Is social media changing millennials’ views of brands as followers and as customers?
This is the question I have been working on answering all year long with Professor Akinc. What started off as a research paper for Professor Gallaugher’s TechTrek turned into a year long independent study in the marketing department.
And now, as the second semester winds to a close, I find myself in the midst of notes from interviews with retailers and marketers, journal articles, and data from a survey I launched.
The results aren’t in—yet. But I have learned about a few new trends that are affecting our generation. We (Millennials) will spend $200 billion annually by 2017 and over our lifetime we’ll drop a casual $10 trillion into the economy. So to say that brands are interested in gaining a share of our wallet is an understatement.
Share of Wallet is a metric that argues that instead of measuring customer loyalty by satisfaction or Net Promoter Score, companies should measure what proportion of consumers’ dollars they have (“share of wallet”).
In fact, loyalty as a whole is under increased scrutiny.
When you think of brand loyalty, you may think of the traditional image. The high spending consumers who shop exclusively at certain stores. They own the brand’s credit card. They get special treatment at the stores and exclusive offers and discounts. Such view is considered transactional based loyalty.
What about the consumers who “like” your brand on Facebook, excitedly pin your products to their Pinterest boards, and comment on your Instagram photos? They might not be spending any money, or as much money as your highest spenders. But are they not still loyal? Social media has allowed for the growth of relationship based loyalty.
Maybe you’re loyal to a brand now in terms of following their profiles and perusing their website. But you haven’t bought an item yet because the products are slightly out of your price range or you don’t have a need for them yet. But when the time comes, you know that you’re going to buy that chic coat that’s more suited for a 28 year old on her way to work in the big city than a walk to Mary Ann’s. So shouldn’t a brand pay attention to you now even if you’re not a current customer? I think so. But how do they know that you’re going to become that valuable customer in the future? That’s the million dollar question.
Want to help share your feedback on brand loyalty in my study? You can participate in the survey here. It should only take five or so minutes, but it will help me get a few steps closer to answering these questions. I’d truly appreciate your time and I’ll be sure to report back my findings in my next blog post.
Are there any brands that you follow now on Instagram that you’re not a current customer of, but plan to make a purchase from in the future? How far away in the future are we talking about? I find this subject fascinating, so if you have answers or want to chat about it, let me know!