Are You Speaking the Language of Millennials?

Your potential customers between the ages of 18 and their early 30s are a distinctly different crowd than older generations of shoppers. And not just because they interact through technology nearly every second of their waking lives. Beyond electronic shopping and social media prowess, their attitudes toward shopping and life in general demand that you understand them and market to their distinct preferences.

After all, millennials are the largest buying force out there. At 80 million strong, they outnumber each of the last four generations.

They’re socially conscious. Some call it “brand politics.” Millennials research the brands they’re considering, ranging from clothing to food products, and wherever possible will opt for sweatshop-free production. One case in point: the uproar the New York Times created with its series of exposés about manufacturing of Apple products at the Foxconn Technology facility in China. An investigation ensued as a result.

Advertising fails to impress. Millennials rely on the opinions of their friends, and even strangers who comment about products and services on social media sites. Traditional methods of enticing this crowd to your brand are likely going to fall on somewhat deaf ears due to their skepticism of advertising and manufacturer websites. You’ve got to convince them with authenticity.

Buying power lags — but confidence doesn’t. A February 2010 study from the Pew Research Center, “Millennials, A Portrait of Generation Next,” stated: “Research shows that young people who graduate from college in a bad economy typically suffer long-term consequences — with effects on their careers and earnings that linger as long as 15 years.” They bore the brunt of the recession, but stick with them: Millennials are confident about their future financial situations.

In addition to listening to their chatter on social media, keep your eyes on the most granular customer analytics. With that in hand, you can make smart decisions about marketing to this vast audience of potential customers and capturing their loyalty.

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