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How to Reach Millennial and Gen Z Customers: Conducting Research with the Most Unengaged Generations

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What can we learn from the two Millennial founders of the market research company, Campus Insights? The short answer is a lot about how to gather valuable market research from some of the most important consumers, Millennials and Gen Z.

The Soward brothers started Campus Insight because of a negative experience the younger brother, Riley, had with a market research company. He was interviewed in a room police-style…you know, with a one-way mirror where the interested parties stayed hidden the whole time. Soward said the whole experience was uncomfortable and left him wondering if there is a better way for product managers to collect valuable consumer data from a younger audience.

That’s when he and his brother created Campus Insights.

Campus Insights focuses on making the market research process more comfortable for Millennial and Gen Z consumers. Here are some things we learned about how to more effectively connect with this younger generation.

1. Video Interviews

If there is one thing we can learn from this startup, it’s to utilize tools that make younger generations feel more at ease, namely video. Campus Insights started out by offering video interviews for companies.

As the company progressed, and to reach more customer voices, Campus Insights started conducting interviews using video technology such as Google Hangouts and Skype.

These interviews take the interrogation stigma out of the one-on-one hidden-mirror interview and turns the process into something familiar and fun.

Video is a clear way to get actionable insights and clear findings from a younger market, but it’s not the only way. Younger generations will also respond well to online communities, social media, and chat.

2. Student Moderators

Another interesting spin from the founders of Campus Insight is the use of student moderators. Rather than having a much older product manager conduct the video interviews, the interviews were all moderated by a student.

Something about having Millennials and Gen Z moderators interview consumers within their own generation mitigates the pressure and may even yield more genuine results.

Using a younger interviewer isn’t the only way to engage with younger consumers, but it’s worth a shot, and Campus Insights has seen success with this process.

3. Project Prep

Another successful element of the Campus Insight method is the project scope and prep. Their student-led teams spend an ample amount of time working to identify individual goals, ask important questions, write a relevant interview script, and check for any potential biases.

Before even scheduling a video interview, we learn, it’s a vital part of the research process to prepare the perfect script.

What to do moving forward?

Millenial and Gen Z buyers are a huge market and it’s vital to include them in your market research. However, the same tactics won’t work with a different market. As you move forward with your market research, consider using younger interviewers, connecting in ways that are more familiar to younger generations (e.g. video, online, social media), and preparing your project well before you start interviewing.

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