7 New Discoveries About Marketing to Millennials

Let’s face it, if millennials were a brand, then the “Occupy” movement didn’t do much for their image. It did however reinforce the enormity of the upcoming consumer generation and the influential pull they are having on spending and media consumption.

As a publisher, the reason this matters to you is the same reason why we conducted the extensive 7-week Digital Native Study back in the fall—because their habits should be accounted for in your ten-year plan. Have you watched the video?

Coincidentally, it hasn’t been just us watching the future generations roll into magazine town hooting “yay” or “nay”. Every other analytical editor, reporter and publication has turned it into a business expense to research what’s coming to our industry in the next few years.

Collaboratively, here’s what we’ve discovered. While not all may relate directly to your marketing initiatives, they do in some way contribute to understanding your audience.

  • Email isn’t extinct, keep using it. According to our study (and many others), email is still a means of communication that is read daily and continues to give both small and large businesses the best conversion rates. People who spend the most tend to have jobs with personal work email addresses, so as far as the outlook goes, nobody sees work emails transferring to Facebook mail or LinkedIn mail anytime soon. Email must still be monitored daily.
  • Millennials come in all ages and backgrounds. Despite the idea that all millennials are created equal, including their bad spending habits, the Boston Consulting Group took it upon themselves to organize a segmentation of millennials to disband stereotypes by categorizing them like so:
    • Hip-ennials (29%) “I can make the world a better place.”
    • Millennial Moms (22%) “I love to work out, travel, and pamper my baby.”
    • Anti-Millennials (16%) “I’m too busy taking care of my business and my family to worry about much else.”
    • Gadget Gurus (13%) “It’s a great day to be me.”
    • Clean and Green Millennials (10%) “I take care of myself and the world around me.”
    • Old School Millennials (10%) “Connecting on Facebook is too impersonal, let’s meet up for coffee instead!”

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  • Passion is contagious. Despite these stereotype-busters, 79% of those in the same survey said that are defined by what they’re passionate about, not what job title they have or what technology they use. They are unmarried longer, and linger in the “explorer” stage which is probably the reason why there was a 250% increase in the past two years of millennials who chose freelance over full-time.
  • Content should be consumed on any platform. I’m not just talking about tablets here. Seventeen Magazine was a great case study for editorializing their video content. When they redesigned their website and added more how-to videos, interviews on the red carpet, social media integration and instant messaging, their young audience applauded.
  • Despite being the “over-sharing generation”, privacy is a huge concern. According to Mashable, in  a study of 7,213 people from This Digital Life, “55% of respondents believe technology is robbing us of our privacy, while more than half of millennials worry that a family member or friend will post inappropriate personal information about them online.”
  • Fame is a big deal, even 15-minutes of it. One of the reasons why millennials flock to social media is because it gives them the moderate fame and soapbox they’re looking for. According to a recent  study from the American Psychological Association found that “recent generations are less likely to embrace community mindedness and are focusing more on money, image and fame”. And that’s why user-generated content and citizen reporting is so popular and on the rise.
  • Expect loyalty, not necessarily commitment. Just because someone likes you doesn’t mean they’re going to marry you. Cynthia Boris at Marketing Pilgrim reports on a university study that shows “75% said they had “liked” a profit or non-profit organization on Facebook but 69% said that once they “liked” the organization, they rarely or never returned to the fan page.”

Ask yourself who is in your industry that would be considered a legitimate competitor and who has popped up in the last few years. In some cases, the company was funded by venture capital and is run by a millennial. The reason for their success is because they understand the current and upcoming market. However, like every generational change, in twenty years they might be looking for new jobs (or riding the wave of stock dollars when you or someone else buys them).

Do you understand who you’re marketing to? Will you still understand in ten years? How are you preparing?


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