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Millennials are growing up, and growing into their influence in retail. Knowing how to market to them is crucial to a brand’s success – which means knowing how they differ from other generations.

What makes Millennials so special?

Millennials – the generation born between 1982 and 2000 according to the United States Census Bureau – are considered the fastest growing generation on the planet. Unlike Gen X and older generations like the Baby Boomers, they grew up on technology and are not only accustomed to it – they’re completely dependent on it.

Being the fastest growing generation means that Millennials are the fastest growing group of consumers. They’ll be coming into their purchase power within the next five years, and appealing to them now – when they’re still forming opinions on brands – is crucial. Millennials know they have lots of choices, and they research purchases whether minor or major, so capturing their loyalty is tricky – but key.

Here’s a hint: their nickname is the “Me” generation.

Using social listening to connect with Millennials

It’s no secret Millennials are constantly connected to social media via mobile devices. This means there’s a barrage of social data for brands to apply. But to do this well, brands must learn everything about their Millennials audience: their wants, needs, desires, habits, pet peeves, causes, and particularly their feelings about each of these things.

Why is this so important? Because it’s all about them, so constantly telling them about your brand doesn’t appeal. You’ve got to connect with them human to human, with individualized messaging based on what they care about. What else would you expect from the “Me” generation?

But actually, all of social media is a consumer-centric landscape, so Millennials aren’t the only group that expects to be treated as special by brands in return for spending their hard-earned money. All consumers expect brands to drop the “marketing” and make things personal.

Everyone is connected

How do you do this for the millions of Millennials on social media? Part of the answer is by using psychographics to find microsegments based on common interests among them.

Amazing things can happen when you discover these commonalities – something 7-Eleven knows all too well. They used social media listening to spark the creation of their SOUR PATCH Watermelon Slurpee. Employing NetBase’s Audience 3D™ tool, they discovered their customers were enjoying both products, and were able to create something they KNEW their audience would love. This is a perfect example of benefitting off the millennial “me” attitude. 7-Eleven showed their Millennial customers they mattered – which is exactly what Millennials want.

But applying psychographics can also help your brand find audiences you’d never expect. Like a 60-year-old grandmother who buys SOUR PATCH Kids for her grandkids, and also loves the coffee at 7-Eleven. Or a 40-year-old movie buff who always buys SOUR PATCH Watermelon candies at the theater. When you dive into what consumers love, you can surpass narrow demographic limitations and have the best of all worlds.

And that’s an important takeaway – because while Millennials might be the generation to woo right now, once they grow up, there’s another generation right behind them. And your brand will want to know how to keep them happy too.

Want to know more about how to find insights to apply to any generation? Ask us for a demo of our suite of social listening products and we’ll get you started.

Image from Fondo Antiguo de la Universidad de Sevilla