Do, and be, a little more.
That was the last line in a recent story from NPR’s ongoing series about the millennial generation and how best to market to such a diverse demographic. It’s also a good jumping off point for a conversation about how Calaveras businesses can best serve a group of Americans – those born between 1980 and 2000 – that’s estimated at around 80 million people who spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
Millennials are adventurous and not afraid to try new things and they are attracted to those experiences that feel genuine, unpretentious and inclusive. This represents good opportunity for Calaveras’ two key products – wine and outdoor recreation. While baby boomers still account for the majority of wine purchases, the percentage of younger wine drinkers has grown steadily in the last decade. But forget about the elitist wine branding of the past that all but scared away anyone unfamiliar with varietals and vintages. These younger wine consumers want drinks that are fun, social and come with a story. The CWA and some of its members have taken note by creating events that expose visitors to the laid back nature of our wine industry and provide access to learn about where the wine comes from as well as the winemakers themselves.
One study compiled by Napa Technology showed that some 52% of millennials are using wine websites to influence their buying decisions and nearly half of the wineries and suppliers surveyed have increased their spending on social media. An interesting note for restaurants: by-the-glass listings have jumped considerably thanks to the preference for trying out new and different kinds of wine, as opposed to buying a bottle of their favorite varietal as an older wine drinker might.
A great thing about our outdoor recreation opportunities here in Calaveras is accessibility. This doesn’t just mean easy to get to, as we love to stress upon the Bay Area travelers who spend hours in the car getting to Tahoe or waiting in lines at Yosemite. Through the lens of inclusivity, it means activities that are great for fun and relaxation with friends and family. The outdoor industry has had to shift in much the same way as the wine industry in how it markets to new consumers; if you think 50 dollar bottles of Chateau-le-Whatever are intimidating to casual wine drinkers, how do you think images of people skiing off cliffs and clinging to big rock walls seem to someone who just wants an easy camping trip? Bear Valley recognized this some years ago and has done a good job positioning themselves as a place to bring your family to learn to ski, have fun together, and it’s closer and more affordable than Tahoe. Sure, the dedicated skiers and climbers among us know there’s amazing world class technical stuff here – but marketing that aspect will only appeal to very few.
In our outdoor adventure marketing efforts here at the CVB, we look to provide ideas and itineraries for both ends of the spectrum, which is why one month we’ll focus on white knuckle adventures and the next will be about things to do outside with kids and families.
The NPR series on millennials mentioned above is not just about marketing, it also includes interesting statistics and articles about everything from health care and education to marriage and company culture. There’s great info for employers, realtors and any entrepreneur who wants to know where the market is going. Check out the whole series here.