How to Market to Millennials with Card Design & Packaging

Just like any generation before it, millennials think and buy differently. Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials’ purchasing habits tend to prioritize memorable experiences and social identity. Brands that appeal to their values will rise to the top.

In this Q&A, PLI’s Melissa Clemente, corporate director of innovation and marketing, and Judy Olszewski, new product development manager, share how design and packaging are used to market to millennials.

Q: How is PLI using design and packaging to market to millennials?
Generic, one-size-fits-all cards are a thing of the past. Companies that use gift cards to elevate their ability to connect on a personal level and distinguish their brand in the marketplace are getting it right. At PLI, we recognize the fun and exciting gifting experience consumers want to have when giving a gift card.

Often referred to as the “grab-n-go generation,” millennials want ready-to-gift integrated gift card and presenter carriers. That’s why PLI offers a bold variety of cards featuring diverse designs and unique elements that connect with different personalities, likes and preferences. Offering a variety of cards that appeals to different personalities, carries over to the packaging as well.

Q: What gets millennials’ attention?
Beyond uniqueness and personalized experiences, appealing to what is significant and valued by millennials is key to capturing their attention. In today’s experience-based economy, consumers want memorable, shareable and feel-good moments. Appealing packaging creates an upscale presentation that intrigues the recipient, creating excitement for the “big reveal.” When it comes to cards, introducing new card printing techniques, substrates and packaging that continuously surprises and delights consumers is important.

There is also a trend among both baby boomers and millennials to declutter, accumulate fewer possessions and live a more minimalistic lifestyle. Reducing “stuff” has caused growth in restaurant and service gift card opportunities. Giving and receiving a dining or other experience is desirable across generations.

The desire to “go green” is also continuing to gain momentum. Often coined the “green generation,” millennials are driving the sustainable movement with their lifestyle choices. When it comes to cards, they are seeking recyclable, environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional PVC cards. PLI recently launched a new paper-based card that offers all the glitz of full-face foil without the plastic content.

Q: What marketing strategies are being used to market to millennials?
Millennials want to connect with brands through content and engage with authentic messages. Rather than traditional promotional advertising, content-based marketing (often user-generated) is typically more effective with millennials.

Loyalty needs to be continually earned by millennials. They are less brand-loyal than the previous generation of baby boomers. Celebrating and featuring the target audience and relying on influencers works well with this authenticity-seeking demographic. They trust opinions and take tips from other people—strangers—far more than brands.

And of course, social media is a key communication channel for targeting millennials—reach them where they are and engage with them by starting a conversation on the channels they prefer.

Q: Does the unboxing experience matter?
Making cards and packaging suitable for an unboxing experience is the new target. Packaging for millennials is a huge priority for brands, especially with “unboxing” being an expected experience. Savvy marketers realize this and unique, creative and engaging packaging is becoming more of a need rather than an option. PLI is continually evolving its offerings to deliver new and unique ideas, often with integrated “freemiums” that will trigger a purchase.

Both card design and packaging are reaching new heights in creativity and consumer engagement, which helps tell the brand story, drive customer loyalty and provides an opportunity to go viral and reach beyond their own sphere of influence.

Q: How are cards and packaging being designed to deliver an experience?
Purchasing, giving or receiving a gift card is convenient and practical. However, when the gift giver and the recipient are excited about giving or receiving a gift card, it becomes an experience.

Creative card design, coordinating gift boxes, unique presentations, integrated greeting cards and personally selected add-ons that delight, excite and thrill both card givers and recipients transform the act of giving and receiving gift cards into an emotion backed, sentiment-filled experience.

Get Inside the Mind of Millennials and Generation Z
Millennials are the demographic every brand wants to charm.

Adam Wahler, creative director of A to A Studio Solutions Ltd., and Jorge Ojeda, creative director of American BankNote Corporation, will discuss marketing strategies in their presentation, “Marketing to Millennials and Generation Z” at the International Card Manufacturer Association (ICMA)’s 2020 EXPO. There’s still time to register!

Want More Industry Insider Insights or a Glimpse into Global Card Trends?
For three decades, ICMA has represented the interests of the card manufacturing industry—which includes manufacturers, personalizers, issuers and suppliers—as its leading global association.

ICMA offers regular educational opportunities, including the web-based Card Industry Training & Education program, which provides information on key areas of the industry, as well as tutorials and webinars from industry experts. ICMA also provides reports on the card market and on personalization and fulfillment statistics to keep members informed of emerging trends and changing forecasts.

Throughout the year, ICMA members have the opportunity to share insights and knowledge by giving presentations at ICMA events, webcasts and tutorials.

The organization hosts three conferences each year. The main event is the annual Card Manufacturing & Personalization EXPO and the other two conferences are CardTREX North America and CardTREX Europe.

To learn more about the benefits of ICMA membership, click here.