Who the Hell Are These "Millennials" I Keep Hearing About?
This question was posted on Facebook by my 65+ father. But I believe the question has been asked by more than just the senior set!
Generational theory places all of us within boundaries based on the year we were born. We are put into subsets and defined by our communal attitudes and habits.
The Millennial Generation, also known as Gen Y, follows Generation X with birthdates between 1980 and 2000 (depending on the source). There are an estimated 76 million people within the United States that are “Millenials.”
Although birth year provides a good overall profile of habits and attitudes of each group, GenXers may be more culturally similar to the GenY profile or vice versa, depending on what end of the age spectrum they fall.
As marketers, researchers and advertisers, we study these demographic groups in order to deliver creative and messaging to them that match core beliefs and values within media channels that they know and trust.
So, in order to market to millennials, we need to understand some of the unique characteristics and tendencies they have developed. Here are few things to know about Millenials. They:
· Come from an era of doting parents, structured lives and contact with diverse people
· Are extremely loyal to brands
· Trust user-generated content
· Take a stance on social issues
· Are highly susceptible to social media and online messaging
· According the U.S. census bureau, around forty percent are African American, Latino, Asian or of a racially-mixed background
- Twenty percent have at least one immigrant parent
- Are the last generation born in the 20th century
- A number of studies anticipate that millennials will be the first American generation to do worse, economically-speaking, than their parents
- Are often seen as the most technologically savvy generation ever--a result of growing up with the Internet and associated devices
- Are the most connected generation in history. Because many are computer experts, millennials are connected all over the world by email, instant messages, text messages, and the Internet
When marketing to millennials, we need to remember key characteristics they share: a dedication to technology and social media. Millenials use social media all day, every day. So, when reaching out to them, we need to:
· Listen to what they are saying about our products and companies
· Create accounts on several social media platforms where we can deliver messaging that is not overly commercial, and resonates with their belief systems
· Communicate on a personal level by inviting them to share their experiences with friends or in other forums
· Focus on consistent messaging in order to build trust and develop a lifetime customer
· Be creative and fun with messaging so that there is a greater likelihood for sharing
The main takeaway: social media is key to targeting this group. And even though traditional can still be effective, we should always involve a social component.
Millennials are important to us as marketers because they are living in a time where every thought they have has the potential to become public knowledge with a keystroke. When they have opinions, they aren’t afraid to share them with the world—as a review, as a tweet, or as a blog post. And the opinions of their friends and family are important to them, and help them make decisions.
So we want to be sure that they are happy with us, that they believe what we say about our brands, and that they talk about us with everyone they know in a positive light…even if it is as simple as a share on Facebook.