Who are Millennials? 10 Factors that Influence Millennial Buying Decisions

The truth is, we’re everywhere. In fact, Millennials are now the #1 largest generational cohort in North America, stealing the long-held title from the Baby Boomers.

Some call us the “Entitlement Generation”, which is entitled of itself. The pretence of phone-wielding, profanity laden teenagers doesn’t tell the full story.

What is a Millennial?

With “millennia” as the root defining the span of a thousand years, the Millennial age range is debated between 1982 and 2000 (ages 17 – 35).

We were born in the Y2K era, a time when people did not understand the power of computers. In the year 2000, the world feared extinction by a software calendar glitch called “The Millennium Bug”.

They were half right.

I mean, my Mac won’t set my room on fire or anything. But as Millennials, no group understands the psychology of technology better than we do, and that’s why everyone wants to sell to us.

If you’re trying to prompt margins from our cohort, here’s what you need to learn (while we’re still young):

Millennial Marketing Factors

1. We love branding.

Call us “Brand Who*es”, fine. But this means more than a sewn insignia. Millennials care about representation, which comes through in corporate ad campaigns and social responsibility. Chosen brands share our values, and we’ll pay extra for this. It’s all in a name, right?

2. Packaging is queen.

The product should always reign supreme, but flimsy plastic packaging won’t positively affect customer lifetime value. If loyalty is the goal, make a good first impression with a sleek, sturdy box we’ll keep for a lifetime. Superficial? Maybe. Shameful? Hardly.

3. Memes are cheap.

If you’re going for “Funny & Frugal”, have at it. Viral marketing campaigns work — for 3 seconds, until we’re onto something bigger and badder. Millennials have razor sharp focus, but lose interest quickly. Despite old-time beliefs, we appreciate intelligence and don’t succumb to bait. Think of a fresh, impressionable message instead.

4. Service = product.

Once again, this isn’t to say Millennials don’t care about the product. But if your product isn’t paired with exceptional customer service, a pristine storefront and free shipping, you’re not keeping up with the competition. Overall experience is the new status quo.

5. Celebrities only matter if we like them.

Unless they’re universally adored like Rihanna or Trudeau, save the endorsement money and invest it into packaging. A celebrity endorsement by anyone under A-list signals uninspired marketing. Put thought into the ad message and Millennial buys will flow.

6. Put it online.

Social media and Shopify companies have greater margins and less overhead than storefronts. If you’re willing to have a device nearby to accommodate Millennial order requests at the drop of a dime, e-commerce is for you. But if in 2017, your company still doesn’t have a website… you can stop reading.

7. Millennials are business-minded, too.

We aren’t all number-savvy, but Millennials are hungry to learn, understand and influence other people. We recognize the psychology of trends, “likes” and access. And on that note, just like businesspeople, we want to travel. If your product doesn’t offer a one-way ticket to the Land of Benefits, you missed the boat.

8. Exclusivity matters just as much.

Offer hot ticket items, but remember: Millennials recognize dilution. When a product is over-popularized, it becomes lukewarm. Research on Millennials is key if you target the small group of trendsetters who rep new ideas like Friday. Everyone else will follow suit.

9. Don’t neglect the students.

Half or more of us are broke as sin. Selling premium items to Millennials living off oats and ramen can be challenging. We’ll spend a pretty penny for something we want; just remind us we’d rather starve than not fit in.

10. Millennials are extremists.

This a blanket statement, but most conclusions are. It’s not that we all think in black and white, but companies should stay on their toes. No gimmicks as in #3 and #5; don’t take us for granted as in #7 or #8. Millennial culture is here to stay, and nothing pains us more than outdated behavior. If you think your Baby Boomer business model is applicable here — think again.

This is the Millennial era. Act fast because time is of the essense.

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