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In a time where any given employer could have four generations of people representing their workforce, marketers are also struggling to appeal to each generation with their marketing strategies. In this four-part series, we break down the characteristics of each generation — Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z — and discuss their values, buying habits and what not to say in your marketing.
This blog in the series will focus on marketing to Millennials.
Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996. Millennials were between the ages of 5 and 20 when the 9/11 terrorist attack shook the nation. They also grew up in the shadow of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they were between the ages of 12 and 27 when youth vote helped elect Barack Obama, the first Black president. They were the most racially and ethnically diverse adult generation in the nation’s history, but that title has since transferred to Gen Z.
Many Millennials came of age and entered the workforce during the height of an economic recession, and that has heavily influenced their life and buying decisions in ways that haven’t touched Gen Z. After a rough start in the workforce, Millennials were finally getting their careers on track when a worldwide pandemic smacked them back down.
As of July 2019, Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the U.S.’s largest living adult generation.
Millennials are sometimes called the “Me Generation” because of their tendencies to focus on themselves. They got their start in an era of economic prosperity, so Millennials tend to be more idealistic, confrontational and less willing to accept diverse points of view. They’re more likely to ask “why does it have to be this way?” and look for ways to make an environment or situation better.
Currently, the oldest Millennials are considering themselves middle-aged at age 40. According to Pew Research, Millennials are “unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry — and optimistic about the future.”
Millennials came of age during an era where the internet was exploding onto the scene, which means they are less swayed by traditional advertising methods. While Baby Boomers hold 57% of the nation’s buying power, Millennials make up 25% of the population, and with an estimated annual buying power of over a trillion dollars, they are the most lucrative market.
Millennial brand loyalty tends to score lower than previous generations, which means brands are going to have to work harder to prove themselves. And since they grew up with the internet, they aren’t afraid of using it. Nine out of 10 Millennials have a smartphone and use it to surf the internet, shop or check social media. On average, Millennials spend 242 minutes online or using apps per day.
Inclusivity in marketing doesn’t stop at a person’s age or physical appearance. You have to consider their whole identity, what makes them tick and what influences their purchasing behaviors. The things that resonate with Gen X may not move the needle for the Millennials.
Check out the other blogs in this series:
Not sure how to parse the generations that make up your buyer personas? Kuno Creative has a team of experts ready to help segment your audience and boost your bottom line.