Staying relevant is important in marketing. In fact, it’s one of the first principles: Know your market. It’s a simple concept, really, whether you’re selling tools or building supplies, starter homes or retirement condos. The needs are different, depending on the buyer or end user.
How should that influence you?
We’ve talked before about how the new labor force is changing the face of the construction industry, and we have outlined some ways to keep your company and your product line in step with current trends. Technology, sustainability, energy efficiency and innovation, community effect and global impact — these are some of the drivers that influence business decisions today. We’ve also outlined some of the ways to tap into social media to influence decision-making processes and picks up on trends. The Digital Age is changing us all.
The ultimate buyer also has a voice when it comes to specifiying, designing, buying and selling building materials. Now and for at least the next several years that buyer is apt to be a Millennial, sometimes described as “Gen Now.” That unique generation, born between about 1980 and the turn of the century, is a major force in both the work force and the economy, and it is a generation unlike any other.
Millennial home buyers today are discerning. They reject cookie-cutter similarities, and they seek authenticity, in their lives and in their living quarters. Millennials aren’t chasing success based on their parents’ definitions, but on their own terms. And that often means that they appreciate historical styles as much as they embrace futuristic forms and solutions. They are just as apt to buy old and make new as they are to buy new and make it their own. They appreciate “handmade, home grown and artistically envisioned.”
The popularity of the “not-so-big-house” is just one expression of this generation’s dissatisfaction with a bigger is better and “the way things have always been” mindset. These younger buyers embrace smaller, simpler living patterns, and they are likely to reject suburban sprawl. They want to be a part of their community, and they hold a kind of nostalgia for small towns of the past; they also fantasize about moving back to the urban core and transforming it into their version of a welcoming oasis. Alternatively, some Millennials envision a future of living-off-the-land self-sufficiency.
Off-grid solutions, clean energy, low carbon footprint, recycled and eco-friendly products — Millennials have seen the future, and they want to make it better.
How can you market your products to this new generation of idealists who are at the same time firmly grounded in the here and now? Start by listening. And follow that up with targeted response. Remember that shopping today is conducted online, and sales are made there as well. Today’s buyers won’t accept limited choices when they can search the world from the comfort of their own “devices.”
Offer the eco-friendly, sustainable, low-environmental-impact products that today’s buyers insist upon, even if those products have a higher price point. And, as you work with, sell to and get to know those Millennials, you may forge a mutual admiration society with this decidedly “with it” generation. Millennials tend to take inspiration from a wide range of sources and influences. So should you!