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How to talk to Millennials

How to talk to Millennials

Millennials (individuals born after 1980) can get a bad rap. Associations of the “selfie” generation and apathetic young people with their heads permanently bowed over their phone and being unable to navigate the “real world” perpetuate through the media.

However, much research out there debunks the myth of the narcissistic Millennial who doesn’t care about the world or other people. Many studies point out how important social involvement and thought leadership is to this generation, with the modern digital world just providing an avenue to share and spread their ideas and actions.

The term “Millennial” seems like such a buzzy entity that marketers are desperate to capitalize on. But, of course, the same has been done to Baby Boomers—not to mention the Hispanic market, the LGBTQ audience, and many others. Obviously, each group is comprised of individuals, but segmentation is necessary to efficiently market to these groups, particularly when they are so attractive in terms of disposable income or general expenditure. Millennials, of course, represent the future consumers of the world.

So, how do you talk to them as a marketer?

millennials sleep with cell phonesDigital and mobile—duh.

It’s no secret that Millennials, more than any other generation, are tied to their smartphones. The vast majority actually sleep with or near their cell phones. Most engage with a social networking site (more, and more often than, any other generation), and are more likely than other age group to agree that technology makes their lives easier and brings people together. It is their primary source of information, a connection to others, and a tool to navigate their daily lives. Digital content is the most efficient way to get their attention.

Be authentic—Millennials will see past fakeness.

In the age of information, exposure to events around the world, and perhaps due to largely growing up with involved and protective parents, this group can be wary and skeptical of human nature. The majority agree that “you can never be too careful” when dealing with people. Thus, a message that feels too “sales-y” or inauthentic will not connect with Millennials.

Be socially sensitive

On track to becoming the most educated and worldly generation, Millennials are not likely to align themselves with a message that may be insensitive or intolerant. For example, many young people react negatively to gender-targeted marketing and prefer messages to be gender-neutral or unisex if possible. As Millennials tend to identify themselves as having a strong social conscience, by living their ideals daily or speaking out about them, a marketer connecting to those ideals will have a better chance of reaching this generation.

Allow for self-expression

Three-quarters of Millennials are on a social networking site. Many post self-created content, such as videos and pictures, and apps that allow for creative customization of their content are extremely popular within this set. Opportunities to share, venues for commentary and feedback, and interactive elements are some of the ways to break through the clutter for this group.

This is not an exhaustive list, but represents core values that connect with this important audience.

If you’re interested in finding out how best to target Millennials for your business, contact us today to get started!


PewResearch | Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change.

The Cassandra Report:

US Census. American Community Survey.