I am a millennial. We have also been referred to as Generation Y, the We generation, and Echo Boomers. Millennials are the group of Americans born between 1980 and the mid-2000s. We have surpassed the baby boomers to become the largest generation in the U.S., representing one-third of the total U.S. population in 2013. We have distinctly different behaviors, values and attitudes from previous generations. These behaviors, values and attitudes are something that marketers need to pay attention to.
First, millennials are the most educated generation to date. About 61 percent of adult Millennials have attended college, whereas only 46 percent of the Baby Boomers did so. Thus, we are savvier than our baby boomer parents and won’t fall prey to marketing media blitzes. We actively tune out and ignore most traditional advertising. If brands want us to adopt their products/services they need to create relationships with us – relationships that are based upon more than just buying and selling. Millennials have the tendency to think we have the power to make brands succeed or fail, and why wouldn’t we? – just look at the Arab Spring movement. We want to engage with brands – 59% of millennials have “liked” a brand on Facebook and 40% subscribe to some sort of brand email. In order to connect with millennials brands need to create compelling and engaging content.
Second, going along with creating compelling content, brands who want to connect with millennials need to be all over social media. Millennials are a group that highly weights our purchasing decisions on the thoughts and shares of our peers. Twenty-five percent of millennials share online shopping content to our social networks; a rate of nearly four times that of the average user. We also share more content in general — twice as much as the average user. We spend the majority of our time on the internet on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and Pinterest. Brands need to be on all of these sites and they need to differentiate the content they put out as well. If I follow a brand on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin I do not want to see the same exact post on all three sites. Brands can (and should) use social media to engage with their consumers. They can create great PR for themselves, and avoid major PR disasters simply by tweeting at consumers.
Lastly, millennials are incredibly mobile. According to Nielsen data in the second-quarter 2014, 85% of Millennials aged 18-24 own devices and 86% aged 25-34 own them, an increase from 77% and 80%, respectively, in second-quarter 2013. We have grown up as the internet has and have always had technology at our fingertips. Brands need to be aware of this and connect with us as much on mobile as with all the other platforms. This means, responsive website design, geo-targeting, and swapping out banner ads for mobile ads.
Check out this quiz to see how “millennial” you are