The Millennial Generation Outdoor Industry Insights and Opportunities

IMG_7563Millennials – the rumored “low-hanging fruit” and “target audience” for your next program or marketing effort. We all know we need to attract Millennials, but the tricky question is how can we do so successfully? This was the question posed to the presenters of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies’ (AFWA) Conservation Education Strategy webinar series. Eric Dinger, co-founder and CEO of Powderhook, and Samantha Pedder, Manager of Outreach and Diversity for the National Shooting Sports Foundation,  discussed some key insights into the Millennial generation and answered some questions from the audience. Post questions in the comments section below and Sam or Eric will answer. Here’s what you need to know:

Insights and background

  • Millennials are:
    • ~19-35 years old today (2016)
    • Most educated, biggest spending adult cohort
    • Digital native – connectedness via technology is like a second skin
    • Delaying coming of age: moving out later, getting married later
    • Seeking happiness, celebrating diversity, big fear of missing out
    • More politically independent, less religious, less patriotic
    • Experience driven, ahead of finances and security
    • More optimistic about their future than previous generations
  • Individualism is important, generalizations are too vague
    • A generation of two distinct parts, defined by post-secondary education
    • Used to being treated as if they’re unique
    • Obsessed with perception – run their lives like a unique brand
  • “SO-LO-MO” Social, Local, Mobile
    • Socially connected at all times (Facebook biggest, Instagram favorite, Snapchat fastest growing and most time used)
    • Real influence is specific to location or topic
    • Mobile first every time
  • Social decision makers
    • Family and friends, one-to-one still most important
    • Influenced by subject matter experts with reach (Instagram is huge here)
    • Tribes – easy to find and interact with people who think like me (downside – I only interact with people who think like me)
  • Recreational habits
    • Nature can be “trendy”
    • Shooting more than hunting at first
    • Non-consumptive use simpler to start with than hunting or fishing
    • Paddleboarding, kayak fishing, hiking – all increasing in participation
    • Urbanizing influence is overwhelming
  • Demand and dictate a frictionless customer/user experience
    • Is it simple? Is it easy? Is it rewarding? Is it fun?
    • Licensing, mapping, certification, education, regulations must be or they’re out
    • Make it ever easier to do business with you
  • Speed of adoption
    • Moore’s Law – speeds up tech, tech is omniscient, tech speeds up all change
    • 1 million users: Facebook 10 months, Instagram 2.5, YikYak faster yet
    • Attention spans shorter than ever
  • Impact on the workplace by Millennials
    • Offer a new perspective/take on things
    • Perceive opportunities to reinvent processes using influence of technology
    • Example of Citizen Science with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation

Opportunities for Interaction

  • Authenticity is key
    • Identify target segments within this generation to engage with
    • Pick the low fruit, not all the fruit
    • Focus your efforts on what you can do well in terms of content, marketing, etc.
  • Things change, but the fundamental concepts won’t
    • Relevant content
    • Two-way conversations
    • Social, local, mobile
  • Meet them where they are, not where you want them
    • Your website is a utility, not their only source of information
    • Start everything mobile first
    • If it is important, they believe it is going to find them
  • Think multi-channel (but do only what you can do well)
    • Is your content portable? Sharable across multiple platforms without people?
    • Videos on YouTube, Facebook and Vine
    • Posts on Twitter, Instagram and YikYak
  • Participate with them
    • Reward millennials with your engagement
    • Play with the new network-of-the-hour – repurpose your content
    • Focus on quality over quantity
  • Mine their habits of thought
    • Don’t cut corners when highlighting novelty and excitement of experiences
    • Empower them to build their own brand (Desire to have influence)
    • Deliver things that makes them feel like they’d be missing out if they missed it
  • Enable others to help you
    • G.U.E.S.T. – Groups, Users, Events, Spots, Trips – aggregated in an open format
      • Groups – what can I be a part (i.e. NWTF Chapter)
      • Users – who can help me (mentors, coaches, instructors)
      • Events – target shooting, hunter ed, etc.
      • Spots – places to go (public land, places to shoot, fish, etc.)
      • Trips – who can take me
    • Open architecture isn’t shared data, it’s shared standards – data.gov
    • You’re the manufacturer, they’re the distributor
  • Embrace diversity
    • Add a millennial as an advisor
    • Actively invite decisions from people who don’t look like you
    • Celebrate differences, they do

Resources

Prepared May 2016 by:

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Samantha Pedder

www.nssf.org

spedder@nssf.org

203-426-1320 ext. 286

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Eric Dinger

www.powderhook.com

eric@powderhook.com

402-560-1678