Unless you have been living under a rock, you have seen the headlines lighting up over the Millennial generation: they are vast, they are loud, and they are taking over. Smart companies are already ahead of the curve, targeting Millennials in their marketing efforts. However, many of those companies are simply riding the wave without truly understanding why it is so important to consider a Millennial strategy today.
We can think of five very simple reasons:
1. Millennials are powerful
Let’s start with the obvious – Millennials are quickly becoming the largest generation in the United States and their spending power is only continuing to grow. Research from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that Millennials currently control $200 billion dollars in direct spending and close to $500 billion in indirect spending. These young adults are also setting the status quo for the marketplace. No longer do we live in an era where major companies dictate the way we buy and what we buy. Instead, consumers are informing brands about what they want and how they want it and, if they can’t get it that way, creating it themselves. A trend largely fueled by the Millennial generation.
2. Millennials are using technology faster and rely on it more than any other generation
There is a common misconception is that Millennials believe their most important accessory is their phone. This, however, is only slightly true. Millennials don’t just consider their phone to be an accessory, but rather, an extension of themselves. Ask any Millennial and most would tell you they feel “undressed” without their phone in their pocket or purse. Zipcar, a car-sharing platform, found that Millennials believe losing their phone (65%) or their computer (35%) would be more detrimental to their daily routine than losing their car. Most Millennials have never even lived in an era without high speed Internet, Wi-Fi and LTE connections. Brands in today’s market must navigate the digital waters to be able to translate fluidly across all platforms.
3.They have inspired other generations to think with a millennial mindset
It is important to remember that when we talk about modern consumers, we are not just talking about people between the ages of 18 and 34. As a whole, the Millennial generation has created an entire market of modern consumers who may not be “Millennials” by definition or age but still consume and connect with brands in a modern way. In fact, I’m not technically a Millennial, but I consider myself just as tech savvy and hip as any Millennial out there. (Well, just as tech savvy anyway.) Think about the last time you went to Starbucks. Did you happen to notice the 60-year-old women pull out her iPhone to pay for her Caramel Vanilla Latte with her My Starbucks app? We live in an age where everyone has adapted to a modern way of living with technology seamlessly integrated into our lives. The most inspired brands are working alongside that technology and ones who are lagging are racing to keep up.
4. Millennials will give you what you want, if you give them what they want
For Millennials, privacy is a concern…but only sometimes. Remember, this is the over-sharing generation. A new study from the American Press Institute found that only 20 percent of Millennials worry all or most of the time about their digital privacy. This means that they are willing to share their location, their opinions, their emails, their phone numbers, etc. with brands – for a cost. Brands that offer Millennials benefits for their personal data will not only get what they are looking for but they will also create loyal customers. Those brands then have the opportunity to use that personal information to create customized brand experiences for their consumers that will keep them coming back for more.
5. They’re #doinggood
We see far too often that the media portrays the Millennial generation as selfish, narcissistic, and naïve. In reality, this generation is more concerned about the world and the people living in it than previous generations. As global warming becomes more of a reality, young adults are leading the charge towards creating a smaller ecological footprint and supporting local communities. Millennials are more invested in engaging with brands that are publically adding “good” to the world and will not waste their time with those that are not. An overwhelming 69 percent of Millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to shop.
However you want to spin it, Millennials are taking center stage. Connecting with the Millennial audience and engaging this new generation of brand ambassadors will be imperative to brands looking to succeed in the digital age. Millennials are quickly leading the way towards a “prosumer” economy that is rooted in active engagement with brands across all channels.