The Biggest CX and Marketing Learnings From Millennial 20/20 Europe

The Millennial 20/20 Summit delved into the demanding and digitally-savvy generation of consumers, and how today's strategies of brands such as Revlon, PepsiCo and Aldo Group help them connect to Generation Y.

The consumer market is rapidly changing, from a more passive involvement of the customer to a far more demanding world, driven by a new generation of consumers: millennials. This digital-first, fast-paced, and savvy generation is demanding a change in the way they’re marketed to by brands and the customer experience they receive. But how can organisations keep up in this rapidly changing world?

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The Millennial 20/20 Europe Summit took place at the Old Truman Brewery in London this week, and over two days aimed to answer that burning question. Through case studies, insights and learnings from global brands such as Revlon, Air France, Aldo Group, Buzzfeed, Lego, Facebook, PepsiCo, BBC, and many more, attendees had the opportunity to hear real life examples of creating long-lasting relationships with millennials, from social media influencer marketing through to driving a seamless, integrated omni-channel experience.

CX Network attended a host of panels and presentations throughout the summit, live-tweeting the event, and taking notes for more in-depth pieces to follow in the coming weeks. As a sneak peek, here are some of the biggest learnings we took away from Millennial 20/20 Europe 2017.

Influencer Marketing Needs Authenticity

Jennifer Anton is the regional Marketing Director – EMEA of Revlon. In a panel discussion around digital in retail, she highlighted the key to creating successful influencer marketing partnerships. She said: “It comes down to mutual appreciation and authenticity; it’s a new way of working with ambassadors.”

Anton gave the example of the partnership with Gwen Stefani and said it’s been so successful because Revlon really respect Stefani as an artist, and what she’s doing. Vice versa, Stefani is naturally passionate about the brand, which creates a contagious and authentic message. Anton also touched upon the importance of micro influencers from local networks that stand even closer to the customer. The key, always, is that the partnership is authentic and builds on mutual admiration.

Alfie Deyes, a British social media influencer who has millions of followers on his YouTube channel PointlessBlog alone, echoed this sentiment. He said: “I only work with brands from which I believe in the ethos and the message, and I’d use anyway. It’s not a TV advert. Over 800,000 people a day watch my videos, they trust me. If I say I like something I don’t like they see though it. No amount of money can make me work with brand I don’t like. It’s about reaching a loyal, dedicated audience rather than getting a product in front of as many faces as possible.”

PepsiCo’s Digital Transformation Journey

Digital transformation has been a hot topic within customer experience and marketing in recent years, but what does this change actually look like within an organisation?

Becky Taylor, Senior Director Digital of Digital, took us on their digital transformation in scope and scale:

  • Before 2013 they were in the exploration phase as they implemented ad hoc leader-led digital initiatives and roles
  • 2013/2014 marked the test and proofing stage where they had a proof of concept and a cross-functional team in the UK
  • In 2015/2016 they build up the capabilities by making investments on a European level
  • And the plan for 2017/2018 is to accelerate the journey by embedding a digital culture in the way they’re working

Now there is a good foundation in place, but they definitely feel that they’ve only completed 1 per cent of the transformation thus far. The next goal will be to truly embed this way of thinking and working in the business culture. Having a cross-functional team unlocks a commercial digital advantage, Taylor said.

For PepsiCo this means bringing together eCommerce Sales, Digital Marketing and IT, to form ONE digital team. One standing for: Open (regular, transparent communications), Networked (collaborating to learn faster together), and Effective (empowering the team with joint goals).

“The digital agenda moves so fast, if we’re joined up we can move faster together and be more agile,” Taylor explained.

Generation Y? Step Aside For Generation Z!

Despite the name of the Summit, it wasn’t just millennials that were at the forefront of the strategies discussed. The next wave of customers, Generation Z, is also being taken into consideration. Nicholas F. Martire is the SVP North America & Call it Spring at the Aldo Group. In his presentation around managing global brands in the new age of retail he had a big focus on Generation Z.

He said that Generation Z are the first truly mobile generation that have a big focus on personal and authentic relationships. Where millennials use 3 devices on average, Generation Z uses 5. With 50 per cent of them spending 10 hours a day connected, they are the first real digital natives. However, with the content overload they receive through all these devices, their attention span is just 8 seconds and so content needs to be adjusted to be able to deal with this.

Controversially, Martire said that the term omni-channel is dead. Instead, at Aldo Group, they view their end user customer as channel agnostic. At Aldo Group they take the view that there needs to be a seamless experience wherever and whenever. The new generation of consumers don’t see channels, so why is there a focus on this and the term omni-channel?

The bricks & mortar store is also not dead, instead it’s a brand’s landmark and laboratory as Generation Z still values expertise. “Just look at online brands,” Martire said, “they are now rushing to open physical stores because that connection with the customer is so important.“

Martire said there needs to be an effortless transition when connecting from a marketing perspective, to stay authentic and relevant to Gen-Z-ers.