Skiing in the mountainsIf you are a marketer you have likely struggled with how to reach the Millennial generation beyond just having  a social media presence. Research has shown that nearly 78% of the almost 79 million people in this generation are more interested in spending money on experiences than things. Creating experiences is the challenge marketing teams are facing.

Ok, right about now you are asking how do you get someone interested in your product if it doesn’t provide an “experience”?
Answer: You have to create an experience and tell a story through the use of that product.

Experiences create stories, stories create memories. I wrote a blog recently about what keeps your email in the inbox and I touched on the idea that the stories told keep me subscribing. Although, I don’t consider myself a Millennial. I hang in the mysterious region somewhere between Generation X, the angsty consumerists, and Millennial adventurers. Which basically means I’m extremely familiar with buyer’s remorse, and wish I’d traveled more.

Years ago the J. Peterman Catalogue was great at describing their products through clever vignettes. Weaving in an adventure experienced while wearing or using that particular item. The company has suffered several setbacks over the years, though they are still in business today. They may have been ahead of their time in selling experiences. I’ve noticed lately they don’t do the short stories in as much detail anymore. They now try to do a very quick quip enticing the potential owner to imagine their own story. Maybe the Seinfeld-verse made it too cliché with their parody of the company.

Coca Cola’s “share a coke with” campaign is another way a company created an experience through the purchase of the their products. Drinking a Coke probably doesn’t seem like an experience, it’s something you do but most likely you don’t think of it as a story to share with someone a month later. The campaign encourages engagement and guides the customer into creating an experience of their own through the use of their product. They made it personal and social by putting people’s names on the bottles and encouraging the person to sit down and share a soda with someone by that name.

Another way to help create experiences could be by sponsoring events and activities in your area. Sponsoring an event or partnering with a convention is a great way to bring  awareness to  your brand. Your product may not be the center of the story but it’s a crucial part of helping to make it happen. This type of creative marketing isn’t all that new, the approach is different, but staying current and relevant is all part of a businesses’ success.

Whatever you do in your marketing, be sure to create an experience for your customer. This is important for all age groups, but especially the 78% of Millennials that are willing to spend their money on them.