Millennials (Gen Y, Echo boomers, Why generation, Net generation, Gen wired, We generation, Dotnet)

David Baker – COO, Cordial

While there is an element of Digital Teens in the Millennial/GenY generation, it’s important to show how they separate. We can say a lot of things about Millennials: They are dualistic, optimistic realists who love eclectic stuff that’s authentic. Millennials are very different from their Generation X predecessors but share many characteristics with Digital Teens because they’re on the far edge of the digital-native universe.

We sometimes call Millennials the light version of the digital natives. The Millennial generation is an important cohort because it was the first generation to grow up after the Cold War ended with the fall of the Berlin War. It came of age in a new world order and its explosion of technology, new media, products and marketing.

Marketing to Millennials

Teens of this generation receive considerable marketing attention and are notoriously self-centered. At the same time, they’re hyperaware of the world they live in. and are more open to alternate living styles.

They live for today and spend big. Gen Y individuals assist in household management and shopping with important preferences and tastes being developed during these teen years. They’re also accustomed to having a say in household spending.

Marketers want to attract this group early and earn its loyalty. However, traditional mass marketing approaches do not work well with younger consumers. Gen Y reacts strongly to real life examples. They favor the truth and what is real.

Appeal to their belief that they can make the future better. Show how your organization’s mission speaks to a purpose greater than the bottom line, e.g., globalization, global warming, and the advent of the “global citizen.”

Embrace diversity. One-third of the members of this generation are from a minority group and diversity in communications is attractive to them.

Be real. Honesty, humor, uniqueness, and information are important. They’re skeptical of marketing-speak.

Challenge them. Encourage them to explore new paths or options. They crave challenge.

Show them social proof. Millennials value and seek out brands that also resonate with their peers. Their peers often guide product and brand choice.

Appeal to their need for self-expression. Generation Y is tremendously image-driven including electronic decorations, piercings and tattoos. Take full advantage of technology and its allure for Gen Y.

Key words for Gen Y: Collaborate, connect, co-create, and control, mostly with their peers.

Gen Y likes products customized to their unique needs. Brand names are important, and they want products and services with a purpose greater than the bottom line. This cohort gets bored easily, so is one of the more difficult cohorts to engage from a retailer perspective.

They shop frequently and expect novelty or prestige to be associated with their product choices. Yet, this generation is shifting away from the materialism of the Boomers in a search for inner tranquility and a deeper meaning of life. “Social Good” is a major driver of brand connections within this cohort.

Engaging Millennials   

Word-of-mouth advertising is very important to reach Gen Y. Referrals from people they know and trust influence them. Identify triggers for Gen Y, and then use these triggers in advertising.  

Approach this generation through email and mobile. Use visual communications to motivate action. This cohort prefers ads with humor or irony as well as an element of truth. Gen Y responds to quirky humor and YouTube videos. Use humor to show that you do not take yourself too seriously.

Communicating with Millennials

This generation is impatient as they were raised in a world of technology and instant gratification. They value fitting in and connecting with their peers.

Reach them digitally with websites and microsites/ campaign sites, web marketing (e-cards, banner adverts, pop-ups, sponsorship, content partnering, screensavers, desktop toys), email, online chat, webcasting, interactive television (sites and adverts) and SMS.

Content is king for this generation. Moving content from platform to platform with no restrictions is a must.

Most of them are creators, distributors, and consumers of content. They’re the toughest audience to deliver seamless digital experiences because they are constant device-shifting, place-shifting and time-shifting consumers.

Delivering consistent experiences across channels and devices is critical to sustained engagements with this audience.

Persuading Millennials to buy  

Millennials spend more in a single shopping visit than any other cohort. Social media is a tremendous influence to purchase with this hyper-connected audience.

This cohort is vain, spending heavily on appearance. Typical generational members spend over an hour a day browsing on retail sites during the day. Critical to the Millennials’ wallets is their friends’ influence.  While relying on their peers, this cohort also trusts others’ opinions and is more likely than any other generation to seek social good in their purchase and brand decisions.  

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