Generation Y or the “Millennials” are not only changing the way the world does business, they have the largest set of collected data attached to them since the advent of “the inter web”. Millennials are now entering a new phase of life, with the age range spanning from 18-33. They are entering the job market, they are more likely to be single and they have disposable income.
Know Your Target
The following facts about Millennials are from recent surveys and studies conducted in early 2014.
- Half of Millennials (50%) now describe themselves as political independents and about three-in-ten (29%) say they are not affiliated with any religion. 3
- Millennials have 20% more Facebook friends on average than Generation X, 61% more than Younger Baby Boomers, and 80% more than Older Boomers. 3
- According to the LinkedIn study, sixty-eight percent of millennials, which the survey defined as workers between the ages of 18 and 24, said they would sacrifice a friendship with a colleague for a promotion. That’s in stark contrast to the 62 percent of workers between the ages 55 and 65 who said they wouldn’t even consider the proposition. 4
- They are “digital natives”—the only generation for which these new technologies are not something they’ve had to adapt to. Not surprisingly, they are the most avid users. For example, 81% of Millennials are on Facebook. 3
- 55% have posted a “selfie” on a social media site; no other generation is nearly as inclined to do this. 3
- Some 43% of Millennial adults are non-white, the highest share of any generation. 3
- Millennials are also the first in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations (Gen Xers and Boomers) had at the same stage of their life cycles. 3
- Despite their financial burdens, Millennials are the nation’s most stubborn economic optimists. More than eight-in-ten say they either currently have enough money to lead the lives they want (32%) or expect to in the future (53%). 3
- Millennials make up 24% of the current population in the United States. 1
- “Historically there was more of a separation between one’s personal life and professional life. Friendships existed outside of work. For younger workers, those lines are blurred,” 53 percent of millennials surveyed said they’re open to sharing relationship advice with co-workers in the office, compared to 23 percent of baby boomers. 1
Online Marketing Implications
What do Millennials respond to? In other words, what should your conversation with this target group consist of. Crafting your content to meet the needs and desires of this group can be crucial to your brand image and sustainability.
Millennials are a different breed. They respond and interact differently because what they know is a world where their work, social and personal lives are completely integrated with technology. Tech is not just a tool to these guys and gals, it’s part of who they are and they treat it as such.
Targeting and tracking technology is rapidly evolving, but the content being aimed at millennials is at times falling pretty flat. Part of the issue is that marketers have bought the media’s simplistic party line that millennials are “entitled, privileged, impatient or narcissistic.” 1 These labels lack the underlying foundation – for example, “there is both qualitative and quantitative information that indicates millennials seek to work for and buy from companies that affect measurable positive change on the world around them.” 1 This is a valuable insight, and can re-orient a brand strategy to appear more philanthropic for both employees and customers to attract the millennial set.
The selfie phenomenon can be pointed to as an open and shut case of the self-centered tendencies of Generation Y, however, in the ever evolving climate of social media this isn’t so black and white. The #selfie has transformed into the #nomakeupselfie, even the #feministselfie. “While there are differing opinions on the value of selfies themselves, they do highlight a trend: Millennials seem to seek out authenticity and inspiration. Millennial women, in particular, look for content that is positive in tone and that informs.” 1 Dove Real Beauty is a hallmark example of the turn of the marketing tide, by reflecting the qualities young millennial women are asking to see.
“But millennials aren’t just interested in being authentic and open themselves – they expect the same from brands that they interact with.” 1 Transparency is something that I’ve touched upon before, see my article entitled “The Age of Transparency”. In it, I discuss the three essential rules of tapping into transparency to advance your brand and business on multiple levels.
Consistency across online platforms is more important than ever. Staying true to the brand message is key because Millennials are the most cross-platform generation to date, and they will notice.
Keep your message consistent, talk about your good works, reach out in a way that inspires genuine engagement, be transparent, tailor your message across different platforms.
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