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Tips for Unlocking the Millennial Mindset

business teamEighty million Millennials (born 1980 – 2000), wielding $200 billion in buying power are entering their peak earning and spending years right now and companies need to focus on these current and future consumers. By definition, they are the first generation to “come of age” in the new millennium.  And, in a scant few years, Millennials will dominate the working, purchasing and marketing world, with more money to spend and more influence to exert both locally and globally than their Boomer parents ever dreamed possible.

jam ticketron

American Millennials were raised on digital and their parents were relatively more affluent than any other U.S. generational group, which means they literally grew up in a different world.

coachellaHere’s an example of how much things have changed. Take a look at the $10 ticket, bought in 1974 at a Ticketron desk at Sears, for a festival concert called The California Jam. Now fast forward to Southern California’s 2013 Coachella event, where young people spend nearly $300 a ticket and are presented with computer-chipped wristbands via Federal Express in a glossy printed box, with pop-up art, maps and a detailed instruction booklet on how to prepare for the event.

Traditional advertising techniques no longer engage these savvy consumers, so going the extra mile to get their attention is vital. Because, in a certain way, they’re spoiled rotten. On the flip-side, because t

hey were raised during a major recession, they appreciate many things more than their Boomer parents ever did.

Culling the positive side of the generational data, we’ve come up with some key insights to potentially help delight and engage Millennials, winning the hearts and minds of the largest consumer demographic in history.

Let them experience your brand.

Engagement is the key when it comes to Millennials. That’s because this generation wants to personally interact with your brand. Take poll, offer free services, get them to sign up for emails, send them to an event. Online, mobile, in-person or at the retail level, find a way to directly connect with young people in all your communication. Coachella was able to do it and they have a sold-out event at $349 per ticket for next April.

Calm their fears.

The new social networking reality, knowing what everyone else around you is doing, has caused a new acronym, FOMO – “fear of missing out.” and it’s very real, causing a frenzied brain scramble that convinces you to keep you overdoing, over-working and over — (your favorite vice here). Many marketers take advantage of this fear with a “buy it now, only two hours left” approach, but letting your young buyer know you are always available or calming their fears by helping them with an easier way to purchase is much more effective.

Give them something to talk about.

The Millennial generation is opinionated and socially active with 24/7 peer-to-peer influence on other Millennials. This group depends on their friends to learn about new trends and make choices about trying out new places, new brands and new experiences. Help Millennials have something to say about your brand in their next Tumblr blog or Facebook post. Scan the forums in your industry to see what positive chatter is going down about your brand and back it up with a social campaign to get more spin.

Make them an expert.

A cultural shift in fast knowledge accumulation has raised a generation that found out early on that they can be an “expert” in a given subject or category. These are potentially your industry’s enthusiasts and the best thing you can do is provide helpful information to increase their knowledge and expertise through your messaging and communications programs. HSN has done this with huge success by targeting “shopping enthusiasts” who love gaining knowledge about the latest products on the market to tell their friends about.

Listen to them.

Before you listen to someone, you need to ask for his or her opinion. Has your brand created interactive ways for its customers to chat freely about their needs and what they would change about your company? Ford has and it’s made them one of the only American carmaker to win a younger buyer’s attention.

Give them a way to “unplug.”

The onslaught of technology this generation grew up with – and is still growing up with – has created a need to step off and unplug. If it applies to your brand, take advantage of a generation that wants to work with their hands – not just their thumbs and mobile phones.

Support their causes.

According to the 2013 Millennial Impact Report, 73% of Millennials volunteered for a not-for-profit in 2012. In another study, it was discovered that Millennials are ready to reward or punish a company depending on its commitment to social and/or environmental causes. Tom’s Shoes, who give a pair of shoes to needy children whenever you buy a pair, and Warby Parker eyewear with its “buy a pair/give a pair” policy has seen record e-commerce success. So much so that they have begun opening retail brick and mortar stores in many major markets.


Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency.

Screen captures intended as illustrative examples only. Registered trademarks and logos are the property of their respective owners.

5 comments on “Tips for Unlocking the Millennial Mindset

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  5. Doug Reeves
    August 12, 2013

    Good capture of key millennial commonalities. These commonalities stem from a tech savvy generation whose boomer parents demanded high expectations and focused on providing for all their opportunities. The result was an inherent sense of entitlement and self focus. This may sound bad but it is not a judgement. It is a marketing observation that is meant to guide us as marketers. These common psychological traits are the foundation to many of the tips in this blog,and this above observation should provide the insight behind them.

    But all millennials are not alike. Though the psychological traits seem to bond them as a generation, the 21 year old millennial is not the same as the 35 year millennial. One did mature through a recession but the other matured through 9/11. One is struggling to find its way through the post recession and the other is now established, has more disposable income and in tune with being a part of a global community. While each has a connection to its micro-community, they do not identify with each other. Keep this difference in mind. They do.


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This entry was posted on August 7, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , .

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