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Understanding Millennials

October 31, 2011

This is what I knew about millennials: I wasn’t one. I also knew that if I intended to communicate with this next generation, that was no excuse.

I got a great head start at understanding millennials at our PRSA Kansas chapter’s professional development day. Jeff Fromm (@JeffFromm), senior vice president of sales, marketing & insight for Barkley, shared stats and attitudes from his agency’s study of nearly 5,000 millennials and non-millennials : American Millennials, Deciphering the Enigma Generation.

First, three reasons why it’s important to understand, decipher, and communicate with millennials: size, spending power, and influence.

“Since the Millennials generation is larger than the Baby Boomers and three times bigger than Generation X, marketers’ understanding of Millennials’ needs, tastes and behaviors will clearly shape current and future business decisions,” said Fromm, when the survey findings were initially released in August.

Some of the findings us non-millennials could guess: Millennials are “digital natives” and multitaskers. Others were surprising: They support big government and want to become involved with causes.

Here are more details and highlights:

1. Millennials are the first generation of “digital natives.”

  • The research showed that  millennials are 2.5 times more likely to be an early adopter of technology than older generations.

2. Millennials are interested in participating in social marketing.

  • Millennials are significantly more likely than  to explore brands in social networks. And when it comes to making purchases, millennials are far more likely to favor brands that have Facebook pages and mobile websites.

3. Millennials believe in cause marketing.

  • Millennials are more likely than non-millennials to develop a more positive image of a company as the result of cause marketing programs. More millennials than non-millennials attempt to buy products from companies who support the causes they care about.

4. Millennials crave adventure.

  • Significantly more millennials than non-millennials described themselves as adventurous and expressed a desire to be considered a “done-it-all.” More millennials reported a willingness to encounter danger in pursuit of excitement, compared to non-millennials.

5. Millennials strive for a healthy lifestyle.

  • 60% of millennials say they try to work out on a regular basis. 26% consider themselves health fanatics.

6. Millennials seek peer affirmation.

  •  68% of millennials usually don’t make a major decision until they have discussed it with a few people they trust.

Lots of good insights on how to better communicate, market, friend, work with — and for — this powerful generation. Thanks to Jeff Fromm and Barkley for sharing this data and helping make millennials less of an enigma.

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