-1000We have a new generation of buyers.  Buyers that are concerned about the environment; buyers that care about human rights; and buyers that look for the same in the companies they work with.  And those companies that demonstrate an overarching message of corporate social responsibility (CSR) are winning the affection and trust of those consumers.

According to an industry study, in the age group 18-35, 58% of end-users are more likely to have a favorable opinion of companies buying and distributing eco promotional products – more than any other age bracket.  And it’s not just what the product is made of that this generation cares about.  You can’t just say your stuff is eco-friendly because it’s a mug and not a one-time use paper cup.  Most people of the millennial generation are smarter than that.  They want to know about the product materials; the ability to recycle the item when it’s outlived its use; energy usage; and even fair labor practices.

Their concern with the environment is part of their culture, and as they enter into the upper echelons of the workforce, millennials are poised to stoke the growth of the eco category as buyers of all types of products and services.  So what types of promotional products would appeal to this audience without killing the corporate marketing budget?  See below for a few of the many eco product ideas that work in the office or at home.

  • Reusable, recyclable tote bags
  • Bamboo flash drive
  • Reusable, recyclable travel mug
  • Recycled organic cotton t-shirt
  • Corn plastic letter opener
  • Recycled microfiber cell phone stand
  • Recycled polycarbonate sunglasses

The values shared between customer and company are the building blocks of long-term partnerships.  If your company wants to win over this growing customer segment, consider eco friendly promotional products as one more tool to help support your branding message.

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Marketing To Young Buyers

y_zThere are 93 million millennials – otherwise known as Generation Y – in the US.  That group now represents the largest segment of the American workforce.  With the oldest members being in their mid-30’s, they will be a dominant force for a long time.  But right behind them is Gen Z – with 70 million members in the college and high school scene – which will soon be a factor for any company looking to promote and sell to that market as well.

As with any customer demographic, there is a unique dynamic to these young buyers.  Marketing through emails and videos; giving youthful products that appeal to this tech- savvy group; and keeping the retail styles in mind when picking out headwear and apparel are all solid guidelines for appealing to the under-40 crowd.  It’s a matter of giving something that is “cool enough”- the latest and greatest – and not something that they have received multiple times in the past (swap the white cotton tee for a bella+canvas black heather tee).

The stats – courtesy of Pew Research Center – that support the theory:

  • By 2020 40% of all consumers will be from Gen Z
  • About 40% of Gen Zers say corporate offices are their preferred workplace
  • The average GenZer has the attention span of about 8 seconds
  • By 2025 millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce
  • 90% of millennials check their emails, texts and social media accounts before getting out of bed
  • More than 60% of millennials stay updated on brands through social media
  • 77% of millennials participate in loyalty reward programs
  • Millennials consistently spend more than other generations on fitness-related products

Young buyers are the future – prepare to understand what they want, and avoid what they don’t – if you don’t, someone else will!

Marketing To Millennials? Get Practical

 

chairIt happens to everyone and the millennials are no exception – they are getting older.  But what’s more important to marketers, these older millennials have become a strong economic force with 95% employment and an average income of nearly $50,000.  They are the most up-to-date generation with the tech gadgets, but when buying cars, they choose used and practical over new and flashy.  They elect to buy a home rather than rent (over half of US home buyers are under the age of 40), and they are committed to practicality and convenience.

So, when purchasing or receiving promotional merchandise, this pragmatic generation is looking for more practical items that work well with their lifestyles.  The branded light-up bouncing balls and refrigerator magnet photo frames of yesteryear have been displaced by glassware, kitchen cutlery and CO2 alarms.  Flashlights have always been popular, but now they are part of a safety kit or given in tandem with a auxiliary light that comes on when the power fails.  Folding camp chairs that can double as sideline soccer game chairs are popular, as is anything that relates to the millennials’ passion for their pets.  Folding bowls that attach to water bottles for a portable hydration station and containers that include plastic bags for clean-up are practical gifts that will be used and appreciated.

Now that millennials outnumber baby boomers, it makes economic sense to track their distinctive likes and dislikes.  And when marketing to this demographic, if you remember to ditch the bobblehead for a more useful gift like a BBQ set or tech organizer case, you’ll make a brand impression that will translate to more loyal customers.

 

 

Generational Marketing

different-heights-01Marketing tactics and media outlets will differ depending on the target audience, so in order to reach those buyers effectively marketers must look at the data to properly design their strategy.  The latest market data for Millennials, Gen Xers, baby boomers and the Silent Generation may surprise you, but the information is a valuable tool for all companies looking for more powerful ways to sell their products and services.

As a guide for this discussion, it may be helpful to know the age definition of the generations marketers are trying to reach.  According to a 2011 Pew Research report, the four target generations can be defined as follows:

  • Millenials:  Born between 1977 and 1992 (age 37 and younger)
  • Gen X:  Born between 1965 and 1976 (age 38 – 49)
  • Baby Boomer:  Born between 1946 and 1964 (age 50 – 68)
  • Silent Generation:  Born between 1928 and 1945 (age 69 – 86)

Millenials:  A UBS survey earlier this year determined that Millenials are still traumatized from the 2008 financial crisis.  Morley Winograd, co-author of Millenial Momentum: How A New Generation Is Remaking America, states “There’s a very clear indication in the market that the effect of the Great Recession on that generation’s psyche is not going away”.  Bottom-line:  Companies need to offer a better bargain, without sacrificing quality or innovation.  Think about giving useful items like a phone charger to catch the attention of this demographic.

GenX:  A 2013 study by the MetLife Mature Market Institute revealed that members of Generation X are especially health-conscious.  Other studies find that they are appreciative of creativity and function – in other words, they love useful things that look cool.   A stylish pen or anything related to technology are good bets for promotional items designed to reach this contingent.

Baby Boomers:  Comprising half of America’s population by 2017, this group is most passionate about the environment.  According to Brent Green & Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in baby boomer-oriented marketing, Earth Day and Whole Foods were founded by older boomers, at the beginning of a eco-conscious movement that started in the ’60’s and ’70’s.  Organic, eco-friendly products are a must for this group.

Silent Generation:  According to the latest US Census data, people 65 and older control 75% of the country’s wealth, along with 70% of its disposable income.  This generation thinks more about the grandchildren than themselves, and are likely to take time to travel to destinations they didn’t have the time or money to visit earlier in their lives.  Travel necessities or a daypack for the grandkids will be appealing to these folks.

When you consider the data, and allow for the differences between the age groups, generational marketing allows you to speak to your audience in their own language.   Try tailoring your marketing message and enjoy the benefits of a more loyal, engaged client base.

Gen Y and The Corporate Brand

Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 2000) is now estimated to be the largest consumer group in US history.  That age group provides an astounding 80 million potential buyers, referred to as Millenials, who are confident, connected and open to change.  (Source:  Pew Research Center)

This generation is well-educated, digitally saavy and more passionate about causes they care about.  With a generational personality like that, corporations need to embrace the idea that free t-shirts and branded sling bags alone are not going to drive the desired behavior.  In terms of product choices, there are numerous options that will appeal to the Gen Y consumer.  But without a focused marketing strategy aimed at truly engaging the recipient, that giveaway alone will be just another piece of swag (“stuff we all get”).

Consider some of the following characteristics about Generation Y when designing a brand strategy aimed at this group:

  • Embrace all things digital – 90% use internet; 75% use social networking
  • More highly educated – 54% have at least some college education
  • Eco-consious – 53% buy green products; 36% buy organic foods
  • More likely to exercise – 68% of men vs 48% of women
  • Support consumer activism – 34% buy a product when they agree with the company’s social values

Source:  Pew Research Center

Companies like Apple, Red Bull and Toms have been enormously successful in marketing to these young consumers.  They market through appealing product design, high energy engagement and social awareness.  Regardless of the product, the concept is the same.  Give a gift that appeals to the tech saavy recipient; sponsor a local marathon, bike-a-thon or walk-a-thon; or tie in a campaign with a social cause.  The corporate logo can be attached to almost anything – just be sure that the message that logo inspires promotes the action your company intended!