Guest Post: Engaging the 50 Percent – Rewarding Millennials and Gen Zers

By Jonathan Price, CEO, Virtual Incentives

millennial-shoppingFrom live video and Snapchat, to virtual reality and wearables, brands are working hard to capture the fickle attentions of generations that were born and raised on digital. No conference, conversation, article or study is complete without at least a mention of these under-35 consumers, made up primarily of the Millennial and Gen Z generations. They are powerful and they are driving the future of brand marketing. Together, they represent half the U.S. population, and their clout as a consumer force is indisputable. But how do we engage these roughly 160 million people in the United States alone?

A multi-channel, integrated approach to reaching this demographic is absolutely essential: brands need to be everywhere, at every stage of the purchase process. In addition, they need to focus more than ever on standing out from the crowd and creating experience-based relationships with this influential age group.

One way to do this is through rewards and incentives. Not your grandma’s rewards – that won’t do for these forward thinkers. Instead, rewards need to be digital, thoughtful, fast and customized to align with what Millennials and their younger counterparts are demanding from every interaction in their lives. So when a company is exploring a new rewards solution, there are several things to consider in order to capture this important 50 percent of the population:

  • Technology: These generations expect technology to simply work – so you’d better make sure that it does. Choosing a reward that is technology enabled and can provide a seamless user experience is vital. Not only should the solution work on the back-end with existing systems or a simple integration on the company side, but the recipient needs to see technology at work for them from receipt to redemption. Anything smacking of clunkiness or complications with extra steps is unacceptable.
  • Mobile: While mobile is a technology-based concept, it deserves its own bullet. Our on-the-go society demands that consumers be met on their own turf, on their own time. Using a mobile-first approach to reach those estimated 2.6 billion smartphone users around the world will allow younger generations to complete the reward process in a place they feel most comfortable – on their phones.
  • Customizable: Millennials and Gen Z are not a one-size-fits all group of people. The right rewards program will provide consumers with the option to choose the retailer, amount and look/feel of the virtually delivered card. Not only does this benefit the consumer, but the company providing the card can also customize branding to reinforce its own messaging and goals.
  • Instant: The name of the game today is instant gratification. With attention spans at an all-time low, no one is willing to wait for anything anymore – especially the digital generations. Virtual cards fulfill this need with impeccable timing.

It’s time to stop trying to make old methods for incentivizing fit with today’s audiences. Millennials and Gen Z need an instant answer to the “what’s in it for me” question or they will be lost from the outset. They require rewards and incentives that are technology-based, instant and customizable. Going digital, mobile and paying attention to the user experience can help deliver incentives that resonate.

Virtual Incentives is an industry leading incentive platform that enables businesses to reward in a way that is simple, cost-effective, secure, reliable, green and, most importantly, instant.

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