American Marketer


3 tips to get a share of the millennial wallet this holiday season

November 22, 2016

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By Krishna Subramanian

As we look Halloween in the rear-view mirror, that means Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and every other warm-fuzzy holiday is just around the corner.

For consumers, this is the time for family and friends, food and lots of shopping.

For brands, it is time to make sure that holiday campaigns are buttoned up, as it marks the biggest shopping season of the year.

According to eMarketer, holiday sales are expected to continue to boom, with ecommerce sales predicted to grow 13.3 percent this year.

Even more important, millennials ages 17-34 are collectively expected to spend more than $200 billion in 2017 and $10 trillion in their lifetimes.

So how do you make sure you get a share of the millennial wallet this holiday?

Here are three tips that brands should be thinking about when finalizing their marketing strategy this holiday.

1. Experiment with new technologies
Banner ads are a thing of the past.

Millennials grew up in the age of the Internet and no longer see the majority of online ad inventory, let alone engage and click. How do you truly grab their attention?

Leveraging where they go for content – YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat – and making your message authentic by partnering with a creator, is key.

You will see three to five times the engagement through a sponsored piece of influencer content than any banner ad. But what to do to take it a step further this fourth quarter? One word: holograms.

I am talking Tupac Coachella 2012 type hologram. There are a few companies out there that you can leverage to bring traditional or digital celebrities to life at an on-site activation without them having to travel anywhere and, even better, they can be everywhere, at one time.

Just think, having Amanda Cerny at every store location across the United States, at the exact same time, to promote your hottest item this holiday will for sure create some buzz.

Windows of opportunity Windows of opportunity

2. Think like a millennial
It might seem obvious, but the best way to find success is to think like your target audience. But cracking the millennial mindset is not as easy as it sounds.

Here is one idea to connect with them: friendsgiving. It is the celebration of Thanksgiving dinner with your friends a few days before or after the holiday, a tradition with which many millennials find their holidays would not be complete.

Partnering with a group of Influencers for friendsgiving - providing hosting ideas and party inspiration - would be an awesome way to connect with that audience while also touching them at a time when they are not bombarded with holiday ads.

3. Make them a VIP
Leverage social for an in-depth look into a part of your brand that most cannot access to create an emotional journey for consumers.

Snapchat is a perfect platform for this journey. Its user interface sucks you in and is just like watching your favorite television show.

Partner with an influencer to either do a brand takeover or have them use their own accounts, and send them to a behind-the-scenes event showcasing new products and promotions you will be debuting just in time for the holidays. Whether it is at your headquarters or you throw an event just for this, it is really about the access to content more than anything else.

Allow the influencer to take the user on a journey, unveiling never-before-seen photos and videos through Snapchat for VIP access that otherwise would not be possible.

WHAT IS better than being the first to know about this year’s biggest holiday must-have? Being able to experience it through the lens of a VIP.

Krishna Subramanian is cofounder of Captiv8 Krishna Subramanian is cofounder of Captiv8

Krishna Subramanian is cofounder of Captiv8, San Francisco. Reach him at