Brands better understand the millennial mind or risk losing out to competitors that do.


Marketers are obsessed with millennials. With so much interest in the age group, you’d think there would be some consensus on who actually qualifies as one, but there’s still debate on the age range. The group is generally defined as those born in the early 1980s to about 20 years after that, although some definitions cap it at the mid-1990s.

Any way you slice it, millennials are a tremendous consumer force. They comprise the largest generation ever in the U.S. In Europe, people ages 50 and older still account for a larger percentage of the population, but they are aging, and millennials are becoming an increasingly influential generation. Their sheer size makes them powerful, and their priorities, spending power and preferences have already begun to impact the economy, housing trends, transportation and advertising worldwide.

Whether your brand is targeting millennials or not, you need to be aware of the way they are reshaping both B2C and B2B marketing. The implications of these trends will change marketing for everyone, including their younger cohorts, Gen Z. Plus, millennials get older. If they aren’t your customer yet, they may be in the future. Here are four aspects of your business that need to be updated with millennials in mind.

  1. Company website
  2. Millennials are the first digital natives. They grew up with technology and have higher expectations for online experiences than previous generations. They expect websites and apps to be easy-to-use, and those expectations are forcing brands to prioritize and improve their digital presence. This excellent article from Wired explains how millennials’ demands are reshaping technology experiences. Key takeaways include that they prefer mobile to other platforms and that they are increasingly comfortable making purchases online, including on their smartphones.

      Takeaways:

    • Be sure you have an easy-to-use website that is optimized for mobile.
    • Prioritize your e-commerce and m-commerce (mobile commerce) approach.
  3. Customer service
  4. Millennials expect to get immediate answers to their questions when researching products or services, which makes sense. They are used to this immediacy, whether they are Googling which film won Best Picture in 2015 (Birdman!) or comparing meal delivery services (Blue Apron or HelloFresh? Discuss.). They are self-reliant and comfortable researching information themselves, but they aren’t renowned for their patience. Seventy-one percent of online shoppers report that the most important thing a brand can do is to value their time, and 52 percent will abandon an online purchase if they can’t find an answer quickly enough.

      Takeaways:

    • Your customer service approach cannot be limited to phone calls. In fact, most millennials prefer other communication channels, like SMS or social.
    • Include as much information as possible on your website so shoppers can find what they are looking for themselves.
  5. Social Media Presence
  6. By 2018, the number of social media users worldwide is projected to hit 2.5 billion. Millennials’ widespread adoption is helping to fuel this trend. According to a study from Livonia-based Market Strategies International, millennials are nearly three times more likely than other generations to reference social media networks when making purchasing decisions. They are also more likely to be influenced by social media content. This is in part because they tend to trust their peers more than corporations.

    Millennials are also more likely than other generations to share a positive experience they have had with a brand on social media, which helps to explain the surge in user-generated content.

      Takeaways:

    • Take social media seriously! You need to be where your customers are. If they are on a social media network, you should be, too. Invest in a strategy and consider how social media can impact your branding, customer service approach and advertising.
    • Engage your audience in two-way conversation via social media channels. Listen to their feedback and respond to it.
    • Take steps to encourage your audience to share their experiences via their own social media channels to encourage word-of-mouth promotion. Also look into influencer marketing opportunities.
  7. Marketing
  8. Millennials value authenticity, and they are wary of traditional advertising. They don’t want ads--they want stories. To successfully reach and influence this population, you have to build a relationship with them. You need to be human and to have a clear brand voice. Millennials are a big part of the reason why content marketing is exploding. Research shows that millennials are not influenced by advertisements; in fact, they are a driving force in the rise in ad-blockers. We need to find another way to reach them, and that way is high-quality, trustworthy content.

      Takeaways

    • Content marketing! Remember how millennials say one of the most important things a company can do is value their time? Interruptive, intrusive advertising is the antithesis of that. When you create content that serves a true need for your reader, you showcase your organization’s thought leadership while respecting your audience and building a relationship with them. As hard as millennials are to please, they are the most brand loyal generation, and they’re not shy about sharing these feelings via their own social media channels. Converting a millennial buyer often means securing a loyal customer—sometimes even a brand evangelist!

    Want to speak to a real live millennial about what makes them tick? Give Mediaplanet a call. Most of our employees are millennials, so we know a thing or two about speaking to them, and about creating quality, results-oriented content marketing.