Optimistic Millennials Are an Attractive Target for Marketers

On the surface, very little appears monolithic about adult Millennials (defined as those in the 18- to 29-​year-​old age group, and also known as Gen‑Y). Millennials include full-​time college students, late-​20-​somethings who have moved back to their parents' home, and married and unmarried couples with and without kids. Gen‑Y consumers encompass college grads with high-​paying full-​time jobs and credit cards and retirement accounts beginning to take root, as well as those struggling with low-​paying part-​time jobs. They include a high-​growth multicultural segment spearheaded by U.S.-born "fusionistas" who move effortlessly between their Latino heritage and the youth culture of America. 

Nonetheless, according to "Millennials in the U.S.," a recently released report from Packaged Facts, many generational ties bind this diverse group of young consumers and differentiate them from older consumers. These include a deep comfort with technology, heavy involvement in social media, a multitasking mentality, non-​stop immersion with screens on cell phones, digital tablets and PCs, a shared preference for hip-​hop music, and parents who act like friends as well as authority figures. The challenge for marketers is to leverage this common ground to find Millennials whoever and wherever they are and engage them no matter what they are doing.

According to David Sprinkle, publisher of Packaged Facts, Millennials are disproportionately optimistic about their personal economic future and the economic outlook of the country as a whole. According to survey data compiled by Experian Simmons, 43% of 25- to 29-​year-​olds think they will be better off financially in the next 12 months–twice the rate of the boomers and seniors in the 45+ age bracket.

Marketers have long sought to forge on-​campus relationships with the expectation that students will remain loyal to their brands as they establish households and create families and move through high-​paying careers. Peer-​to-​peer marketing remains at the core of brands seeking to build a systematic presence on college campuses. While face-​to-​face techniques such as sampling and event marketing still have their place, social media and mobile marketing are increasingly the tools of choice in the college market.

And, not surprisingly, having a college degree helps Millennials feel sanguine about their financial prospects. Around half of 22- to 29-​year-​olds with a college degree or more expect their financial situation to improve over the next 12 months. Millennials in their late 20s who are reaping financial success become prime targets for marketers, as this shopping-​prone demographic invests in home furnishings, appliances, and electronics as well as children's clothing, furniture and all the paraphernalia of childrearing.

[Source:  "Millennials in the U.S."  Packaged Facts.  27 Apr. 2012.  Web.  1 May 2012.]