By: Alp Uysal; Head of Strategy, Technology, Sustainability & Public Affairs for Ericsson Middle East & Africa
As millennials come to dominate the consumer landscape across every industry, brands will be hard pressed to drive the digital engagement that will help them prosper.
According to the most recent installation of Ericsson’s biannual Mobility Report, as 5G wireless technology is rolled out, millennials will become the largest generational segment and in their prime years of consumer spending. As the youngest members of the millennial cohort – those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s— have begun to enter the workforce, in turn accumulating more disposable income, this generation has been shaping up to become the most valuable generation by global marketing standards. Arguably the most influential consumer contingent to date, it’s no wonder why the efforts to target and capture the revenue potential associated with the millennial segment is pervasive.
As millennials move into their prime spending years, their impact on industry and the economy will be unprecedented. They are already disrupting business in new ways with their shifting buying habits and unique purchasing priorities. Unlike the generation before them, millennials are avoiding large purchases and long-term investments in favor of buying experiences, comforts, and convenience. In the same vein, they have spurred the formation of the sharing economy, engendered by companies like Spotify, Uber, and Airbnb, as their hierarchy of needs evolves from that of the generations before them.
Among their most defining characteristics, however, are millennials’ technological aptitude and fierce brand loyalty – a pair of mutually dependent traits in today’s ultra-connected world. The millennial cohort is thoroughly digitally dependent, having come of age during the same decades that smartphones and the internet began to permeate every aspect of modern life. In the same stride, millennials have turned to the internet and social media to inform their purchasing decisions and brand awareness. Given that millennials were the first generation to grow up entirely in the internet age, their tendency to consult online reviews and to compare products and prices online comes naturally.
Beyond engaging with fellow purchasers online, millennials also have an affinity for brands with a favorable online presence. In recent years, digital branding on social media has become paramount for millennials, with brands keeping their customers updated and invested via social networks. What’s more, when brands do more than merely exist online – making an effort to actually engage with their consumers via email and social media – millennial buyers are significantly more likely to invest in their products. In the age of the millennial market, buyers want brands to connect on a human level through gestures like responding to customer service emails, tweeting back about customer experiences, and replying to comments on Facebook.
As millennials increasingly redefine the consumer marketplace as a whole, brands must embrace the changes associated with a digitally-driven generation dominating the modern business landscape. In order to build sustainable businesses around the millennial market, digital engagement is vital; and as branded content and assets become increasingly digital, tailored to a younger and more technologically-savvy audience, the ability to establish a strong digital brand will make or break enterprises’ success.
The function of digital engagement is to utilize technology to create more appealing, engaging, and personally relevant consumer experiences that foster lasting relationships, better customer satisfaction, and ultimately, more sustainable sources of revenue. It is the adaptation of traditional branding tools and tactics to be used in the digital marketplace – a space that everyday becomes less distinguished from the physical marketplace. Digital engagement in business today is the lifeblood of any successful brand, and it is a vital component of business sustainability.
In order for brands to adapt to the needs of the millennial consumer base, their digital presence must be backed by a technical and operational backbone that facilitates the rapid creation and delivery of assets, curated for specific audiences based on criteria like their location, activity, history, device or service. The art of digital engagement depends heavily on the availability of technological tools and digital resources supplied by ICT operators that enable the expert utilization of them as a means to a market-specific end. In line with this, Ericsson – one of the world’s leading providers of ICT – has developed a product portfolio designed to help brands connect with the increasingly valuable millennial generation.
With increased network intelligence and efficiency from Ericsson, brands will be better equipped to meet millennials’ high expectations for immersive and interactive content and assets. Additionally, organizations will benefit from network automation that simplifies operational processes and helps industries digitalize in the face of the millennial-led technological transformation. In an evolving consumer landscape defined more and more by millennial participation in tandem with digitalization, Ericsson is providing the connected solutions that will help brands stay ahead.
In a world where business and industry are increasingly dominated by the ever-disruptive millennial generation, digital engagement is a crucial tool in building a sustainable business. With a continually growing sum in millennial spending power on the line, brands will be hard pressed to embrace the digital engagement that will make or break their business in the coming years — and Ericsson will be a driving force behind this evolution