Are Millennials really that different? Ways to gear your local media plan to reach the “connected” generation.
With “Millennials” or “Generation Y” representing 80 million potential consumers, marketers are scrambling for the latest research to help them understand this fickle, narcissistic and socially conscious group. But, are Millennials really all that different from generations born earlier? And, if so, how can marketers offer authentic value to this time-constrained, media-bred culture?
There does seem to be some evidence for the fickle label. According to an article by Kate Taylor, a study by Millennial Branding, revealed 60% of Millennials leave their job in less than three years, costing 80% of companies surveyed between $15,000 and $25,000 to replace each one.
However, when it comes down to what really matters – and what Millennials want – their generation may not be much different than the ones before. Adam Grant, a Wharton professor, takes a look at two different studies that support the theory that generations are intrinsically much more similar than the media would have us think. In a report entitled “Generational Differences in Work Values: Leisure and Extrinsic Values Increasing, Social and Intrinsic Values Decreasing,” Jean Twenge analyzed data collected from different generational groups at the same age – as high school seniors – in 1976 (Boomers), 1991 (Xers) and 2006 (Millennials). Twenge’s findings revealed there wasn’t much difference between what each generation valued at that particular age.
Similarly, Jennifer Deal’s book, Retiring the Generation Gap: How Employees Young and Old Find Common Ground, reveals findings from an empirically based study that showed Silents (born 1925-1945), Early Boomers (1946-1954), Late Boomers (1955-1963), Early Xers (1964-1976) and Late Xers (1977-1986) want basically the same things out of the workplace: respect, trust, and a coach to help them along the way.
So, even though Millennials may not differ in what they want out of life, the fact they have grown up with cell phones and immediate access to information does change how they want to get it. Here are three things that matter to Millennials as they navigate their techno-world.
1. Save Me Money
In a recent MediaPost article, writer Carol Banks Setter notes nearly a fourth of so-called Millennials – 21.6 million of them – are still living at home with Mom and Dad. And, according to a recent article on MarketingProfs, nearly 80% of U.S. college students describe themselves as more cost-conscious than last year, and 53 % have more expenses and less money to spend on them.
When you’re speaking to Millennials, look for ways to highlight the savings. With the growing popularity of companies like Groupon, LivingSocial and Dealchicken, the mentality is, “If you’re not getting a deal, you’re paying too much.”
2. Make Life Easier
The Millennial generation has grown up with the assumption that if they don’t know how to do something, they can either Google it or find an app to make it easier. Mary Leigh Bliss points out in “New Tools for Grownups” that tools like Hitchswitch and Doorsteps are making it easier for Millennials to do “grownup” things like buy a house or change last names after getting married.
Effective marketing to Millennials should include more than just monetary value – you need to find ways to simplify life for this customer group. First, make it easy for them to hear about your product or service and easy to make the purchase by solidifying a mobile marketing plan.
Secondly, offer more than just a monetary discount – find ways to provide content that Millennials will value. Whether it’s providing how-to videos on organizing their closet or a “top-ten-list” of places they must see before they’re 30 (and how to book the flight NOW), your job is to be the voice that Millennials seek out to help make life simpler for them.
3. Invite My Friends
MediaPost writer Mike Doherty cites findings from Boston Consulting Group that Millennials are twice as likely as others to share pictures and recount travel experiences online using their mobile phone. And, they’re also more likely to travel in groups.
Millennials have embraced the ability to share multiple aspects of their lives with their friends. As a marketer, you can maximize this potential by making it easy and appealing for them to share their experience with your brand amongst their online communities.
When it comes right down to it, the messages that speak to Millennials – savings, simplicity, and social opportunity – really aren’t that foreign to the rest of us after all.