The Millennial generation is like none we’ve ever seen before. The children of baby boomers, this generation has been raised with technology in their hands, higher education at their fingertips and diversity all around them. Defined as people born between 1980-2000, this generation is more comfortable with interactions that happen online or via text rather than in person. On the whole, they are more liberal, less religious, less patriotic, and less likely to get married young, if at all. Because of their dissimilarity to the generations that came before, they require a new set of rules when it comes to grabbing their attention, gaining their loyalty and getting them to buy.
One of the key components of successful advertising is knowing your audience. What keeps us on our toes is that the target audience is always changing. Baby boomers are often referred to as the television generation because that particular technology has always been a part of their life. It is their primary source of entertainment, news, and most importantly, the best way to reach them with advertising. Millennials, on the other hand, grew up during the time when home computers were becoming commonplace and the Internet was the latest technological invention. In addition to watching television, many also played computer games and used social media from a very young age. You might be thinking, great, all of these media platforms make it easier to reach them, right? Wrong. In today’s media environment, the average person living in a city sees up to 5,000 advertisements per day, where eventually many of the messages become white noise to consumers.
Millennials are one of the most individualistic generations that the United States has ever seen—they’re often referred to as “Generation Me” as opposed to previous groups who have had a “Generation We” mentality. Although it is difficult to pinpoint a particular derivative of this development, many believe that it is due to the instant gratification that is offered by the Internet and social media. The Millennial generation has been influential in coining the new psychological term, FOMO, which stands for “Fear of Missing Out.” A prime example of FOMO is the need to be constantly connected to the Internet in an almost addictive way because of the anxiety that comes with missing an update on news or trends. This behavior pattern causes Millennials to constantly multitask, making them harder to reach because of they have so many different platforms vying for their attention at all times.
We have our work cut out for us when it comes to reaching this distracted, yet lucrative generation, with an average of $170 million of spending power annually! So how do you get their attention? Meet them where they are. Find their niches, and don’t try to target them all at once. Get to know them in their specific groups. Millennials respond to advertisements that are more specific to their individual likes and interests, ones that make them feel authentic for being who they are. Samantha Skey, EVP of strategic marketing for Alloy Media & Marketing, which focuses on targeting Millennials, says, “They have so many different options, their choice will boil down to the brand they feel best represents them,”—and this is the age when brand loyalty is built. Although this seems complicated and tedious, it pays off in the end because Millennials are also very interested in being trendsetters. Once they choose a brand, it will become important for them to share it with their friends, and carry it with them for the rest of their lives.
Millennials are as diverse as their iPhone cases. They want to be wooed, convinced, called out, and complimented for their individualized taste. The challenge is to figure out which among them you want to draw in, and what about your product will make them want to make it their own.