Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion regarding the most aloof demographic: those that are too busy live tweeting the latest Michael Bay movie and listening to “underground” musicians to care about your company. This group is of course “Millennials”. While they have many names, Generation N, Generation Y etc., millennials have yielded the greatest presence online and are shaping the direction the Internet will head.
Who exactly are millennials? While it may be too soon to officially segment this generation, millennials are thought to generally be anyone born between 1980 and 2000, other reports say they are 18-34 year olds, but millennials commonly represent those that are “digital natives”. By being born into a world that had begun to embrace, or in the case for the younger end of this demo, fully embraced, the Internet, cell phones and every other technological advancement that is indicative of the new millennium, this generation grew up with technology at their fingertips. Millennials were instrumental in the launch of social networks, first by creating them and then joining and promoting, forming Facebook and Twitter into the monstrosities that we see today. And they have used the Internet and social media to facilitate change as seen during the Arab Spring and Kony 2012. On a lesser scale, social sites such as Youtube have catapulted people into stardom and Twitter has lead the call for #CancelColbert.
But why do millennials matter to your business? This generation is the largest in United States’ history and therefore possesses a lot of buying power. Knowing this, businesses must reach these young people in order to grow their company. Which is where problems began to arise: Unlike their parents and grandparents, millennials do not respond to the traditional advertising such as television or print. In addition, millennials tend to be easily bored or disinterested. What this means for your company is that if your traditional ad does not engage these younger customers, it will have little impact. This generation wants to feel like an individual opposed to just being one among many. In order to feel this individuality, millennials take to the Internet and talk to businesses directly forcing businesses to put more of their time and energy into managing these social media accounts.
What else can be done though besides making funny online ads and communicating directly with customers? As it turns out, the most influential form of information is user generated content with 50% trusting it more than traditional media sources. By getting others to talk about your brand online and become brand advocates, you can reach this seemingly unreachable generation.