Live from Shop.org: RU Ready 4 the DM Generation?

Oct 11, 2006 9:09 PM  By

New York–Shop.org kicked off with a keynote on w@ U N2K about the DM generation. If you need someone to translate part of this 4U–sorry, for you–then you probably have a lot to learn about “digital millennials,” or the DM generation. In her opening address at Shop.org’s annual summit on Oct. 11, Kelly Mooney, president/chief experience officer of Resource Interactive, offerred up what you need to know about DMs. Digital millennials are a sizable group of 82.5 million people–about the same as the baby boomers but expected to grow to 100 million due to immigration–that wields spending power of $200 billion a year. You might know DMs better as Generation Y, but Mooney pointed out that “they don’t like this name” because it makes them seem like little more than a sequel to Generation X. DMs were born between 1982 and 2000 (they’re called millennials because the first wave graduated high school in 2000); they’re devoted to the digital lifestyle and proficient in texting, IM, and social networking; and they’re pretty spoiled. Unlike baby boomers (who as children were to be seen and not heard) and Generation X (latchkey kids who took care of themselves), DMs are the most coddled generation ever. Parents of DMs consider their kids “a badge of honor,” Mooney said, and they lavish their offspring with attention and spending. DMs have inflated expectations of entitlement, as “they’re used to getting what they want when they want it.” Because DMs have a greater influence on household purchases than did previous generations when they were children, “you don’t want to underestimate or misunderstand this market,” Mooney said. Sixty-five percent of DMs ages 18-24 say they’ve purchased online. The generation’s top complaints about shopping online include an aversion to paying for shipping and handling, the fact that unless they have a credit card they have no way to pay, and that there’s not enough information on products. How can online merchants best target this audience? Mooney listed five suggestions: 1) Keep it real. DMers hate posers, Mooney said, and want to do business with a company that provides “a continuous influs of new products. She cited Motorola’s Razr as a success story on this front.
2) Hear them out. DMs have ideas and want to make their mark. Mooney cited Amazon.com user reviews as an example of a company’s listening to customers, but she noted that DMers are most interested in what others in their age group think.
3) Be original or don’t be. Marketers need to offer limited editions and exclusives of product to “keep it real.”
4) Their way…now. Millennials want control over the interaction. For instance, Mooney said, on iTunes, customers can buy products in any combination, they can sample the assortment, and they can order online and pick up in the store.
5) Entertain them. You have to stimulate DMs with fresh news and merchandise stories to create a “did you see that?” reaction, Mooney said. You might do this with viral events that drive PR, such as pop-up stores and beach parties; you should also aim to create branded media that are entertaining and can be shared. To better engage these customers, make your site more searchable, provide user reviews and features such as multiple views, and ensure that screens refresh rapidly, Mooney said. Mooney also advised testing user-initiated mobile communications, which this generation is starting to embrace. “It’s already happening,” she said, “and you should be a part of it.” Got all that? Good. CU L8R, and GL/HF. (See you later, and good luck/have fun.)