If Total Media had a rule book for best practice media strategies, our first commandment would be: know your audience.
And one of the most heavily targeted and studied audiences are up and coming millennials (other monikers include Generation Y, Generation Me and, if you live in London as I do, Generation Rent).
Typically born between 1980 – 1999, millennials are coming into their own, with 2015 seeing a combined global spending power of $2.45 trillion (Youbrand). And naturally, marketers want a bite of the action. But unlike previous generations, millennials are a completely new breed to Generation X and the Baby Boomers before them.
With their marketing savvy and “always on” attitude, we list five behavioural traits best associated to millennials.
From the dawn of the internet, to mobile tech through to the explosion of social media, millennials have grown up in a digitally connected world – we’re always on, 24/7. And a millennial loves nothing more than their mobile phone: According to comScore, 91% of UK millennials own a smartphone, spending up to 88.6 hours per month accessing digital content.
In fact, we’re so dependent on our mobile phones, there’s even a name for that sweat-inducing panic that befalls all of us when we realise we’ve lost our mobile phone: nomophobia. And it’s easy to understand why – we conduct huge amounts of our lives using our mobile phones and our reliance on this convenient little gadget is all encompassing.
According to YouGov’s recent study, over 50 percent of millennials reported that they carry their phone in their hand throughout the day, while Generation X reported 30 percent and Baby Boomers just 16 percent. Mobile phones truly are becoming an extension of our physical selves.
This may be tough to take for ATL media-bods, but millennials aren’t generally swayed by traditional media. Inherently cynical about flashy advertising and brand messaging, millennials will regularly fast-forward through TV adverts or hit “skip” on online ad units. In fact recent research from the IAB has found that millennials are leading the charge to use ad-blocking software.
To put it simply, we don’t want to be marketed at. Multiple bodies of research has concluded that millennials just want messaging that is authentic (don’t pretend to be something you’re not, for the love of God – you’ll be crucified), transparent (don’t mislead us – God forbid the brand that tries to mislead a millennial) and relevant (I’m a bit of a cat lady: I regularly search for cat products online, so do not serve me products for dogs – it does me no service).
Did you think we meant face to face socialising? LOL! How 90s. No, millennials are the first generation to be fully exposed to the immersive world of social media and how we’ve embraced it.
We’re the first digitally native generation: we buy, talk and even chose our prospective partners all online. We’ve always got an opinion and we’re rarely shy in sharing them.
But before you start running paid social media campaigns, remember that millennials typically place more trust in their peers and other social influencers that closely echo their own values, than they do in brands. Kissmetrics found 93% of millennials have made a purchase based on a review from family and friends and 89% of us trust those peer-related recommendations more than claims from a brand.
While millennial’s are poised to become the biggest spending demographic, we’ve also just emerged from the biggest recession in (our) recent memory, with rising costs, falling wages and rampant unemployment. As a result, our cash out-goings are usually polarised between aspirational consumption and frugality. In fact, millennials are more price conscious than we’re given credit for. With huge student loans and higher costs of living, research from investment banks has found that 18-34 year olds tend to have higher levels of debt than their parents’ generation – making them more responsible and conservative with their cash. So we’re more likely to be swayed by a good discount then a flashy (and intrusive, if you’re not doing it right) mobile banner.
Millennials are the most-cause centric generation so far – perhaps it’s because there have been a raft of social, cultural, political and economic changes over the last twenty years or so. From same sex marriages to environmental plights, millennials are the most socially and environmentally conscious to date.
And we expect to see brands operate in a similar manner, with corporate social responsibility programmes. In a study by Forbes, 75% of those surveyed said they think it’s very important a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit.