Attention Marketers: Millennials Like to Win Prizes, Too!

By: Scott Waldron, President NCH and Managing Director, Valassis International
Published Wednesday, Sep 14, 2016



Attention Marketers: Millennials Like to Win Prizes, Too!

We live in a fast-paced world where marketers place great focus on capturing the attention of millennials and creating an environment that activates them to purchase a product or utilize a service. To better understand the marketing tactics that typically trigger this group, one of our consumer packaged goods (CPG) clients observed and studied the behavior of a typical millennial consumer for a week. While some of the behavior observed might not be all that surprising, the case study did have a few potentially unexpected findings about the types of promotions and media most effective to reach, motivate and impact this group.

Below are some key findings from one day of observation:

  • The consumer started her day utilizing a Groupon to get a discount on a hot yoga class in her neighborhood with a group of friends and coworkers;
  • She then visited a local coffee house using an app to purchase a skinny latte;
  • Next, Uber was utilized to travel across town to attend a client meeting (as a side-note, the driver used Waze to quickly and efficiently navigate the morning’s traffic);
  • While en route, she stopped at the pharmacy and used the store app to obtain an offer for two tubes of mascara for the price of one;
  • Finally, using Open Table, she made reservations for lunch for herself and two clients at an uptown bistro and “Ubered” over to the restaurant to meet them.


Similar behavior occurred on a daily basis throughout the week as consultants observed the millennial consumer.

At the end of the week, the consultants debriefed with the young woman and listed the activities and interactions they witnessed over the course of their observation. They discussed coupon usage, mobile wallet applications, transportation options and offers that appealed to her to gain an understanding about why each worked.

They then discussed promotion options and offers that did not interest her and why. Reasoning for or against taking advantage of a promotion seemed to be based on convenience and areas of interest, but regardless, the offer had to be compelling enough for her to act. One interesting point was that the consumer felt sharing personal information online in order to enter a game was over the top – she was wary of unwanted email and text traffic this type of promotion might generate. In her words, it wasn’t worth the hassle to enter.

When asked what she thought of sweepstakes promotions, this millennial preferred the instant gratification of an in-pack/on-pack game and felt it provided a reason to purchase a product over that of a competitor. With an in-pack/on-pack game, she immediately knows whether she’s won, what she won, and how to claim the prize with minimal effort and no negative follow-up.

Lesson learned: sometimes tried and true, traditional approaches are the most effective and successful marketing tools (even for the younger generation) to call consumers to action and move product off the shelves into shopping carts.

Oh, and millennials like to win prizes, too!