Millennials is a term widely used to refer to those born after 1980. This means the oldest of the Millennials are around 35 years in age. It is a generation that has grown up with the Internet. It is hugely diverse, well-educated and less judgemental than previous generations. Millennials are set to inherit the wealth of their parents and yet many have a yoke of debt which has slowed down their plans for marriage or investing in property. This group is hugely significant because it represents such a large proportion of the population and it will influence the way products are marketed. This document presents 10 important facts which explain what makes Millennials special, what has shaped them and how marketers can more effectively engage with our future leaders.
#1 Fact: Millennials represent a greater proportion of the total population (one third) than any other group. Of course, many are still in school or kindergarten. In market research surveys where we have asked the age of respondents, we are able to determine that one in five business-to-business decision-makers today is a Millennial. As time passes, even more will move into positions of b2b power.
Proportion of Population Responsible For Business Decision-Making
#2 Fact: Millennials are a diverse group. In many countries, Millennials are immigrants or the children of immigrants. They have been to school with people with different backgrounds, and they have grown up with diversity of all kinds – culture, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. It is difficult to pigeon hole Millennials in terms of their demographics. Millennials have grown up with a diverse group of people and they understand people. Millennials are “people people” – they understand emotions. Communications with Millennials will be successful if they trigger emotions.
#3 Fact: Millennials have been shaped by technology. It is an obvious point. Millennials have grown up with the internet and smartphones in their hands. Three quarters of Millennials have an account on a social networking site (compared to only half of Generation X and less than a third of Baby Boomers). The implications for business-to-business marketers are clear. Communications in the future must embrace social media and be smartphone friendly.
#4 Fact: Millennials have the concentration span of a gnat. Following on from the fact that Millennials have grown up with text soundbites, they can find their concentration wandering much quicker than older groups. They need quick hits. Short messages that are to the point are necessary to capture the attention of Millennials.
#5 Fact: Millennials are a connected group. They are connected through social networks and among their local communities. They have close relationships with friends and family which makes them very social minded. Bear this in mind when communicating with Millennials – they can’t stand arrogance or unfairness.
#6 Fact: Millennials want to be stimulated. It has always been the case that younger people need creative stimulus but it is truer than ever with Millennials. This tech savvy, well-educated group want an interesting job and one where they can identify opportunities for advancement. Communications with Millennials must engage them creatively.
#7 Fact: Millennials are more likely to have a college or university degree than any other generation of adults (around 50% have a bachelor’s degree and a further 18% have completed some further qualification). What is more, the chances are that their education has included work-related subjects such as business studies or applied sciences. You can’t talk down to Millennials – they know their stuff.
#8 Fact: Millennials owe lots of money. Obtaining an education has been expensive for Millennials. Many of them have substantial student loans and have started their working life in debt. This means that they take their jobs seriously and won’t do anything to jeopardize their income stream. Work is a serious business to Millennials. Equally, they expect to be taken seriously.
#9 Fact: Millennials are optimistic. There are no surprises here. Optimism has always been a characteristic of the young. However, the optimism of Millennials is high because they have been promised a rosy future by their parents and teachers and their education leads them to believe they can achieve it. For some Millennials, starting work is a jolt because they face the reality that their hopes and ambitions may be difficult to achieve. Marketers who can help Millennials move onwards and upwards on the promotional ladder will gain their loyalty.
#10 Fact: Millennials get married later than previous generations. This is not because Millennials are less committed than other generations. In fact Millennials are serious about relationships. For example, they stay with their first or early employers longer than was the case for members of Generation X. Millennials are held back by the cost of housing and heavy personal debt. This doesn’t mean to say that Millennials aren’t into relationships, but it does mean that they are not anchored down with bricks, mortar and mortgages. It means that they are the most mobile of generations.