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Last week, we published a blog post with helpful tips on how to engage Millennials in marketing and consumer insight. Marketing to Millennials can be tricky because we're talking about a generation of consumers with diverse and dynamic needs. But brands that build relationship with these consumers over time are better positioned to have the necessary insight to win.

That's why we encourage customers to do longitudinal studies with their community of customers: you need to have a long-term relationship with Millennials if you really want to understand their needs, preferences and why they do what they do.

Here are five articles that demonstrate how brands today tailor their marketing strategies to be more relevant to the Millennial lifestyle:

  1. Pizza chains increase market share, especially among Millennials, with web ordering.

Domino's Pizza Inc., Papa John's International Inc. and Yum Brands Inc.'s Pizza Hut all now derive 40% or more of their sales from digital orders, the companies sayÛ_Domino's Chief Executive Patrick Doyle says strength in digital ordering "has been a big part of" the growing market share of big chains in the past few years.

"Most of the small and regional chains who still continue to sell the majority of the pizza in the U.S. simply aren't able to play on these technology platforms with the level of sophistication that we have," he told investors in mid-JanuaryÛ_Chains are seeking more customers like Markie Gray, a 23-year-old theater company production manager in Chicago, who likes using Domino's website to pick toppings.

"It takes me awhile to decide what I want and it's nice to be able to look over everything as opposed to feeling pressured to make a decision right away," she says. - Julie Jargon in The Wall Street Journal

Tweet this: Pizza chains @dominos, @PapaJohns & @PizzaHut use web ordering to increase market share. Via @visioncritical roundup:

  1. Urban Outfitters invites Millennials to submit photos.

Online shoppers that visit the "Show Us Your OU" section of Urban Outfitters' website can view dozens of images supplied by fans of the brand and can shop the photo by simply hovering over the image and clicking the "Shop It" button. Results have been impressive. Although Urban Outfitters has not released any metrics on sales conversations on the microsite, one in five visitors clicks on at least one Shop It button as they browse the images. Û¬Û¬

"It's too soon to have numbers to report, but we are seeing a higher click thru," Moira Gregonis, senior marketing manager, Urban Outfitters said. "We really are trying to build a community. We are receiving hundreds of submissions weekly. We focus on being innovative and most times this attracts a younger customer."Û¬

The popularity of the concept among younger customers is not surprising. "For Millennials big brands are like celebrities," Curalate CEO Apu Gupta said. "When they submit a photo and it gets featured they are excited." - Tim Denman on Retail Info Systems News

Tweet this: Customer-supplied images drive #socialmedia ROI @UrbanOutfitters. More in this @visioncritical roundup:

  1. Advertisers (and media companies) tap into nostalgia to attract Millennials.

Vanilla Ice is selling Kraft macaroni and cheese now. The dudes of Full House are selling Greek yogurt. Boyz II Men recently made a cameo on How I Met Your Mother. This year's Super Bowl featured, of all people, Flea. We are having a moment of '90s nostalgia, occasioned in part by millennials (or The Youths or Those Kids or whatever you want to call them) who are aging into adulthood and therefore eager to relive their childhoodsÛ_

The good feeling is growing. Many media outlets ("content producers," you could call them) are selling nostalgia in one form or another: There's Retronaut and @historyinpix and the many similar - and controversial - features dedicated to the resurfacing of the past. There's New York magazine's late, great "Nostalgia Face-Check" series. Yesterday, Wired - known mostly for its reporting on the future - published a list, curated by Questlove, of the top hip-hop tracks of the '90s. (Questlove's collection includes something from Tony! Toni! Ton̩!, and is therefore awesome.)

This is all fairly unremarkable; journalists have long recognized the same thing advertisers have, which is that nostalgia is an extremely efficient tool for selling stuff. But media outlets - especially the ones that are merging technological prowess with journalistic - aren't just leveraging our soft enthusiasms for the past; they're also taking a platform-focused approach to that work. They, like the social networks, are trafficking in targeted nostalgia. - Megan Garber on The Atlantic

Tweet this: Wondering why Vanilla Ice is selling @kraftdinner? It's all about #nostalgia. See @VisionCritical roundup:

  1. Dunkin Donuts feature Millennial fans on its Facebook page.

It's not enough to just deliver compelling content, that's only half of the two-way social street. Savvy restaurants are inviting fans into the conversation. The goal is to entice teens to want to connect with them instead of the other way around. According to a 2013 Forrester study, nearly 60% of kids aged 12-17 engage with brands on social networks. And nearly half of them expect the brand to respond, interact, and listen. By opening up the lines of communication (and caring what fans say), these brands can earn their own social street cred.

Some brands are catching on and widening the circle. Dunkin Donuts rewards its fans for posting their experiences to #mydunkin by featuring them on Facebook. Whataburger populates its website with posts from its faithful followers and recently changed its All-Time Favorites menu based on social suggestion. Examples like these and others who aren't afraid to crowdsource ideas and recipes may sound risky, since they involve giving up some level of control. But in doing so, these restaurants are making their products personal to teens. It's no longer their burger, it's my burger. - Wilson Pryor on MediaPost

Tweet this: . @DunkinDonuts engages #Millennials w/ its #mydunkin #marketing campaign. See @visioncritical roundup:

  1. Brands personalize experiences of Millennial consumers across web and mobile.

Real-time, relevant, and rewarding experiences will take the place of "same for everyone" user interfaces. Gamification, which has been adopted by numerous businesses for B2C and B2B marketing, will help enable feedback loops to drive engagement. Gartner predicts 70 percent of the Global 2000 will use gamification this year. Traditional loyalty programs focused on conversions alone no longer retain [Millennial] customers. Loyalty marketers across retail, hospitality, and commerce-based industries will offer reputation-based rewards systems for customers who engage with their online experiences.

For example, Kendall-Jackson, a premiere winery, adopted gamification for loyalty in its new mobile loyalty and wine education mobile app, K-J Recommends, while Samsung uses gamification to power its social loyalty program, Samsung Nation. - Chandar Pattabhiram on

Tweet this: To attract Millennials, @KJWines & @Samsungtweets personalize web & mobile experience. Via @visioncritical roundup:

Which brands are doing a brilliant job of marketing to Millennials? Share your examples with us below.

The Everything Guide to Millennials

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Kelvin Claveria

Kelvin Claveria was formerly a Content Marketing Manager at Vision Critical.

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