During the first quarter of 2015, millennials overtook Generation X to become the largest generation in the U.S. workforce with over 53 million workers, according to PewResearch Center. This should perk the ears of any company who is attempting to capture and keep a healthy market share of this generation. Brands need to understand how to reach millennials to capitalize on their purchasing power.
Who Are They?
Millennials, also known as the “boomerang generation” because 3 out of 10 have returned to live with their parents after being on their own, according to PewResearch Center, were born between 1982 and 2000. They are the least overtly religious generation, the most racially diverse and the most educated. This generation is closer to their parents and values their input more than generations in the past.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation estimates that millennials have $200 billion of direct purchasing power and $500 billion of indirect spending, which accounts for their influence on their baby boomer parents. Even though they are a decade away from reaching their peak spending power, their influence can’t be discounted. To reach this tech-savvy generation, brands need to engage them online, personalize experiences and products, and keep their engagement authentic.
Millennials' technology use is what makes their generation unique. This generation has never known a world without cable television, cellphones or the Internet. So, it shouldn’t surprise any company that this segment of U.S. consumers is mostly online, and they expect company’s to be there as well.
According to a survey conducted by the American Press Institute, younger millennials use an average of 3.7 social media channels, and older millennials use an average of 2.9. This means brands must engage them on social media. Proactive engagement is the best method and helps to stave off any social media brand disasters.
As mentioned earlier, millennials have closer relationships with their parents. Therefore, they are accustomed to having a voice and opinion and having somebody act quickly on those opinions. They expect company’s to listen and react to their ideas as well.
There are two main ways for brands to personalize their products and customers’ experiences: social media interactions and data collection. Once brands get the info they need, they can customize their products and services through reward programs, variable data mailers and more. For instance, when HTC started planning for the HTC One M9, the company listened to input their millennial customers gave them on social media and created a smartphone with a sleek design, enhanced features and a happy customer base.
Another thing to consider: Millennials came of age during the Great Recession. They know the value of a dollar and often prefer shopping online, where they can find deals with little effort. Give them a personalized rewards program, and they will stick with that company.
Millennials are savvy. They know when brands are targeting them for their dollars, and they aren’t fans of ads. Native content is a good alternative for companies. They can make useful and engaging content that doesn’t shove their brand in millennials faces and, therefore, receive better results.