Take It From A Millennial // An Introduction
My name is Micaela Valderrama. I am a marketing intern at Compass Marketing & Consulting, but above all, I am a millennial.
As you should know by now, millennials are a big deal when it comes to marketing. Not only are we the largest and fastest-growing consumer group in the US, we are also trendsetters and stubborn as hell, so getting us on your side is a difficult challenge you have no choice but to take on. Still, in order to truly convince us that you are worth our attention and money, you have to be able to fully understand who we are.
We grew up in a society where technology evolved quicker than ever before. Just as we grew, the smartphone grew with us. Just as we evolved into adults, TV viewing evolved into streaming. Computers became laptops. Cars became energy efficient. Socializing became social media. Yet, we took many of these changes with a grain of salt. At such a young age, adapting to these changes was not only easy, but also fun. Each new device was like a new toy, and we couldn’t get enough.
As years passed by, each new technological advancement simplified some aspect of our lives. With each iOS update came an even more efficient manner of doing something we already accepted as easy and as simple as possible. Due to the fact that millennials are so used to adapting to these changes, we are quick to use them to make our lives easier every time.
Many people will look at millennials with the “cup half empty” perspective and say that our need to simplify our lives is nothing but laziness and a search for shortcuts. I challenge you, rather, to look at millennials as intelligent and efficient for doing so. We naturally adapt quickly and only search for positive improvement. If your brand can simplify the life of a millennial, watch how quickly we will get on board with you, credit card in hand.
Our generation is often times called the “trophy generation”. We grew up in a time that had a large focus on growing the self esteem of young people. Whether it was at baseball games or at spelling bees, we are a generation that was once showered with “participation” trophies, “great effort” medals, and endless “honorable mentions.” These so-called prizes only left us craving more and more recognition and now, as adults, we only continue to crave that attention and praise.
Due to this yearn for recognition, millennials work harder to earn what they no longer get from participation trophies. We love to win so much that we dedicate more time and energy into what we do than the average person. This sets the bar higher for millennials everywhere, and the higher the bar, the higher we are willing to jump. Tie some aspect of competition to your marketing strategy and watch millennials flood to it just to try to get to the top of the leaderboard.
As competitive as we may be, ultimately, we are realistic. If our goals are high, then we have a detailed plan explaining how we will reach those goals. This realism also makes us financially conscious. As a generation, we tend to be savers rather than spenders, which may present a challenge for your brand.
The economic climate in which we grew up is largely responsible for our realistic behavior. We grew up during a stock market crash and a recession, and as kids, that scared us off big-time. We don’t ever want to be in the shoes of those we watched suffer as a result of a bad economy, so instead, we plan, plan, plan. We tend to make educated financial decisions and often turn to the internet as a decision-maker. YouTube, Yelp, and social media often sway us to and from different brands. This means that your brand must become vital to everyday millennial lives in order for us to spend that extra money on your product or service, and of course, make sure that your internet reviews are excellent.
Being a generation that grew up with accelerated change, we are nothing if not open to changing old norms and embracing new things. Whether it’s technological updates, social changes, or even changes within the structures of our lives, we aren’t afraid of what we feel are small adjustments.
One major change we are inflicting upon modern society is the way we embrace our work lives. Although I previously mentioned that millennials care a great deal about economic stability, unlike previous generations, we value a comfortable and fulfilling work environment more than we value a high paycheck. Our minds and lifestyles are open to acknowledging that we have other needs that must be fulfilled, and money isn’t the only thing that matters.
The truth is millennials just like to do their own thing. We don’t take established norms too seriously, and especially don’t mind straying from what is considered “normal”. Not even marriage fits into our lives like it fit into the lives of people from past generations. Actually, millennials are half as likely to be married than members of the baby boomer generation at the same point in their lives. We like to do things our way, which may include taking a little longer to start a family than what is traditionally expected, so don’t be afraid to be abstract when it comes to marketing your brand. We embrace the authentic, and the different.
Did you expect to see empathy tied to millennials? Probably not. The millennial generation has been portrayed as a selfish “me” generation for so long, but we are actually quite the opposite. If you ask just about anyone to describe a millennial, they will probably throw narcissism in there because they are so quick to relate our generation to selfies and The Kardashians. Even though both of those things are prominent in today’s society, millennials look for so much more than that. In this age of reality TV and technology, we crave to connect beyond what social media and pop culture icons can give us.
In reality, if you were to take a microscope and really look into what millennials respond to, you will find social causes. A major trigger for millennial attention is emotion and raw human issues. Millennials give special attention and place a great deal of respect with social problems of today. When brands use the empathy that millennials share, they win every time. Find a way to tie your brand to a social issue that millennials care about and you’re bound to have great results.
So what exactly does all of this mean for you? It means you have to cater to who we are and what we need in order for us to get behind your brand. Make us believe that you too are in line with our beliefs and attitudes. It will go a long way for your business.
In the coming weeks, I will go more in depth into each individual aspect that makes a millennial tick. I will tell you about every little thing your brand must do in order to properly reach millennials, and ultimately create brand loyalty. Come back here every Friday for a new ‘Take It From A Millennial’ blog post, and a fresh perspective from the largest consumer generation out there, because let’s be honest, you need us.
Written by: Micaela Valderrama
June 30, 2017
Compass Marketing & Consulting