We’re 80 million strong, larger than the Baby Boomer population. Thirty-seven percent of us are unemployed yet wildly ambitious. We’re often portrayed as superficial, but, in fact, we’re the most open-minded and educated generation so far. And, yes, you’ve probably guessed it: We’re the Millennial generation.
A hot topic at this year’s Advertising Week was how exactly to handle us. One panel of note, titled “Miss-perception: Disrupting Millennial Myths And Stereotypes,” aimed to teach Millennials about, well, Millennials.
Cosmopolitan and Cosmopolitan for Latinas publishing director Donna Kalajian Lagani moderated the session on how to market to Millennials, with the help of TV/radio hostChelsea Krost, “High School Musical” actress and activist Monique Coleman, multicultural PR expert Maria Ramirez and authorChristine Hassler.
Over the course of an hour, each panelist discredited one of the biggest stereotypes of our generation today: entitlement. According to the panel, Millennials are actually quite benevolent and care about brands that are authentic, transparent and open.
“It seems, though,” Lagani noted, “they’re not really being heard by marketers who need to speak to them.”
In order for brands to be relevant, marketers must tap into the cultural lifestyle, relevancies and aspirational needs of this generation. “If Millennials feel engaged and appreciated, they will be loyal to your brand,” Ramirez said.
It was also discussed that although Millennials shop quite frequently, they are purchasing at a significantly lower rate than their successors. So what exactly is driving young consumers?
Krost explained that Millennials are more selective in their purchasing decisions because “[they] care more about saving and less about labels. They want to purchase something with a meaning,” she said. It was also noted that our sense of brand engagement and buying is different than any generation before us.
Selective or not, young consumers are spending big bucks. Roughly 80 million of us are spending $200 billion annually and by 2015, we’re expected to contribute to 30 percent of all retail sales (or an estimated $2.5 trillion).
Key takeaways? Millennials are philanthropic. Millennials love social media (63 percent connect with brands via social). Millennials spend money thoughtfully. We’re an assortment of ethnicities, cultural backgrounds and demographics. And, most important, we’re the most elusive generation and the most challenging to keep engaged.
All told, Millennials are shaping the present and owning the future. With more purchasing power and decision-making abilities than ever, Millennials are expected to make a lasting impression for decades to come.
In order for brands to stay relevant, they must take note of the cultural differences and really find out what it is that interests us.
“The more you get to know them, the more you get to like them.”
To view the full Advertising Week session click here.
Alyse Lorber is the global marketing assistant at gyro.
Follow Alyse @alyse_michelle