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Suzy’s Matt Britton Says Millennials Are Just Getting Started

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Millennial spending power is about to reach new heights; at SMWNYC, Suzy’s Matt Britton makes a case for how consumer brands should prepare.

While it may sting to hear it, Suzy’s founder and CEO Matt Britton is right: millennials, you’re not that young anymore.

But that absence of youth is important to note. Because while brands and marketers seem to use the term “millennials” interchangeably with “twentysomethings” or “youth,” the reality is that the oldest millennials are nearing forty. And marketing strategy has to evolve to understand that reality. As buying power in households prepares to shift hands from Gen X to this generation, how will marketers adapt?

The Ecosystem is Changing

Using the example of Tide detergent, Britton weaved their need to evolve to meet the market through his presentation. Who is Tide for? In some ways, the product (and its parent company, Proctor and Gamble) is in an impossible spot: a mid-market product in a country where the middle is disappearing. Britton also cites the urbanization of how this generation lives as a challenge; what does the detergent buying process look like for people in cities, who maybe don’t have the space to store massive jugs of detergent?

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It might look like liquid-free detergent, so sold to minimize shipping costs. To their credit, Britton noted, “P&G is massive, but also highly innovative.” And that innovation is going to be needed for any company that wants to succeed in the world that millennials are steadily impacting.

“The Future is Brands as Utilities”

A few neologisms came into play in Britton’s high-energy session: Amazonification, Applification…designed to demonstrate the widespread impact these companies have had on the world today. It feels minimal to state this impact as one that they’ve had on their competitors…they’re now competing in areas that others never could have imagined. One example Britton cited: asking an Amazon Alexa for batteries will yield an automatic purchase and delivery of Amazon Basics brand batteries. How does a company like Duracell or Energizer compete in that landscape?

Brands who don’t fight, but rather buy into and participate in, this utility and convenience-driven world will come out on top. And this utility and convenience, he says, was driven by this highly connected generation and their desire to make technology an integral part of all experiences. And speaking of experiences, how can brands turn being a consumer of their brand into their experience?

Companies who do this well, and make themselves visible on social media as a result of these experiences, will excel in this evolving marketplace. Does your brand convey status in the same way as having Apple products does? If not, how could it?

A Free and Forward-Thinking Idea

Britton ended his session by giving out, frankly, a fantastic free idea: to stay competitive in this new world driven by millennials’ buying and lifestyle trends: if he were Tide, he’d buy out a smaller company that creates washers and dryers, and have them develop smaller versions for apartment complexes. He’d enter into a partnership with these complexes, supplying them for all units. They only take Tide, track its consumption of the product, and are designed to make it easy to automatically order and receive refills of detergent.

Seem extreme? Maybe. But all those strategies have already been used by other companies, to great success. And Tide was similarly extreme when they bought into heavy TV advertising a few short years after the advent of the medium. Now, the market is poised for another revolution as big as the advent of TV…one that millennials played a massive role in creating. While the youth torch is about to be passed from their generation to Generation Z, the millennial impact is far from over. In Britton’s estimation, it’s just getting started.

Listen to the Leads2Scale episode featuring Matt below:

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