Ben Cohn [feature image} is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of mobile storage company TAXIBOX. Here, he shares his advice on shaping marketing strategies that engage with Millenials.
Some people still talk about ‘Millennials’ as one of the great marketing mysteries. As the leader of a business with that demographic comprising both our key customer base as well as the majority of our workforce, I don’t see it that way.
When we established TAXIBOX in 2010, we knew that reaching the 25-34 year-olds was going to be make-or-break for us. Renovating and relocating homeowners are a key audience for our USP of making storage more convenient, so we needed to absolutely nail what’s important to this group – particularly since our more established predecessors have done a reasonably good job targeting the older demographic.
Understanding any consumer group takes hard yards. Yes, the 25-34s are willing to walk on if they don’t get great service and a delightful experience. Everything needs to be digital-first, there needs to be ‘purpose’, etc. Much of this is true, but there’s more to it.
We prefer to avoid sweeping statements and rather understand that a demographic group includes people from all walks of life with many of the same needs and problems as you or I. The differentiator here is that this demographic has grown up with a different set of technologies and interpersonal communication services than their predecessors. Worth noting is that a similar phenomenon took place when the Baby Boomer generation grew up with access to telephones, and businesses had to work for decades to find the best ways to leverage that innovation.
It helps that the majority of our team members are themselves within that 25-34 group, although that’s far from an employment policy! We hire on good work ethic and attitude and yes – they can be found at all age groups!
From the outset, we embarked on extensive research and workshopping to create our brand guidelines, which are based around our audience persona, a fictional couple from Melbourne’s inner suburbs in their early 30s (based heavily on countless friends and acquaintances). All our communications – from billboards, radio and TV all the way through to our auto-response reservation emails – are based on what works for these inner-suburban dwellers. (Spoiler alert: – the feedback was NOT inundated with mention of mobile apps, social media lingo, or other ’Millennial’ tropes.)
So, did we crack the code for connecting with our target market? It seems we did, because 34% of traffic to our website now comes from the 25-34 demographic, which is 15% higher than the next bracket (35-44).
It’s pretty simple when you get down to it. Our customers want a great product that is smart and easy to use, and which makes them feel good. They want warm, responsive service that doesn’t waste their time. They don’t want marketing spin or excuses, just simple, clear communication.
Actually, the fundamentals of interacting with this group work for just about everyone. The stigma around Millennials in particular comes from being a generation raised in an era of convenience and instant feedback. If they don’t get the experience they’re looking for from your business, they’ll find someone else to deliver it – or start up and beat you at your own game.
The latter is what worked for me and my business partner after we saw the shortcomings of a self-storage industry that almost seemed to pride itself on being a bit old-fashioned and stand-offish – the fastest way to alienate an under-utilised market segment.
With that in mind, innovation became central to our business case. We baked technology that creates that feel-good experience and sense of control into every aspect of the customer journey, from fully automated bookings and a 3D storage calculator to live driver tracking and Bluetooth locking.
Yet while technology is one of our key plays (having bright yellow units that stand out like a beacon doesn’t hurt, either), we also made sure that if the customer wants to talk to us, we answer straight away. Not in customer service-speak that starts with ‘your call is important to us but unfortunately our records indicate that we are unable to service your request’ but more like, ‘Hi there, how can we help? Great. Let’s see if we can squeeze that in for you.’
We’re transparent about our pricing and clear in our communication – in fact, ‘Open TAXIBOX, No BS’ is one of our core company values. We’re also about keeping it uncomplicated because we know that moving, renovating or decluttering are already stressful life events.
We also find that modern consumers are far more likely to be swayed by verified peer reviews than by a brand that’s a ‘proud institution’ and doing things the same way for the past 80 years. We’re slightly obsessed with giving our customers every reason to five-star review us, and recommend us to their friends. We have monthly team meetings to sift through our reviews – good or bad – to further refine our processes and communication.
So the secret to marketing to ‘Millennials’ – for TAXIBOX, at least – isn’t really that much of a secret. Have a great product that solves a problem, use technology and forethought to give the customer an incredible experience, communicate simply yet effectively, and encourage them to tell others about the experience. Oh – and keep it fun.
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