Generation Y (or, as most like to call them, “Millennials”) are those generally considered to be born from 1977-94. There are many opinions about this age group - how they define themselves, their attitude, and work ethic (all opinions). One thing that is true about this group is how they have been changing marketing, especially the younger ones within this group.
They are the future consumer
Millennials have outnumbered their parents, “Baby Boomers,” both in numbers… and eventually in spending. In 2014, they represented $1.3 trillion in annual spending. Even though a great number of Millennials haven’t reached peak buying power, they have already started creating brand loyalty or brand preference.
Technology: a birthright
They (we) are considered the first generation in history that have grown up surrounded by technology (not just smartphones—this includes Nintendo). Technology has shaped Millennials’ identities, and how they view the world: culturally, politically, and how they interact with others. Technology is what they know and will always be a large part of their daily lives.
How this effect marketing
Technology has changed how Millennials have developed and in return has changed marketing—how you should be using their characteristics to develop a better marketing strategy. According to a survey by Bank of America, nearly 40% of Millennials say they interact more with their smartphones than they do with their significant others, parents, friends, children, or co-workers. This overall changes how they receive any type of information and is a crucial point to think about as a marketer if Millennials are a part of your target audience.
Traditional media like TV, print (newspaper, magazines, etc.), radio, and billboards aren’t always a relative medium to market to Millennials. It isn’t that these mediums aren’t used by Millennials, but they use them in a different way. Instead of buying cable they are purchasing Netflix and Hulu. They are subscribing to Pandora, Spotify, Soundcloud, and so forth instead of listening to local radio. Millennials read more than any other generation, but instead of looking at physical newspapers and magazines they are resorting to apps and social media.
In my opinion, traditional mediums will never "die," but there are diverse ways to use them to connect with Millennials. For example, marketers could use interactivity with traditional mediums such as virtual reality.
Bonus points – facts to consider about Millennials, to better your marketing
- Millennials are considered the most educated generation in Western history.
- Larger amounts are going and finishing bachelors, masters, professional, and doctoral degrees.
- Women are outperforming men in the classroom. (I had to include this!)
- They have a strong sense of community, both locally and globally.
- Believe that companies/brands should be giving back.
- Excercise more, eat less, and smoke less - wellness is top of mind.
- Crave independence - travel solo, marriage is not a concern, and are not into rules and restrictions.
This list could go on forever, but I will end here.