Millennials Outnumber Boomers: The Meaning For Marketers

5 Key Millennial Marketing Tips Based On Research

Millennial Marketing tipsMillennials now outnumber boomers.

Dear marketers, while numbers vary based on how different organizations bracket the age groups, have no doubt that millennials are ascendent. And they think very differently from previous generations.

As Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman point out in Content Rules, you have to not only understand your audience but also your organization.

Age is one of the easiest demographics to use to examine your buyers and predict their buying needs. If you haven’t done so yet, look at the age composition of your customers and your employees.

This isn’t just another marketing exercise to spin your wheels. It’s at the heart of how you talk to your prospects and your customers.

Millennials have buying power

Unlike their boomer parents, many millennials entered the workforce during difficult economic times. This colors their spending and outlook.

  • US millennials account for an estimated $1.3 trillion in direct annual spending according to BCG.
  • US millennials had an average income of $61,003 in 2013 according to Pew Social Trends.

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Pay attention to millennial needs. They represent the biggest spending demographic that’s still entering its phase of life where they’re making major investments to support their adult life.
  • Communicate with millennials using an optimistic, positive tone. 

Millennials differ from previous generations

Generations Defined-Pew Internet-2015

US millennials are the most racially diverse generation to-date according to Pew Social Trends. This is important for marketers.

  • Millennials expect to see this diversity reflected in your marketing communications and advertising.

Race Breakout-US-2014- Pew Research Center

Actionable Marketing Tip:

  • Show millennials as diverse and inclusive in your marketing content.

US millennials display much lower levels of religious affiliation than older generations via Pew Forum (2015). This is important because historically religion is an important factor influencing economic and cultural differences.

  • 36% of young US millennials (ages of 18 and 24) are religiously unaffiliated.
  • 34% of older US millennials (ages 25-33) are religiously unaffiliated.

Millennials grew up with technology

Millennials are digital natives having grown up with technology available. As a result, they expect technology to work.

  • Millennials adopt technology 2.5 times faster than previous generations according to Millennial Marketing research.

92% of teens go online daily; of these 24% are online “almost constantly” according to Pew Internet.

According to BCG research (note: This data differs from Pew Internet results.)

  • 67% of millennials access the Internet via their smartphones.
  • 82% of millennials access the Internet via laptop computers.
  • 47% of millennials access the Internet via tablets. 

Millennial communications format of choice: text messages.

Millennials constantly check their screens.

  • 91% of teen cell owners use text messaging via their mobile phone or an app or website according to Pew Internet. On average they send 30 texts per day.
  • 47% of millennial teens talk via video connections (e.g. Skype, Oovoo, Facetime and Omegle) according to Pew Internet.

Millennials don’t tether themselves to a phone located in a house or business. Instead, they’ve got a smartphone within arm’s reach most of their waking hours.

Actionable Marketing Tip:

Are you ready for the Mobile Generation? | How Cool Brands Stay Hot

Millennials socialize on social media

Millennials came of age with social media.

  • 37% of younger millennials experience FOMO (fear of missing out) if they aren’t on Facebook or Twitter every day found BCG research.
  • 47% of millennials were introduced to a brand that someone else followed, liked, pinned, or tweeted about on social media according to Annalect
  • 46% of millennials post photos and videos online according to Millennial Marketing.

Millennials seek experiences, not things

Just like their boomer parents, millennials see themselves as different from their parents.

  • 69% of millennials crave adventure. Millennials count their worth in terms of experiences.
  • 25% of millennials are parents according to Millennial Marketing Research.

BTW, here are 30 millennial demographic insights with charts.

How to market to millennials

Barkley research uncovered important marketing perspectives about millennials.

  • 70% of millennials agree that getting their friends’ approval on decisions is important.
  • 68% of millennials don’t make a decision without asking others.
  • 56% of millennials will change brands for a cents-off coupon.
  • 63% of millennials will purchase a non-favorite brand on sale
  • 50% of millennials will go out of their way for a frequent shopper rewards.
  • 35% of millennials will sacrifice their beliefs for a good deal.
  • 61% of millennials rate products online.
  • 42% of millennials watch TV on their computer; 38% watch less than 10 hours a week of television.

What matters to millennials-2015

BTW, 80% of millennials want brands to entertain them. This is important for content marketing.

Here’s how millennials ranked their Top 50 Brands:Top 50 Millennial Brands

Millennials expect a two-way relationship with companies and brands. Dubbed the Reciprocity Principle by BCG. Think multi-directional engagement.

5 Key millennial marketing tips based on research

Here are 5 key millennial marketing tips every marketer should incorporate into their mix. In addition to attracting millennials, it’s how business is transacted now. man in  office

  1. Engage with millennials where they spend their time. Create a cross-media, cross-channel, and cross-device presence.
  2. Be authentic. Build your reputation with the right brand values, personalities and communications. Incorporate social responsibility and environmentally friendliness into your business. You can’t fake it with millennials. They grew up in an advertising rich environment.
  3. Respond to consumer criticism transparently. Be direct and frank.
  4. Encourage millennial employees to engage in customer interactions and marketing. Get their input and recommendations.
  5. Cultivate referrers among your millennial customers and employees. Millennials influence each other as well as their parents and children when it comes to spending.


The bottom line: Spending power is shifting to millennials as purchasers and influencers.

Assess how you can make your marketing more accessible to this significant purchasing demographic.

What else would you add to this list and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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