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Changing the way you perceive Millennials

The Millennial generation is perhaps one of the most stereotyped in history. They’ve been branded lazy and entitled by marketers, journalists, statisticians and researchers for years.

In fact, Time Magazine once ran a cover story entitled, The Me, Me, Me Generation in which columnist Joel Stein said, “A generation’s greatness isn’t determined by data; it’s determined by how they react to the challenges that befall them. And, just as important, by how we react to them.”

That article ran in 2013 and begs the question, how have we reacted to them as marketers and business owners?

Are we still relying on old stereotypes to get new business in our nurseries, garden centers and retail locations? Or are we starting to understand that just maybe, Millennials have been given a bad name.

More and more Millennials are living out on their own in apartments, condominiums and houses depending on their relationship status.

In the Spring of 2018, Zillow Chief Marketing Office Jeremy Wacksman said, “Millennials are shaping the market more than anyone realized. In fact, half of all buyers are under 36 and half of sellers are under 41.” These results are part of a survey of more than 13,000 homeowners, sellers, buyers and renters that are part of the new Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report.

And if there’s one thing Millennials love, it’s plants and gardening.

“Millennials were responsible for 31 percent of houseplant sales in 2016,” according to Ian Baldwin, a business adviser for the gardening industry. The 2016 National Gardening survey found that of the six million Americans who took up gardening that year, five million were ages 18 to 34.

Millennials can no longer be thought of as lazy and entitled. Their dreams for a family and a place to call home are no different than the countless generations before them. What is different are their buying habits.

Marketers at nurseries, garden centers and retailers need to understand this misunderstood and untapped market and provide in-store and online options to suits their needs.

Here are a few ideas:

Change the shopping experience
Horticulturists often use industry terms that don’t reflect how customers shop (color, size, effort required). Limit the “industry” language and be creative when highlighting the features of the plant, not necessarily the name. The more the plant fits the parameters of a Millennials green thumb, the more money they’ll spend.

Accessible Plant Information
Millennials are not afraid to learn, and they often turn to the internet for education. Make sure your store has an online plant guide to help with nurturing plants, soil types, watering, repotting and lighting. A few videos will help engage the viewer.

In-Store Workshops
A memorable hands-on experience will create repeat customers and Millennials are no different. Hold consistent workshops at your location and advertise them on social channels and the internet (where Millennials will see them). This is the perfect way to not only cross-sell products, but also to allow questions and answers at the point of purchase. And with any luck, they’ll post their final creations on their social channels and tag you in the process.

With more and more Millennials entering homeownership, you need to change how you attract them so you can secure your piece of the market.


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