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Marketers dissect millennials’ choices

by Sunday Express
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maluti beerTsepiso Secker

MARKETERS across the industry spectrum have developed a fixation with millennials – a generic reference to people born from 1980 to 2000.

This is because millennials are the largest generation, although they do not have the corresponding purchasing power. Millennials have less generational wealth and more student debt than other generations did at that age.

According to recent studies, the two most influential emotions driving millennial spending are anxiety and empowerment. Understanding those emotional drivers may become the biggest key to connecting with them.

In terms of beer consumption, an area which Lesotho ranks highly, these dynamics play out in an interesting manner.

Basotho drink 6.5 litres of alcohol per capita annually, with 52 percent thereof being consumed as beer.

According to Maluti Mountain Brewery (MMB) Beer Brand Marketing Manager, Beatrice Marfleet, status, perception and peer recognition were the drivers of beer purchasing in Lesotho.

“These drivers to informing beer consumption have more of an impact than the fact that the beverage is alcoholic,” she said.

“The fact that the beverage has alcohol is neither here nor here, but along the line it adds a bonus.”

MMB’s market share, Ms Marfleet added, predominated among the older millennials who were born before 1990. Millenials’ alcohol purchase choices were influenced by the social positions held by MMB brands.

“Castle Lager, for instance, is firmly entrenched in sport. It embodies an ‘enjoy a beer while enjoying a sport’ attitude,” she said.

“Miller, on the other hand, is positioned in music and nightlife. It targets a younger group and is gender-neutral. Home-grown Maluti, however, taps into local pride.”

These are some of the considerations MMB has to take into account when marketing their beers. Another important aspect is the spending power of the youth.

“Millennials form part of the lower end of the spending ranking as the majority of them have no steady cash flow,” said Ms Marfleet.

“They may have less responsibilities than older generations which means the bulk of their funds go towards entertainment, but they traditionally have less funds.”

Millennials’ purchasing power, she noted, is markedly weaker than older age groups.

To the question of whether there was any benefit in marketing to millennials given their weaker purchasing power, Ms Marfleet said: “Definitely. They are the up-and-coming generation and you can’t ignore them. If you ignore them and they reach a bigger spending bracket, you would have lost them.”

She added that the brewery’s marketing campaigns do not target people below the age of 24 even though the legal drinking age is 18.

“This is because younger consumers are very fickle; they don’t usually drink brands as they are influenced more by price and peers,” noted Ms Marfleet.

MMB, she said, did not advertise in conventional forms of media such as radio, television or newspapers. Instead, they advertise their alcoholic beverages in bottle stores or where people would be looking for such products.


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