Millennials and the Importance of Transparency Marketing

February 23, 2017

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Consumers today know when they are being sold and it’s often a turnoff. According to a 2016 Food Revolution Study, 94 percent of consumers say transparency is important to their purchase decisions. In 2015, Pew Research Center estimated more than one in three workers in the US were Millennials, surpassing both Baby Boomers and Generation X. With a staggering 53.5 million Millennials in the workplace and having grown up in a world of advertising fatigue and brand saturation, Millennials are demanding transparency from brands like never before. Here are a few of the reasons companies are having to ramp up the transparency in their marketing efforts.

Millennials are the most connected generation in history

This connectivity is driving brands to be transparent like never before. Even to the point of poking fun at the way things used to be. Financial brands including Charles Schwab are embracing Millennials' connectivity and offering new services specifically geared towards how Millennials want to do business. And it’s why automotive brands, like Buick, predominantly skew sales to older consumers but are now offering more transparency before purchase with programs ... like their “24 hours of happiness,” which allows a potential buyer to test drive a car overnight.

Millennials are informed well before they intend to buy

Millennials don’t own homes, yet. But when they do buy homes they know what they want and high tech and customization are right up there with curb appeal. According to a 2015 Better Homes and Gardens survey, 57% of Millennials believe that smart technology is a good investment in their home, as opposed to only 35% of those surveyed age 55 and above. Marketers that can offer a customized buying experience for millennial preference will stand out. That’s also why home buying and selling services like Haus are popping up allowing for real-time information for all parties involved. Ultimately, it improves the user experience of buying a home and adds transparency to the entire process.

Millennials desire anything but “business as usual”

This is forcing companies to be more transparent. Those companies who market authentically and embrace transparency will definitely have an advantage when it comes to selling to Millennials but also landing the best millennial talent. Brands that can be transparent and educate will have a leg up to those new to the adult-world consumers. Millennials are passionate about their causes and more loyal to companies that are aligned with causes they believe in. Not to mention any brand that is honest comes across as more human, which is influential when it comes to customer loyalty especially with choosy consumers.

And if you are trying to land Millennial talent? You may want to consider things like transparency tours that allow potential employees a look behind the scenes before signing on, employee programs that allow Millennials to make a difference in society and programs that encourage work/life balance. Millennials have expectations that these types of programs are the new norm. It’s why companies like Ebay offer employees a sabbatical of four consecutive paid weeks off after five years of service in addition to their regular vacation time. Employees have been known to embrace their wanderlust, explore hobbies and come back with new passion for their company and career.

As the marketplace continues to rapidly change there will be continued opportunity for brands to honestly inform and educate these younger, yet influential, consumers. The key will be to deliver marketing that is transparent, authentic and not salesy. And finally, if nothing else, please remember while we may have the Millennials to thank for moving the needle on transparency in marketing, without Gen X we would never have had “Video Killed the Radio Star” and MTV.