Appealing to Millennials: Happy young female friends with shopping bags using smart phone while standing on street.

Appealing to Millennials: First Understand What Motivates Them

In the past two weeks we talked with three clients from different industries (nutrition, finance and retail) about how important appealing to Millennials is to their business. Despite differences in client products and goals, each client understands that Millennials are the future of their business, and they cannot be treated like their parents. Millennials’ values, goals and belief systems have been uniquely molded by unprecedented access to technology and social media, an onslaught of reality television, a global economic crisis and landmark court rulings. Whether you see them as generation “look at me” or “we are in this together,” your marketing and communications efforts need to take this group under special consideration.

Appealing to Millennials: Demographics and Behaviors

We also just got out of the field with our own research on what motivates Americans to make the decisions they do, and we cannot ignore the fascinating ways in which Millennials stand out from other generations. First, our research confirms differences found in other work (e.g. Pew), namely that this generation is, among other things…

  • More educated
  • More ethnically diverse
  • More likely to use technology and social media to gather news

Appealing to Millennials: Decision-Making

But even more compelling is how they make decisions (which relates to how marketers position products, organizations and ideas). In our Motivations Assessment Program (MAP) work we’re focusing on identifying consumers’ overarching values and how their life priorities and values shape decisions. We find that Millennials are significantly more likely than other age cohorts to place a priority on…

  • Having a good time and making time for fun
  • Thinking up new ideas and being creative
  • Being very successful and having people recognize their achievements
  • Being adventurous and taking risks

Our clients want to know how to appeal to Millennials so they will adopt and embrace their brand for the long term. This is a complicated and important question that requires a custom approach for each business question, but our research can shed some light on what motivates this generation. For example, we know they are significantly more likely than other age cohorts to value products that enable them to help them achieve more in the future, make them feel smart or wise and help others understand their lifestyle and goals. Yet, while we see a pattern of Millennials’ desire for success, achievement and recognition, they certainly do not have a completely individualistic mindset, because family and balance are also driving values.

Appealing to Millennials: What’s Next

We do know that every generation is complex, and Millennials are no different. While there are quite a few things unique to Millennials, we also know that not all Millennials are the same. We are deep into analyzing our MAP data, parsing out key differences within this age cohort and others, and uncovering fascinating information. You’ll see more about what we find in future blogs and publications. In the meantime, contact us with any questions about what we’re discovering.