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Millennials, the grown-up versions of the kids that Barney promised, would be unique no matter what. The kids that had shelves upon shelves of participation trophies growing up technology-obsessed, entitled, and downright narcissistic.

Millennials are also the most significant emerging opportunity for marketers.

Who exactly qualifies as one of these dreaded Millennials? defines a millennial as anyone born in the 1980s or 1990s, a member of Generation Y.

As Gen Y-ers grow up and enter the workforce, they're earning more money than ever before and pumping it right back into the U.S. economy. They're an immense force with an annual buying power of $200 billion. It's time for intelligent marketers to learn more about this demographic's behavior and start adapting their campaigns to target these new buyers. The bottom line is that you can love or hate them, but you certainly can't afford to ignore them. In this post, we'll share ten stats that may change the way you approach marketing to Millennials. We will add another five stats at a later date.

Stat One
: 89% of Millennials trust recommendations from friends and family more than claims by the brand.

Gone are the days when celebrity endorsements were the number one way to attract new business. Very few Millennials are hitting the Carl's Jr. drive-through just because a scantily clad Paris Hilton loves their burgers. Instead, Millennials head there because they've heard great things about it from our friends and family; this is great for small to medium-sized businesses. Convincing your existing fans to promote your brand is cheaper than paying stars to pose with your products. So, how do you go about creating these customer evangelists?

First, ensure you are giving your customers the best experience possible; in a world where anyone can take to social media and broadcast their dissatisfaction to thousands, every interaction with your business counts. Next, examine your processes closely to understand your customers' experiences and brainstorm new ways to delight them with your services. Sometimes tweaking the smallest details can make a profound impact.

You may even consider running a "secret shopper" program to get a first-hand account of shopping for, purchasing, receiving, and using your products.

Remember, all it takes is one negative experience for customers to bring to their social networks and destroy your reputation among their peers. While situations like these are bound to happen from time to time, it's essential to be actively engag
ed with your community and address these grievances in a transparent, timely manner. If you deal with these issues the right way, you might even be able to turn a disgruntled customer into an advocate.

Stat Two: Nearly half (44%) of Millennials are willing to promote products or services through social media in exchange for rewards.
Millennials are not shy about sharing positive product experiences with our contacts, especially when an incentive is involved. We see an increasing number of businesses catch onto this trend and use it to their advantage. Perhaps the biggest success story regarding this tactic is from Uber, the app responsible for ridesharing's popularity.

When Uber launched in San Francisco in 2010, early adopters were huge fans. They raved to their friends about this new service that delivered a black car in minutes, eliminating the need to chase down taxicabs, deal with disgruntled drivers and scrounge up the cash to pay their fares. App usage spread like wildfire, and the company attributed its growth mainly to these squadrons of customer advocates. Seeing the power of this word-of-mouth marketing, Uber executives sought to take this one step further. They decided to incentivize users to promote Uber to their peers in exchange for free rides; this was a genius move on Uber's part. Based on their considerable experience with the app, users were already encouraging their friends and family to give it a shot. Adding a financial incentive made them ever more eager to recommend it. Given the positive recommendation and low barrier to entry (their first ride was free, after all!), scores of new users signed up. Since Uber implemented these tactics years ago, we've seen many companies follow suit, including its top competitor, Lyft. When Lyft came onto the scene, most ride-share users were already Uber devotees. Since the services are nearly identical, there was no reason for Uber users to give Lyft a shot. So, Lyft offered an even more appealing incentive plan for new users. As a result, their market share is steadily growing.

Stat Three:
84% of Millennials report that user-generated content on company websites at least somewhat influences what they buy.
marketing to Millennials, know that they don't just want to hear what YOU have to say about your product; they want to listen to what your customers have to say about it. If no user reviews are readily available on your website, they're likely to hunt them down elsewhere. Do you want to risk having them leave your site? Instead, allow clients to share their experiences directly on your product pages.

Rent the Runway has this strategy down pat. Given the scores of formal events, Millennials find themselves schlepping to, renting a designer dress, rather than shelling out the cash to buy it outright, is incredibly appealing. Unfortunately, it's also very daunting. Without having the opportunity to try the dress on in person, it's tough to know how it'll fit. That's where user-generated content comes in. For every article of clothing featured on Rent the Runway, there's a slew of customer reviews. Users are encouraged to share a picture of themselves wearing the gown, a rundown of their physical characteristics, details on the overall fit, and general feedback on their experience with the product. Paging through these reviews, you can get a perfect sense of the quality of the dress, whether it will work with your body shape, and an idea of what size to order.

Stat Four: More than 85% of Millennials own smartphones.
Millennials are addicted to their phones. They check their smartphones an average of 43 times a day! The bottom line is if you want to market to Millennials, your brand needs to be present on our favorite, omnipresent devices.

It would help if you run mobile ads, and, more importantly, these ads must direct users to a top-notch mobile site. If you're guilty of sending searchers to crappy landing pages, it's crucial that you get your act together before you are left in the dust.

Making it easy to complete transactions on your mobile landing pages will pay off—Millennials follow through with phone-based purchases. In fact, according to a 2014 Annalect survey of smartphone users aged 19 to 33, 40% said they had used their smartphones to make an actual purchase. No doubt, as retailers create sophisticated mobile sites and apps, this behavior will continue.

Stat Fiv
e: 77% of Millennials participate in loyalty reward programs.
Despite Millennials steadily increasing buying power, most Gen Y individuals are by no means wealthy. Therefore, we're the perfect demographic to target with loyalty rewards programs. Many Millennials are proud holders of rewards cards from CVS, Nordstrom, Walgreens, Sephora, Starbucks, and numerous other businesses. Whenever Millennials need to buy something, they tend to favor these establishments, knowing that they are building their arsenal of reward points or getting a discount on their purchases.


The best way to prepare for future marketing trends is to study the behavior of the demographic that will soon become the dominant buying power. Get to know Gen Y now and explore creative marketing strategies to connect with us. No doubt, it will pay off dividends in the years to come!

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