Marketers are wise to pay attention to the behavior of millennials. After all, they are now the largest demographic in history, and they spend more than $200 billion annually. And as the first cohort to be dubbed “digital natives,” understanding how millennials engage with social and digital media is especially important.
To connect with this group, marketers have had to change their strategies. Focus groups are giving way to social insights and billboard ads are giving way to mobile apps. Millennials are smart, discerning, and want to be engaged with, not lectured to, so more nuanced and conversational marketing has risen up in response.
But it’s not as easy as having a Twitter conversation and earning their purchase. Millennials are a large, inherently diverse cohort. With an age range of 18-34, they represent everyone from college freshmen to fathers of two. This can make it particularly difficult for marketers to craft messaging that speaks to “millennials” in general – and that might not be such a bad thing.
Take our two-minute quiz below to see how well you know millennials as a group:
If you got all the answers, congratulations! You’re truly in-tune with millennials and their online behavior. But if you missed some, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t know your stuff – it means that millennials are a tricky demographic to generalize about.
You would probably have better luck getting more answers right if millennials were broken down into lower and upper age brackets, 18-24 and 25-34 respectively. These subgroups have more in common with each other: the lower subgroup is interested in music, travel and movies, while the upper group is more interested in politics, comics and entrepreneurship. The lower group likes Nintendo while the upper prefers Tesla. Although the two subgroups do share many common attributes, they differ on a number of traits as well.
When talking about “millennials,” marketers must zero-in on exactly the audience they want to connect with, or else their efforts will be diluted. The huge, varied makeup of millennials makes them difficult to talk to as a whole, but marketers can break them down into smaller segments that share common traits with the right tools.
And this methodology for engaging with millennials is not only applicable to millennials. Baby boomers, generation X, and even our youngest generation Z can all be broken down into audience segments that are more targeted, so that marketers can reach exactly the right audience and influence their purchases.