How Target’s Brand Won the Millennial Market

Target Millennials Buying Habits
Millennials are an age group that has intrigued marketers for nearly a decade. At 80 million strong in the US alone, their coming of age means they are about to become some of the most important customers your business has ever seen. According to one Forbes article, by 2017 as a group they are expected to spend $200 billion annually, and a total of $10 trillion over their lifetimes as consumers.

Hardworking, tech-savvy, innovative, hip, and confident are all words used to describe them. One minute they’re fascinated by the newest trend out there. The next minute it’s already old news and they’re on to something else. Marketers are intrigued about how Millennials not only affect the buying power of certain items but also how they affect other generations like the Baby Boomers and Generation X. Those questions are now entering the B2B space as well.

As a Millennial, I am curious about why my age group has been an ongoing topic to marketers. Questions marketers seem to ask the most are:

• Which businesses have earned my loyalty and why?
• What are my buying habits?
• Why/how am I persuaded into buying something?

From a retail perspective, the answer to the first question is easy: Target. Target stores have done their homework on how to persuade Millennials to be their first choice for department store shopping.

Why is Target my first choice no matter what I need to purchase? Why not Wal-Mart or Costco or any of the other department stores?

It’s simple. Target has been very strategic in its branding efforts towards Millennials. In its research, Target has discovered that:

Millennials are deal seekers –
• “The Target Dollar Spot” – located right where you enter the store, you’ll find lots of values on items you need.
• “The Cartwheel App” – launched in 2013 use of the app can save up to 30% on items throughout the store with a simple scan of a product’s barcode from your phone. As a bonus, the offers can be repeated until they expire.
• REDCards – provide an additional 5% off your total purchase with no added fees.

Target, Targeting MillennialsIn response to Target’s Cartwheel app, Wal-Mart, a year later, launched its Savings Catcher app. It differs from Cartwheel because instead of giving customers an immediate discount, it enables you to acquire points, and when enough points are reached, you receive a gift card. Target understands Millennials. We’re all about instant gratification, which is what Cartwheel offers. We are less likely to use an app if our savings must be earned over a period of time.

Millennials are personal experience seekers –
Don’t force sales on us and definitely don’t try to buy us. Target accomplishes this through its language, and more importantly the meaning behind this language. Customers are “guests” and employees are “team members.”

Even more than price, Millennials value a pleasant shopping experience. While Wal-Mart may often be cheaper, Target has proven that its philosophy of “team members” and “guests” makes us feel that we are valued. Millennials crave recognition. We want to know our money is being well spent and being spent somewhere that recognizes our value to society. Target has accomplished this.

We are trend seekers –
We want to be up to date on all trends. Whether its affordable fashion or new technology, we want it. Target has partnerships with well-known designers and many of its own brands are affordable and inspired by the latest trends

Target has a very welcoming approach with its marketing. Its ads, like the one below, represent “hip” creative ideas, yet still send a clear message to the Millennial: yes, we sell similar products as other department stores but we display them in a cooler, more “hip” way. So if you want to be hip, you’ll buy from us.

Pestle Analysis recently conducted a SWOT analysis of Target. One of Target’s identified strengths was its partnership with the CW Television Network. CW’s main target audience is Millennials. One of the network’s dramedy soap opera/telenovela series has become a huge hit. Target took notice of this and decided it wanted to target Hispanic Millennial moms. Many episodes have the main character, Jane, mentioning her shopping trips to Target.

Millennials are definitely a force to be reckoned with. In addition to making their own retail buying decisions, many are also now making buying decisions for their employers. What is your business doing to make sure you are communicating and marketing effectively to them? Are you telling them what they want to hear, in a way they want to hear it? Are you showing that you value them?

At BrandDirections we take branding and messaging very seriously. If your efforts are falling short of your target audience, give us a call at 920-725-4848.

We promise to give your brand the TLC it needs to shine.


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