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​Marketing to Millennials 101

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A few years ago, “Millennial” was just another term for “teenager,” nothing less, nothing more. Today, however, now that Millennials make up the largest generation of Americans, the term is pretty important. Any business that is looking toward the future knows it would be a huge mistake not to actively market to the 87.5 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 35, also known as Generation Y. Fortunately, USC recently put together a very nifty graphic called “The Psychology of Successfully Marketing to Millennials and How They Compare to Other Generations.” Here are the key takeaways:

Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation. Many of today’s business owners are still Baby Boomers, but their focus has moved to younger generations. Why? There are 66.4 million Baby Boomers. By comparison, there are 83.7 million Gen Xers and 87.5 million Millennials.

Not all Millennials are active online, but most are. The USC graphic, which gathered information from sources such as the Pew Research Center, indicates that an overwhelming majority of Millennials are actively engaged in the digital world. In fact, only 17% reported being “casually engaged.” (People in this minority were also more likely to be unemployed than those who identified with the other categories, by the way.)

Surprisingly, Millennials are not the most active generation on the Internet. This distinction goes to Gen X, which makes up 38% of the Internet user population. However, Gen Y was still the most active generation on social media with a whopping 89% participation rate.

Newspapers, magazines and TV take a back seat for Gen Y. Compared to Baby Boomers and Generation X, Millennials do not read as many magazines or newspapers. They also do not watch TV or listen to the radio as much. Instead, they’re finding the majority of their entertainment online via computers and, of course, smartphones.

Millennials are the biggest generation of online shoppers. If you remember just one fact from this post make sure it’s that Millennials shop online more than Baby Boomers and Generation Xers combined. In fact, 53% of Millennials are online shoppers, compared to 28% of those from the generation directly above them and just 10% for Baby Boomers. How are they doing all this shopping?

Millennials are on their smartphones (and computers too). Computers and iPhones and tablets! Oh my! Although all of these devices are popular in the U.S. right now, preferences are varied. Whereas Baby Boomers prefer the computer, Generation Xers like tablets as well. They still use computers, but Millennials own more smartphones than any other generation, making mobile the best way to reach them.

Millennials like to build genuine, personalized relationships with brands. For example, 82% of Millennials interact with brands/retailers, compared with only 65% of other generations. In addition, “85% of Millennials are more likely to make a purchase if it is personalized to their interests,” according to the graphic. This generation also discovers more brands and is willing to share these discoveries as long as advertisement feels genuine. Whereas only 33% of Baby Boomers feel like brands are a part of their identity, nearly half of Millennials believe they are.

Of course this graphic isn’t to say other generations aren’t important. As the numbers show, there are significant gaps among generations for the most part. But because Generation Y encompasses the largest population of Americans and because Millennial tastes are so suited to the eCommerce industry, tapping into this sector is a smart way to ensure the success of your business not only now but also in the future. 

Enjoy this infographic from Marketing Profs


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