Digital Natives

By Douglas Weinstein
Published on: January 19, 2018

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Trying to figure out how to appeal to Millennials – from a CI perspective – is an interesting topic, especially as the demographic age group becomes relevant in marketing terms for premier and/or luxury smart home products such as control systems and performance audio/video. It is common knowledge that this is the first generation that are digital natives and the nature of their digital world has had a profound impact on how they shop and make purchasing decisions.

Of note are three trends marketers are seeing in this generation as it relates to buying habits:

  • They invest in experiences
  • They invest in self-development and self-improvement
  • They do not invest (yet) in luxury items

Boiling this down, a picture is emerging where Millennials have commoditized learning and social networking, including on-line courses and workshops. It is not enough to go to a gym; they instead go to personalized and communal yoga classes and share their experiences amongst their social groups. They don’t go to a restaurant, they instead order up from ghost restaurants who can provide a variety of ethnic dishes they can share with their friends and talk about in their social groups.

So, how do we as an industry, specifically the integration sector, appeal to this mindset? How do Control System manufacturers counter an app driven, mobile driven, DIY driven world? These are issues we’ll be discussing in depth this year on TIG and we invite anyone with ideas and suggestions to become a contributor – let us know what’s working and what’s not working. Here are a few key points, from my perspective, we should keep in mind:

  • Millennials are creators. They expect brands to provide the tools they need to create their own personal “stuff”. Does this mean control system manufacturers (or the integrator themselves) are going to have to put on workshops and turn over some of the programming to the buyer so the buyer feels they have more say in how their smart home operates? That certainly would be a major shift in the landscape.
  • Social is more important than ever. Especially effective story telling. Millennials crowd-source information regarding purchasing decisions. If you’re not being talked about, you won’t be talked about.
  • Over 60 percent of affluent Millennials are women. Better wrap your head around that and make sure your messaging and storytelling appeals to her.
  • Millennials are early adopters. They are over two and a half times more likely to be early adopters compared to their older and younger counterparts. Which means they are big-time influencers. The first integration companies that can find the magic key in appealing to this generation will be in a great position to take market share.
  • They are defining the experience economy. If you aren’t giving them an experience, you’re not paying attention.

These are just the top level parts of our ongoing examination on how the CI channel and premium/luxury performance audio/video retailers can appeal to Millennials and the challenges we face as the world changes and technology creates ever expanding ripples in how and why people buy what they buy. More to follow.

Douglas Weinstein

Douglas Weinstein

Doug is the managing editor and co-founder of the Technology Insider Group. He is also the executive editor of the forthcoming Technology Designer Magazine, that debuts January 2019. Previously, he was the co-founder and Executive Director of the Elf Foundation, a non-profit organization that created Room of Magic entertainment theaters in children's hospitals across North America.

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