Innovation is no longer the domain of a chosen few companies and sectors. In an era of rapid technological and market change, companies of all sizes...
One of the largest generations in history is about to move into its prime spending years. Millennials are poised to reshape the economy; their unique experiences will change the ways we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come (Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research).
Because of this, I think it would be helpful to give some insights from our perspective.
Who are we?
We grew up in a time of rapid change. Computers evolved from an additional luxury to the most essential thing in our household. When we were ten, there were no social media and trendy influencers. Now we are in our twenties, we are social influencers and know how to use the social channels most effective. We had to learn the strengths and flaws of the internet by trial and error, what made us curious and motivated to master all its features. And a decade later, the online world fits us like a glove.
What do the researches show?
A smartphone is our holy grail. This little device contains everything we need: our agenda, our contacts and our social media. It has become such a big part of our identity, that 39% of us interacts more with a smartphone than with lovers, parents, friends, children or co-workers (Bank of America’s Trends in Consumer Mobility Report 2016). This sounds like we are lonely, awful people who sit in their bedroom with closed curtains all day, but this is absolutely not the case. Of course we spend time with our loved ones, we just prefer to do that through the phone sometimes.
Besides this ‘small’ smartphone addiction, it appears that we are self-centered and easily distracted. Also we are called lazy, entitled, and spoiled. Not particularly qualities I would mention on my resume. On top of that, we don’t seem to be loyal to product brands. This is where I have to step in, because that is simply not true. Research shows that millennials, despite popular belief, do develop strong brand loyalty when presented with quality products and actively engaged by brands (David Arabov, CEO Co-founder Elite Daily). We don’t have the old ‘consumption-oriented’ attitude of the previous generation, our consumption is driven by curiosity and the will of trying new things.
How can brands anticipate on our needs?
Social media have also a big influence on our spending behavior. 43.5% of Millennials said they use social media to spread the word about products or services, meaning that people within any given network have more access to what their friends, family, and acquaintances are buying. To succeed in this environment, brands must not only be active on social networks, but also find ways to get consumers to share their experiences on these platforms. Whether it’s a social-centric campaign or giving incentives for sharing a brand’s post, companies must make their way into these funnels to help build long-term relationships with their consumers (Geoff Smith, SVP of Marketing, CrowdTwist).
You need to know that we buy products not to own them, but to actually enjoy them. We don’t want to sit back and wait fore something exciting to happen, we go out and search for these events ourselves. We live our lives pro-actively. Our happiness depends on what we do and the goals we want to achieve in life. Older generations score significantly lower on these values (monitoringthefuture.org). We desire to work for something other than money. Our top priority is doing something that we find enjoyable or that makes a difference in society. Besides having a competitive mindset, we also have a healthy mindset. We eat healthier, exercise more and smoke less than all previous generations (Gillian B. White, The Atlantic). Now that is something to be proud of.
Sure, some of us are easily distracted, but thanks to our smartphones, a huge amount of information is reaching us every single minute. As you can imagine, that requires a lot of attention shifting. Therefore, we prefer messages that can be processed fast and easy.
Maybe we are not perfect, but it surely is possible to keep us with you. Just a few tips from a Millennial:
1. Make sure you offer a product that contributes to our experience.
2. Reach us through channels that interest us, like Facebook and Instagram.
3. Don’t call us self-centered and distracted. We know our way on the internet,
we actually read those comments…
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