Coffee for Millennials

I recently ordered some coffee from the Death Wish Coffee Company.  I’m not kidding. This new company is quickly establishing itself in the market, particularly among younger buyers  including the fast-growing Millennial generation. Death Wish is a long way from the Folgers that Mrs. Olson pitched on TV back in the 1970s. Like many companies, coffee sellers are changing the way they package and market their products to appeal to the new wave of younger buyers.

With a logo that includes a skull and cross bones the coffee they sell pushes the limits of caffeine, nearly doubling the standard dose included in most store brands. This coffee is, well… serious. And I suspect Millennials will soon make it their brand of choice.

By 2017, the Millennials will be outspending baby boomers. Closing in on almost 80 million strong, Millennial’s are diverse and well-equipped to spend money. With massive buying power that will only grow over their lifetime, this is a market segment you can’t afford to ignore. Of course, one of the problems with marketing to Millennials is they are difficult to corral using traditional marketing methods. But, if you succeed in establishing a relationship with this generation, they are more likely to reward you with loyalty and strong referrals.

According to The Center for Generational Kinetics, ( Millennials shop, buy and communicate differently than any other generation.

Obviously, you need – and want – this potent generation shopping in your stores. But to ensure you are well-positioned to appeal to this elusive market, its important to consider several aspects of your marketing, merchandising, and overall attitude.

Born between 1977 and 1995, this group is at this very moment establishing their interests, buying habits, and lifestyles. lists 10 things to know about millennial customers and clients. They point out that Millennials tend to be primarily visual buyers and learners. After years spent staring at various screens, they’ve learned to skip most of the test in marketing and advertising. So, visuals mean a loy.

They prefer to communicate by text, email, social media, a phone call, and lastly, in person. This may dramatically change how you do business over the coming years, especially considering that older marketing models are virtually backwards.

One observation on The Center for Generational Kinetics website stands out: Millennials are paying for products differently than other generations. The recent study revealed the Millennials carry “shockingly little cash.” This only reinforces the need for more portable checkout procedures. Anything you can do to reduce wait time for busy shoppers and accommodate more card carriers will go a long way to improving your sales.

Finally, the Center discovered that as Millennials go, so goes Generation X and Baby Boomers. It won’t be long before all generations share similar traits for communicating, shopping, and eventually purchasing.  The trends they set will permeate the culture and ultimately replace what we know today.

Products like Death Wish Coffee use a brash attitude to catch the attention of younger buyers. Coming slightly out of left field to sell a traditional product does work to get noticed. I suspect that the makers of Death Wish Coffee are looking for some social media buzz as much as a caffeine buzz from their super strong coffee. Maybe it’s time to brew up a little Millennial buzz of your own.

Steve White is a writer and entrepreneur based in Denver.

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