The leading edge of the Millennial generation, born in 1980, is turning 34 this year. But don’t be fooled by their age; Millennials are actually very different from their 35+ counterparts, especially when it comes to media consumption and technology.
Experian’s Millennials come of age report highlights the major demographic, psychographic, attitudinal and behavioural trends of this generation. Here are 5 facts from this report that every marketer should know if he or she wants to succeed at reaching them.
Millennial fact #1: They are diverse
Racially and ethnically, Millennials are the most diverse generation. Only 55% of them are white, compared to 61% of Xers, 73% of Boomers and 83% of Silent Generation. But according to the report,
Millennials are also 2.5 times more likely than the Silent Generation, 1.8 more likely than Boomers and 1.7 times more likely than Generation X to identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
Racial, ethnic, sexual and gender diversity is common to Millennials, and marketers “should worry less about offending or shocking Millennials if they break from traditional imagery.” Gay couples, mixed race families, gender-nonconforming individuals can be featured in advertising and marketing materials without much risk of offending this particular generation.
Millennial fact #2: They are entrepreneurial and motivated by money
According to the report, 46% of all Millennials want to start their own businesses one day. Given how many of them are self-employed or underemployed, it’s not surprising that the route to success appears in entrepreneurship.
Another interesting fact is that Millennials are 19% more likely to say that money is the best measure of success. No clear explanation is provided, but it could be because they have yet to make the wages of their older siblings and parents (Millennials make on average $34,100 a year, compared to $54,400 for Xers and $57,700 for Boomers). Nonetheless, making more money is a strong motivator for Millennials, so marketers can take advantage of this desire in their campaigns.
Millennial fact #3: They care less about business ethics
I’m not sure if, as a leading-edge Millennial myself, I should deplore this fact, but it seems that only 64% of Millennials (compared to 74% of all non-Millennials) believe it’s important for businesses to act ethically.
However, there could be some explanation for this; for example, the Experian report mentions that to be considered “green”, businesses need to do more than recycle, since things like recycling are ingrained in their behaviour. So maybe, when it comes to business ethics, some things like corporate social responsibility and the triple bottom line are taken as a matter of course, and for businesses to be considered “ethical”, they need to do quite a lot more.
If marketers want to impress Millennials with ethical behaviour and environmentally-friendly policies, they need to show that they go beyond widely accepted (and expected) practices.
Millennial fact #4: They think technology and the internet is the natural order of things
While the leading edge of Millennials (born 80-85) were introduced to the internet as teenagers, those born later see the web, computers and technology as a matter of course.
Don’t overhype something that a Gen X or Boomer marketer thinks is “revolutionary” or “exciting” because Millennias will not be nearly as impressed.
Marketers need to keep in mind that technology and technological advancement is normal to Millennials, so targeting the message from another angle (like benefits to connected life, making more money, etc.) will work better with them.
Millennial fact #5: They are the first true mobile citizens
If you’ve ever seen a group of Millennials together, you’ll know right away what this means: they are attached to their smartphones, which is a normal part of their life, just as clothing or shoes. According to the report,
Millennials spend so much time on their smartphones that they account for 41% of the total time that Americans spend using smartphones, despite making up just 29% of the population.
In fact, 50% of Millennials say that they need constant internet access–even while out and about. Only 38% of all adults say the same thing.
If you want to reach Millennials, do so on their phones. Apps, mobile advertising, mobile websites, mobile emails: every piece of marketing for Millennials should be conceived for mobile first.
Marketers: know your target
Older marketers may want to take some time observing their younger colleagues and discussing concepts and ideas with them. If Millennials are your target market, you can’t ignore all these important changes in demographics, psychographics, attitudes and behaviours that will change the way business is conducted as more and more of them come of age.