Few companies completely understand today’s world and are often seen furthering stereotypes when talking about young people. Today, I am talking about the tricky world of Millennials and all of the opportunities being missed within marketing and branding towards them. Millennials (Generation Y), born between 1980 and 2000, are both the 20th century’s last generation and its first truly digital one. What makes Millennials unique is their entire identity has been formed in connected systems where space, time, and the traditional rules of communication no longer exist. Yes, you heard me correctly and, I know, I know . . . it’s hard to relate.

 

We have to try.

 

There are approximately 83 million Millennials in the United States alone, and each year they spend approximately $600 billion. BILLION. Companies are scrambling to get their piece of the Millennial money pie and the majority are failing to connect. It is newer territory.

 

While marketing to Generation X consists mainly of commercials and print ads, marketing to Millennials is all digital storytelling and trusting their peers.  According to Hubspot, “Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts, who happen to be strangers, than advertisements and 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites”.

 

Many CMOs, myself included, who spend a great amount of time researching and targeting Millennials are part of Generation X and have had to make a concerted effort to understand the Y Generation. Thankfully, I am surrounded by Millennials at work and they offer a different perspective on literally 99% of all things so I can just ask them to translate Millennial talk when needed. Which is often.  Yes, we are THAT different.

 

I digress.

 

Marketing to Millennials requires an approach based on the communication principles of new generations and adaptive to new ways of using media and content relevance, focusing on experience while generating value. Millennials are creating new patterns of consumption, new patterns of choice, new ways of using media, and new ways of relating to brands and advertising.

 

We have to think like Millennials to relate to Millennials and it is not easy. Not at all. But, again, we have to try. The numbers prove that we HAVE to try. Next time, I will explain the strategies I have found (and that research has shown) to be successful in marketing and branding that will help your brand get a piece of that Millennial money pie.