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How to sell to a Kiwi Millennial

Want to sell to youth (and "youth-adjacent") people in New Zealand today? Then you better think differently, says Eventbrite's Brad McIntyre.

Arguably one of the most studied generations, we’re obsessed with picking apart the psyche of Millennials – those currently aged 18 to 34. Probably because they’re the first generation to really challenge the status quo in how we live and work; they’re the first ‘digital native’ generation, they brought us social media as we know it today and they’re rejecting old-school company loyalty in favour of flexible, changeable and meaningful careers.

They’re also not ‘growing up’ in the traditional sense - particularly Kiwi Millennials. While many are now in their thirties, have kids and are entering what’s typically referred to as their prime ‘spending years’, they’re not going out any less, and would rather put their money towards experiences over ‘things’.

A recent study by Crowd DNA in conjunction with Eventbrite found that New Zealanders overall are the biggest event-goers in the western world. In the past year, 93 percent of New Zealanders attended at least one live event, proving to be more socially active than our peers in Australia (88 percent), the UK (79 percent), and the US (78 percent). But it’s Millennials that are driving the trend; nine out of 10 Kiwi Millennials have attended at least one live event within the past 12 months, while 81 percent said they value events over possessions, compared to 74 percent in the UK.

This has real implications for local businesses. More than anywhere in the world, a New Zealand millennial rates meaning over ‘things’ and if they are going to buy something, it’s got to be a seamless, valuable and social ‘experience’. Arguably, it’s probably easier to be a travel agent than car salesman or real estate agent if you’re trying to sell to a Millennial. If much of your business involves selling to this generation of New Zealanders, here are some tips to apply to help win their trust.

Relate, don’t sell

Kiwi Millennials’ increased preference for live experiences is being driven by a strong desire to connect with people, our communities, and the world — and there’s no doubt the current social and economic climate is contributing to this uptick; things like climate change, the recent election, rising house prices and cost of living.

They care deeply about these causes and value brands that aren’t afraid to show they do the same.  

Before buying anything, Millennials have already price compared, crowdsourced opinions and dug up reviews on Google, blogs and social. Earning their loyalty requires more than a hard sell.

Don't be afraid to get personal (within reason) about issues affecting you or your business and share this with your stakeholders via social media. Alternatively, choose a cause to align your business with and share this among your customers. Just make sure it’s something you really care about so there’s no risk for fakery. Millennials will appreciate your brand’s human face.  

Also focus on educating your customer. If you’re trying to sell a house, don’t just push home loan products - create a step by step guide on the process of buying a house.

Get your technology right

Millennials are used to ordering food, catching a ride, talking with friends and booking overseas accommodation with a single swipe. Investing in the right technology is key to winning over this generation. Whether you’re selling a product, a service, or both, you need to be where your customers are and communicate in a way that suits them.

Whatever business you’re in, to sell to a Millennial the technology you use must be frictionless across any device.

Prove it and share it

Kiwi millennials are also hugely persuaded by their peers. In fact, 49 percent of Millennials attended live events just so they have something to share on social channels. Online interactions are both an inspiration and a pathway into real-life engagement for this generation, and businesses need to capitalise on this wherever possible.

Kiwi millennials want to crowdsource their consumer decisions, particularly through their social networks, and they value user-generated content. Customer testimonies, media mentions and case studies are great ways to ‘prove’ your product or service worthy that are also very shareable.

Incorporating events into your marketing strategy is another great way to improve your brand’s shareability. Quality photos and video content linked to hashtags encourage people to share and show off their attendance. Importantly, running an event doesn’t need to have anything to do with your business or what you sell – it’s about giving stakeholders something that’s useful to them and, by extension, forming a meaningful connection with your brand that they’ll want to tell their friends about.

Brad McIntyre is country manager for Eventbrite NZ.