The face of marketing has changed completely for restaurants and cafes in the past decade. In 2009, only 20% of small business owners had a social media presence and it was limited to Facebook and LinkedIn. By 2013, a mere four years later, over 90% of small business owners had jumped onto the social media bandwagon. With change occurring so rapidly, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the pressure to constantly stay on top of the latest trends and all the new marketing techniques and technologies. One thing that hasn’t changed in the world of marketing however, is the importance of understanding your audience, and today that audience is the millennial generation.
Who is the millennial consumer?
Somewhere between the ages of 18 and 35, millennials are a new type of customer—socially aware, technology-dependent, and interconnected 24/7. They are predicted to be the biggest customers for all businesses — spending an average of $200 billion per year by 2017. Since over 60% of millennials visit restaurants at least once a week, we can see how a significant portion of this spending money will then be going directly to restaurant owners. Why is this important? Well, if restaurant owners take the time to understand the millennial mindset, they can not only boost sales, but also use this up and coming generation to further their marketing reach.
What does social mean to millennials?
The most important thing to recognize about millennials is that they are social, and incredibly so. The millennial generation is one that is connected beyond belief, not only online but in person as well. Millennials are more likely than any other generation to partake in activities as a group – whether it is eating out, shopping or travelling. And of course, their online presence is far from lacking. While eating out (with a group of friends, of course), many millennials will pause before digging into their meal to quickly snap a picture and immediately post it on either Snapchat or Instagram to share their experiences across the board. Parallel to this desire to share is the reliance of millennials on their friends or others in general, to make decisions. In order to decide what to buy, where to buy it, or where to eat, millennials often consult online sites like Yelp and Amazon to read reviews first.
Where is the big opportunity for restaurants?
These behaviors can be extremely useful for restaurant owners since millennials are more willing to promote restaurants or brands that they enjoy. If satisfied with an experience, millennials are the first to not only let all of their friends know about ‘an amazing new restaurant’ or ‘the best cupcake in San Francisco’, but also to encourage them to try it out as well. This can be a powerful marketing tool since 70% of millennials are also more excited about decisions made, if their friends agree with them.
If restaurants can find a way to capitalize on the millennials’ love for sharing experiences and constant interconnectedness, they can tap into a vast pool of potential new customers and change their marketing strategy for the better. One way restaurants can do this is by expanding their social media presence to incorporate social word of mouth of their customers. By doing this, restaurants can reach out to friends and contacts of all of their customers, which potentially, could be thousands of people — all for free. Once the audience is identified and well understood, designing an effective marketing strategy to attract and utilize this audience becomes incredibly simple.