Millennials, typically defined as those individuals born between 1980 and 2000, represent a huge opportunity for businesses, but reaching them presents many challenges for marketing departments. One important factor in connecting with them is through product packaging as that is the first thing they see. To do that, you need to use packaging that appeals to their beliefs, values and lifestyles.
Green Is Good
The trend for most everything these days is "going green," and packaging is no exception. Although millennials are not the only demographic pushing the green trend, they do embrace it as much or more than other market segments.
Environmentally conscious millennials want eco-friendly, sustainable packaging. They prefer packages that are reusable, recyclable and biodegradable and that use clean production technologies.
A report by Transparency Market Research says that sustainable packaging is expected to show stable growth from 2015 to 2021. This growth is being driven by the health benefits that green packaging offers because of fewer toxic emissions from production processes. Also boosting the demand for sustainable packaging is the decreased environmental pollution from landfills and the recyclability of packaging materials, which means less consumption of natural resources.
Sustaining Company Image
Millennials tend to be frugal, but they are also socially conscious and interested in causes. Their frugality mindset comes from entering their adult lives during an economic recession where abundance turned to scarcity, and the earth's natural resources go from seemingly unlimited to rapidly depleting. Often a plain brown cardboard package speaks to today's millennial consumer louder than a flashy or gaudy package. They typically are not fans of wasteful, over-packaged products and are drawn to packages that are light, compact, just fit the size of the product, and clearly and succinctly spell out the product's benefits. They do not like waste and often prefer cartons and pouches that let you take what you need and reseal the package.
Cause is also important. Many millennials will develop a more positive image of a company because of cause marketing. For example, they may choose a product that promotes the fact that its packaging is made of recycled materials or is 100% recyclable. This socially conscious mindset also leads them to packaging that promotes a cause. For example, they may opt for a product package with a message that promotes a "Giving Back" campaign or a particular charity. These types of package messages tend to provide the consumer with a good feeling and increase trust in the company.
Reaching the millennial market with your marketing message is essential, but a challenge. You need to understand their beliefs and motivations and make sure your packaging (and even your shipping boxes) is relevant to those values.