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Inside the Millennial Mind: Marketing to Generation Y

12/05/2016 12:03 | Updated 12 May 2016

Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. With approximately 14 million in their ranks, Millennials or Generation Y are quite unlike previous generations.

Born anywhere between the early 1980's and the early 2000s, they've grown up in a digital world, constantly connected to friends and family, they are the most lucrative market. Plain and simple: Nearly every marketer today is making Generation Y a priority - or at least working to understand what drives and delights this instrumental group.

But when it comes to brand loyalty, don't count on it. Marketing to Millennials can be tricky for a few reasons; they are more wary of traditional marketing than our predecessors, they often seek information about products and services from a wide array of sources before buying and they have more options than ever before when making purchasing decisions.

Still, armed with an understanding of Millennial demographics, psychology and buying habits, brands can be well positioned to get the attention of this converted cohort. Here at Engage we've put together our top five insights on how brands can up their game when designing campaigns targeted at Millennials, to make audiences part of their story.

They don't like a sales pitch.

Millennials, on the whole aren't interested in your sales pitch. They don't want you to ask how they're doing unless you genuinely want to hear the answer. You need to realise you'll be fact-checked almost before you finish your sales pitch. Millennials aren't it seems the trusting type, they are tech savvy, they judge political candidates the same way they shop for electronics: they fact check every claim quickly, using multiple sources. It's important to remember that millennials don't readily trust a marketer's effort to sell them something. They value trust, which is why they often look for the opinions of their peers, and consult user-generated review websites.

They value unforgettable experiences.

Year over year, millennials are spending more time at live events, and companies, brands, artists and musicians are putting more resources into creating those experiences. The increased time, energy and money spent on experiences by both brands and consumers are the ingredients that make up the growing experience economy. The experiential nature of millennials presents a growing opportunity for businesses to leverage experiences to increase their value. Companies that are built on experiences or have experiential components will capture this added economic value and win the hearts of consumers.

Stand out from the crowd - offer better value than your competitors.

This one sounds obvious but is built on the simple fact that Millennials will drop a brand like a hot potato if a better one comes along. They don't think this behaviour is disloyal; they see it as common sense. They don't care about brands unless you give them a reason to care. Their purchases are very deliberate. By the time they're ready to make the purchase, they know exactly what they want and know what they're willing to spend. It takes a targeted, personal approach to stand out from the crowd.

Know your audience.

Traditional behavior and consumption patterns are well and truly gone, but brands are still missing the mark when it comes to Generation Y. Marketing strategies should be informed by research and designed to complement Millennials' actual behaviour, instead of making assumptions.

Build meaningful relationships.

Bottom line, it really comes down to building meaningful relationships. To truly engage with the Millennial generation, the experience needs to be personal and targeted. Their educated, tech-savy, and social nature is a key component to their identity and companies that show a genuine willingness to meet them on their own turf stand the best chance at winning their business.

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