When it comes to product development and marketing, millennials can cause a severe headache for marketers, due to being very different from Generation X and Baby Boomers. Many companies struggle to deliver an efficient strategy capable of making generation Y interested in products and services. Knowledge of how to effectively market to millennials is becoming increasingly valuable, considering that in the US alone, the number of those born between 1980 and 2000 is at 92 million, compared to 61 million in Generation X, and 77 million Baby Boomers, according to the US Census Bureau. In terms of product development, companies try to stay afloat by adjusting and refreshing their strategy to the interests of millennials, although some miss the fact that it's now Generation Y who is in charge of shaping their own customer experience.
Before building a millennial-orientated strategy, companies need to learn about the profile of those they are selling to. They are not particularly rich, the Goldman Sachs Millennials Coming Of Age study shows that this generation has less money to spend due to lower employment levels and being tied up with student loans. Additionally, there is a lack of interest in owning products. This is bad news for some retailers, car manufacturers and property markets, as according to the same study, millennials are more appealed to renting, using services and fostering the ’sharing economy'. There is also a growing tendency in millennials to live with their parents rather than own a home, as well as they are fewer marriages or settling down. Goldman Sachs Global Investment research discovered that the median marriage age in 2010s has reached 30 years old, compared to 23 in the 1970s.
Another challenge is that millennials are savvy enough to set up their own business and often have the same chance of success as mature business people. They may lack experience but they effectively fill this gap with the knowledge of their own increasingly prevelant generation and technological advances. Thus, it's worth considering filling your corporate environment with those who know the target audience, making up a larger proportion of your customers.
During one of the Collision events (one of the America's tech conferences), millennial marketers gathered to discuss 'how to market to millennials'. Their approach of sharing critical information didn't disappoint, instead of using Power Point slides, they were confidently addressing the importance of digitization and the use of the latest technology for e-commerce, business strategies, and content marketing. But the main message from Generation Y marketers was, 'millennials don't want to be sold to as much as engaged with.'
Elite Daily partnered with Forbes, conducted a study that aimed to learn more about millennials' consumer behavior, and they found that millennials aren't influenced by advertizing at all, with only 1% among 1,300 young respondents admitting that such traditional method had boosted their trust in a brand. According to the same survey, 43% of millennials said they value authenticity over content. Traditional media is not considered authentic, whereas blogs are, even if they are run by individuals. Trust is critical since millennials may skip the content if it was published by a company or website they don't know well. Millennials are well aware of what technology can deliver, thus, they expect brands to give them personalized and unique customer experience and to be more socially conscious.