Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2017

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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reaching gen y and z 9 10 your millennial consumers a way to engage with your outreach. Younger consumers expect diver- sity. "We are the most diverse generation in U.S. history," Beaudreau said. "We are so diverse we don't even see diversity until its missing. That's why your marketing must include diversity because if it doesn't, we feel as though something is off." The "all millennials act entitled" notion is a half-truth and under- standing that distinction is impor- tant to your business. Entitlement is a learned behavior and Beaudreau noted that, in many cases, it was caused by the baby boomers' desire for their children to have it easier than they had it. But it's important not to paint all millennials with the same brush as they actually split into two different generations after 30. One half hasn't really gotten traction in life, said Beaudreau. "We know they're not grownups yet." But the other half, he said, is doing all the things they're supposed to do—gradu- ating from college, working hard, making a lot of money, and spending it on your prod- ucts. His suggestion: Recognize millennials over 30 have distinct paths and work to adapt your strategies to those that are your natural consumers. 3 4 5 6 7 8 to condition our kids." He knows this first hand. "I have three young kids. We go to Whole Foods on a weekly basis whether we need anything or not because we have an experience there and the kids like it. We go because they know us. Because kids like to try the samples there. This is how we shop." Seventy percent of Gen Y and 100 percent of Gen Z shoppers enter stores with their phone in hand. Consumers compare prices, look up recipes, and post photos of what they are seeing. And they expect to do something with this information. If you don't have price match- ing or mobile phone coupon scanning, these customers won't understand why it's missing since it is all they've ever known, Beaudreau explained. Brand representatives should ask themselves if there is a way to use these consumers' ever-present phones to help them shop better, he urged. Millennials prefer to communicate via text first ("Real friends don't call," Beaudreau joked), email sec- ond, and social media third. If you haven't already created easy access for cus- tomers to engage with you in all these ways, you should begin working towards it, he said. Younger generations have been taught that they're special—and want to be treated that way. The last thing they want to feel is that they are just like everyone else. So, think of ways you can create a customized experience for the consumer, said Beaudreau. Maybe that means an individualized interaction in the store. Maybe it's with a menu that offers personalized options for each item. If you're able to customize your product towards the individual shopper, you can start to develop loyalty in this consumer base that has more than $13 trillion in buying power, he asserted. Members of Gen Y and Z are visual learners. Their first stop in mastering anything is to head to YouTube. The sec- ond way they like to learn is with images, and the third is with text in bullet points. They've learned to ignore large blocks of text. Consider how to incorporate videos or other visual elements in your store, urged Beaudreau, who suggested using QR codes for quick recipe access, adding bullet points in emails rather than blocks of text, and showing videos of food preparation. Humanize everything to win over millennials. Gen Y doesn't inherent- ly trust brands, they trust people, said Beaudreau. He encouraged attendees to make sure to have a human face to their organization, and add personal details about company leaders on their LinkedIn pages (something like "I love spaghetti," or "I run marathons"). Companies should also think about ways to help consumers con- nect with the people behind the business, he said. Millennials like companies that give back. Seventy-eight percent of mil- lennials give to charitable causes, he noted. Think about how your customers can expe- rience your charitable efforts. Maybe it's a video showing how their purchases trans- late into positive change on a community level or a social media campaign that gives (continued from p. 78) 100 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com Susan Segrest is a contributing editor to Specialty Food Magazine.

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