3 Crucial Pieces of Data Impacting Millennial Marketing

September 20, 2016

8:00 pm

Now the strongest purchaser of consumer technologies, the millennial is becoming an important decision maker in business. But despite their newfound significance to this landscape, most organizations have very little insight into how millennials utilize technology and react to marketing efforts. Whether companies are targeting them as customers, appealing to them with platforms, or motivating them to become employees, founders must first understand their habits and sentiments.

Recent research into those born between 1981 and 2000 has indicated some interesting and often unforeseeable trends regarding their market value:

Millennials Are Workaholics

For years, millennials have been dubbed lazy by their Gen-X and Baby Boomer counterparts. However, this anecdotal response might be driven by the same mindset that “old fogies” maintain of viewing crime as worsening and music as louder.

According to a survey by market research company GfK, millennials have a more professional mindset than previously thought. This age group was shown to forfeit more unused vacation days, and more likely to see themselves as “work martyrs” than their older counterparts, sacrificing personal time to ensure their responsibilities are met.

This is something to be incredibly cognizant of when analyzing the pain points of their daily life while crafting messages that are actually important to them. The bottom line is that by no means are you marketing to the “Slacker Generation.” Technically, that’s Generation X.

Millennials Prefer Subtlety

The group that grew up with social media appears to  have some interesting takes on its used by advertisers. Online marketing firm eZanga recently conducted a study to determine how consumers really feel about ads, and found that millennials were the most likely to interact with sponsored content. In other words, they appreciated advertisements that felt packaged like something amusing or useful.

Nearly 48% of all millennials polled had positive statements about sponsored content. This sentiment was well-reflected in their other advertising choices, such as a diminutive feeling towards pop-ups, with just 4% stating they have or would interact with the ad format.

When targeting millennials, it is important to keep in mind that most are digital natives. Unlike other generations, they only existed in a world of choice when it comes to content and that which moves them must be entertaining or informative, with little time or attention paid to blatant advertisements.

Millennials Love a Good Cause

Flower children of the 1960s have nothing on the millennial need to make the world the better place. This desire affects the way they view companies, both in who they choose to buy from and also who they choose to work for. A study from public relations firm Cone Communications concluded that 9 out of 10 millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause and that 62% are willing to take a pay cut to work for a responsible organization. But that doesn’t mean your brand should immediately start sending free shoes to people in developing nations. The key here is authenticity.

Purpose-driven marketing only works when it’s genuine and if it’s not, the millennial will view it as an attempt to manipulate them into purchasing your products. You can’t just claim to have a cause; you need to align your brand with one that makes sense. If that dedication feels real, and your efforts towards it appear legitimate, then those world-saving millennials can become your brand’s biggest and most caring customers.

With millennials now outnumbering Baby Boomers it’s easy to see why their buying power cannot be undervalued and their entry into the workforce can’t be ignored. By forgoing the negative stereotypes and paying attention to how this generation perceives itself, your company can profit from tailoring its marketing efforts to the needs of these digitally advanced and socially conscious consumers.


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David Jacoby is a media futurist and consultant to numerous fortune 1000 brands as well as startups. His primary area of consultation include marketing, sales and ecommerce technologies.

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