AMA Tampa Bay welcomed Uber’s Senior Marketing Manager Justin Hinote as the guest speaker on Thursday, July 21. Approximately 100 attendees enjoyed Hinote’s insights on marketing to Millennials (19 to 35-year-olds) during the Chapter’s monthly luncheon.
Hinote had an energized audience eager to hear what he had to say. After all, Uber’s explosive growth started with Millennials — and every marketer in the room wanted to know how the on-demand transportation service did it.
Uber’s 3 Most Important Words
Marketers are used to industry buzzwords. As a writer, I both love and hate them. What is meaningful one week could seem over-used and meaningless the next. So when Hinote told the AMA crowd that trust, convenience and authenticity are the most important things when marketing to Millennials, my buzzword weariness alarm went off briefly. To my delight, Hinote made it clear that those three words are more than just slides in a PPT deck, but are truly crucial to winning the hearts (and wallets) of misunderstood Millennials.
Millennials have always been able to weigh their options. Unlike their parents, Millennials don’t settle for buying shoes from the store on the corner because it’s the only shoe store in town. They have always been able to find lots of shoe stores on their smartphones and can compare prices and services in mere minutes.
To even begin earning Millennials’ trust, you need to have a rock solid digital presence that works flawlessly – then back it up with consistently excellent service. Once they trust you, marketing to Millennials can take mere seconds. “Sharing with friends” electronically has become the new “word of mouth” in today’s environment, and it’s the golden ticket to Millennial marketing success.
If you’re a middle-aged Gen X’er like I am, go back to your grunge days and think of how different things would have been with today’s technology. My friends and I would have Uber’d to Lollapalooza instead of arguing for two weeks over who had to drive. Now imagine only knowing the world with the technology we have today to fully grasp the millennial mindset and corresponding expectation levels.
Millennials’ unfortunate reputation of being “entitled” stems from the fact that they are accustomed to a world of convenience, and will tolerate nothing less. Why would they? And Uber is the epitome of convenience. Millennials want to press a button or two and get what they need quickly, because they can. If you’re giving them too many steps before they buy, and are making them wait too long for what they want, you’ve already lost them.
Of Uber’s three important words, “authenticity” is the one that marketers abuse most often, but it’s where Uber has walked the walk. Since its inception in 2010, several Uber competitors have popped up. What keeps bringing Millennials back to Uber? Uber being Uber.
For instance, Uber did not let down Millennials when they hit it big with the rest of us. Instead, Uber has continued their dialogue with Millennials to keep up with their wants and needs, and also rewarding them for being customers.
Hinote told a great story about how Uber partnered with Tampa’s beloved Taco Bus™ to deliver free late-night tacos to USF students. The promotion was a win/win/win. Taco Bus reached more customers in one night than they normally would in a week, students got some delicious free tacos without leaving their apartments, and Uber got to show their young customers yet again how well they get them, and how much they are appreciated. In this way, Uber proved to be an authentic part of the Tampa Bay community.
One More: Listen
I’m adding a fourth word to Uber’s list – listen. While it’s evident that the Uber service model and marketing strategies employ new technologies and tactics, the core of their method is tried and true. We could talk all day about marketing strategy, distribution channels, etc., but when you boil it down, Uber is doing what smart marketers have always done – listening to its audience.
For our next event — DONUTS! On August 18, our guest speaker will tell us how Krispy Kreme connects with their 8.5 million customers. (Spoiler: It takes more than just delicious donuts!)
By Erin Hardy
Erin Hardy has been a writer and content specialist for more than 20 years, creating messaging for multi-billion dollar corporations like the Home Shopping Network and Eckerd Corporation to boutique ad agencies and start-up online retail stores. Today, as Well Planned Web’s Editorial Lead, Erin transforms complex topics into meaningful content that resonates with clients’ customers.