5 Insights into Millennial Consumers That Will Make You Rethink your Strategies

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By Lauren

Millennials the second-most studied generation in the history of the world – second only to their parents, the Baby Boomers. And, thanks to their Booming parents, they’re also one of the largest generations in history, and right now they are entering their prime spending years in droves. The Millennial market is 80 million strong with annual purchasing power of more than $200 billion. This is the generation that will dictate how we buy and sell for the next several decades, and they come with a lengthy list of demands.

Insights into the Millennial Mind

Millennial consumers began life when having a computer in the house was still rare, “car phones” were a luxury (and cell phones were for adults), and the housing market and economy were stronger than they had been in years. Over the course of their formative years, the internet, social media and mobile phones changed the landscape of media forever. The bottom fell out of the economy, the housing market exploded, employment rates bottomed out (just as they graduated college), and the result was a new and pervading cynicism and distrust in established orders.

All of a sudden, the old way of doing things didn’t work anymore. With banks broken and the job market hobbled, Millennials had to either learn to like living with their parents or forge brand new paths to financial solvency.

According to a Forbes article, Millennials are the “True Entrepreneur Generation,” per a survey released by Bentley University in 2014. Findings suggested that Millennials value independence over C-Suite dreams, and almost 67 percent of respondents said their goal was to own their own businesses. Of course, they’re not all self-employed or unemployed, but those who are employed have expectations of their employer formed more by the Googleplex than their Grandfathers.

This is also a group that takes a distinct dislike to being sold to. And it’s no wonder why - they’ve been targeted, groomed, and catered-to by marketers since birth as the new up-and-coming generation of consumers. In a survey of 1,300 Millennials by Forbes earlier this year, only 1 percent of those surveyed said they were influenced by advertising – at all. They don’t trust traditional advertising; they skip commercials; they’re blind to banner advertisements. What’s a marketer to do?

5 Insights into Millennial Consumers That Will Make You Rethink your Strategies

  1. They don’t like ads, but they do like brands – a lot.

 “Our findings confirmed that millennials are highly educated, career-driven, politically progressive and–despite popular belief–do indeed develop strong brand loyalty when presented with quality products and actively engaged by brands.” - David Arabov, CEO Co-founder Elite Daily, Elite Daily Millennial Consumer Study 2015

Once a brand manages to capture a Millennial buyer’s attention, and then follows through by delivering a positive, delightful customer experience, Millennials don’t just become repeat buyers – they become loud-mouthed, enthusiastic, extremely active brand advocates. They will sing your praises on Social Media, write blog posts about their experiences with your company, and leave reviews on every user review site known to Google.

  1. Don’t talk at them – talk to them. Engagement is the key to the Millennial heart.

The “social generation” wants to feel connected on a personal level to the brands they follow. If they can’t have something hand-made for them on Etsy, they want the next best thing – brands who listen, respond, and act to make them happy. In the Forbes survey, 62 percent of Millennials said that they are more likely to become a loyal customer of brands that engage with them on social networks. Most importantly, they want to feel like brands see them as individuals and relate on a human-to-human level. And, they really appreciate brands that embody positive values. Nothing impresses them more.

  1. Win their trust with transparency (they're onto you anyway).

Millennials are sophisticated; they understand how marketing works, and how much data has been accumulated on them. They don't mind though. In fact, a global study by SDL showed 46% of millennials were willing to provide more data to businesses if it meant they wouldn't have to entertain irrelevant offers. If you show them how the data you've collected on them is being used to deliver a better, more relevant and enjoyable experience/product/service, they will be more loyal to your brand, not less! 

  1. They’re looking for reasons to LOVE you – and those reasons are usually your values.

After having seen their family members crushed under duplicitous loans and bank policies and laid off by employers, this generation is sick and tired of corporate greed. They only want to do business with companies who make giving back to society a priority. They love brands that support their local communities, adopt Free Trade policies, are environmentally-friendly, and especially those that encourage a less consumer-centric lifestyle (like Patagonia – see our Patagonia Audience Analysis here).

  1. It’s not just their buying power – it’s their indirect value you should target.

Millennials have enormous impact on the buying behaviors and purchase decisions of their parents – the Baby Boomers. Daughters in particular influence the fashion choices of their mothers, according to research published in the Journal of Consumer Behavior in 2011. But consider this:

Son shows mother how to use Facebook and they start playing Farmville together. 
Student gets into college, parents as her what kind of laptop she wants. 
Thirty-something woman needs a new cell phone – she asks her friends on Facebook what she should buy (bought their mobile phones based on their friends, rather than by responding to an ad). 
Millennials on social media provide marketers and product developers with so much data that they can develop products and devise marketing strategies with very little guesswork involved.

Of course, once you have a target market, you can’t lump all Millennials into a single basket. For more information on your specific Millennial market, what they like and dislike, what they love, what they value, who they follow, and which public figures influence their tastes – contact us for a Demo.

Topics: Knowledge