Effectively marketing to Millennials–consumers who fall in the 16 to 31 age range and are typically grouped with Gen Y–requires flexibility, adaptability and fluidity, said a new report released by trends and futures consulting firm The Futures Group.
“Unmasking Millennials: The Futures Company on a Misunderstood Generation,” summarizes consumption habits and reveals that Millennials live in a constant state of flux, with technology playing an integral role in their ever-changing lives.
The firm found that common Millennial stereotypes–optimism, openness to the world, social consciousness and fluency in technology–do not always ring true. Researchers say the 16 to 31 bracket is indeed tech savvy, but about half are concerned for their economic futures and many are developing inward attitudes. The report also states Millennials are less motivated to make a difference in the world than their Gen X predecessors are, and they’re more interested in happiness than materialism.
The report goes on to define four Millennial “tribes”–Striders, who seem unaffected by the economic downturn and optimistic about their futures; Steppers, who have been hit hard by the downturn and are careful about purchases; Satellites, who are after the hottest, most current gadgets and software; and Spirits, who are “open, connected and socially conscious, directing their attention and purchasing power toward the things they’re interested in.”
To appeal to the four Millennial tribes, The Futures Group recommends companies employ a blend of four marketing strategies: performance, which focuses on functionality and end-benefits; identity, which emphasizes status and coolness; supportive, which relays a product’s value in everyday life; and conscientious, an approach that highlights “collectiveness, resourcefulness and creativity.”
What could the research mean for credit unions? Brent Dixon, an adviser with the Filene Research Institute, said before credit unions put any new, creative marketing plans into action, they must ensure their products and services are meeting the needs of Millennials. Dixon recommends credit unions look at their online channels and self- service tools and make sure their technology is up to speed, and examine their culture to see if Millennials are represented among their employees and board members.
While considering Millennial marketing strategies, Jason Dias, president of social media consulting company Eloquent Online, said one element is key–music. “They want an experience,” Dias said. “You have to get them up on their feet dancing and singing.”
Dias added that news spreads quickly in the Millennial world. “When you target one Millennial and they respond, you’re really targeting four or five Millennials,” he said. “They all have a small group with whom they share every detail of their lives through texting and Facebooking.”