For better or worse, Millennials are often viewed as a singular group. They are often characterized as a “me-first” generation that would rather spend time “instagraming” their meals than having a meaningful conversation with another human being. Most brands, of course, know this notion is false. Millennials are very much a deep, complicated collection of people whose interests and purchasing patterns are yet to be completely cracked by marketers.
So it should come as no surprise that the Millennial generation can be broken down into even smaller groups, a fact that can’t be ignored when attempting to tailor messaging. Think about it – Millennial ages range from about 18 to 34. That means that many are in totally different life situations than others (and this fact isn’t always dependent on age, either). While some still live in their parents’ homes, others are married and have children of their own. Some update their Facebook status before even brushing their teeth in the morning, while others refuse to fall in line by deciding to avoid social media altogether. Therefore, a brand trying to reach Millennials as a whole has a serious challenge ahead of it. Yet, while Millennial interests span a broad spectrum, there are still a few specific concepts and values that are unequivocally shared among (almost) all members of this generation.
Social Responsibility Matters
In the past, I have pointed out that transparency is a huge key for companies trying to appeal to Millennials. This goes hand-in-hand with social responsibility. According to the Huffington Post, 61% of Millennials are not only worried about the current state of the world, but feel personally responsible for it. As a result, many Millennials want to feel like they are contributing to a worthy cause when they make a purchase. They are also often likely to share the experience with friends. Brands like Warby Parker, which is heavily popular among Generation Y, understand this, as the company donates a pair of glasses to “someone in need” for every pair of glasses purchased.
Peer Opinions Are Huge
Sites such as Yelp have gained favorability largely due to Millennials’ willingness to share their opinions and consult those of others. Forty-eight percent of them say that word-of-mouth greatly influences their purchasing decisions, while 70% of millennials are more excited about a purchase when peers approve of it. With reviews of products and brands readily accessible through smartphones and apps, brand performance becomes more crucial than ever before, as negative reviews can spread almost as quickly as they are typed.
Keep It Simple!
Many older generations might find it hard to associate Millennials with the word “simple,” but simplicity is vital when trying to appeal to them. As a matter of fact, almost half (45%) of Millennials associate their lives with simplicity, according to a recent Pew Research study. But the real reason why simplicity is such a huge deal is that Millennials have so many options to find information and/or keep them entertained. If your brand is not capturing their attention very early on (or if they get frustrated with your product), the next option is only an app download away.
Millennials will continue to be a perplexing demographic for marketers, mainly due to their variety of interests and life situations. However, many of their core values do not waver. Brands trying to build a relationship with members of this generation must tap into these if they want to appeal to as many as possible.