Millennials Shape Adult Beverage Digital Marketing Efforts

It’s no secret that Millennials are among the most tech-savvy consumers. Millennials grew up with the internet and their everyday activities are intrinsically tied to online connectivity.

They routinely check Facebook profiles, scan reviews on Yelp, “check in” at their favorite places using Foursquare, post pictures on Pinterest, read Twitter tweets and watch YouTube videos. In fact, Technomic’s Generational Consumer Trend Report  found that more than seven out of 10 Millennials (72 percent) communicate with or follow a restaurant on Facebook; three out of 10 (30 percent) do so on Twitter. With the advent of smartphones, they increasingly do all these things on the go using web-enabled mobile devices.

Sharing Comes Naturally

Millennials use the internet, particularly social media, for social engagement and storytelling. Millennials love to talk about their adult beverage experiences, both on-premise at restaurants, bars and clubs, and off-premise in their homes. When they experiment with an original cocktail, sample a different wine or try a new type of beer, it’s a safe bet they’ll share this information with family, friends and peers. The internet is a medium for recording and sharing details of these experiences—good and bad.

It’s also a virtually boundless information tool. Millennials find information on adult beverages via countless online sources, including review sites, blogs, social media and mobile applications. They also use the internet to look up restaurants and retail stores where adult beverages are sold.

Millennials’ online behaviors have direct implications for the adult beverage industry. And if that isn’t enough,

  • Millennials make up nearly three-tenths (29 percent) of the U.S. adult population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • By 2018, 100 percent of the nearly 80 million Millennials will be of legal drinking age.
  • Millennials, with their vast purchasing power, account for a significant percentage of adult beverage sales.

Marketing to Millennials

Millennials are a prime demographic that bar owners and adult beverage suppliers and manufacturers must win over. Adult beverage marketers would be wise to leverage online and social media platforms (which Millennials already use in staggering numbers) to advertise and market their brands. That way they are communicating with all adults while ensuring that their messages are heard by a disproportionate number of 20- and 30-somethings. Many are doing just that.

Heineken, already active on Facebook and Twitter, is ramping up its digital marketing efforts, dedicating 15 percent of its 2012 marketing budget to online programs. Absolut’s YouTube page features a number of marketing videos, including a 2011 promotional video shot at the Miami nightclub where the brand celebrated the launch of Absolut Wild Tea.

In the restaurant arena, casual-dining chain Fox and Hound uses its Facebook page to publicize new adult beverages and related events and promotions. In early August, it posted a picture of its newest Bloody Mary, which is served with a bottle of Coronita, and asked Facebook fans to help name the new drink. In July, another chain, Joe’s American Bar & Grill, turned to Facebook to promote its Celebrate America sweepstakes, an online contest offering a grand-prize trip to Boston complete with a VIP brewery tour of Samuel Adams.

Online and social media marketing makes good business sense, providing a low-cost way for marketers to engage with customers, create lasting brand connections and boost product sales.

As Millennials mature in age, they will likely hold fast to their adult beverage preferences, suggesting today’s brand loyalties will be in play tomorrow. Marketers of adult beverages should explore ways to use the internet to capture Millennials’ business and ensure their continued loyalty and patronage.

To learn more about Millennials’ adult beverage behaviors and attitudes, check out Technomic’s Special TAB Report: Millennial Consumer Insights.

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Lauren Edwards

Lauren Edwards is an associate editor at Technomic, Inc. Since 2008, she has written and edited a variety of products for the firm, including trade-magazine articles, newsletters, analytical reports, press releases and marketing brochures. Lauren holds a magazine-journalism degree from the University of Missouri.

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