Note: This blog is part of a series for marketers which describes the characteristics, values and preferences of various generations.

Generation Y


Generation Y

Generation Y, better known as Millennials, were born between 1981 and 1997. This group includes more than 60 million people in the United States. This generation is constantly being studied and analyzed for their distinctly different lifestyles and values than prior generations. They are more digital- and tech-savvy than previous generations. For this reason, they favor digital communication and new media and are difficult to reach via traditional platforms such as broadcast or print.

Millennials believe each digital communication platform serves a different purpose. They tend to assign unique uses for each platform or application. For example, email is for serious communication and social media is for fun messages. Email is used for work or school while social media is for friends. According to a consumer purchase preference survey by MarketingSherpa, 59 percent of female and 48 percent of male Millennials preferred email on their smartphone when they are away from their computers. Millennials can be easily reached via smartphone at many hours of the day. Their comfort level using social media and the Internet leads Millennials to spend an average of 25 hours online every week.

Like Gen Zers, it’s important to send your messages via digital platforms to reach Millennials. They receive a large portion of news via social media and are greatly influenced from what they learn online. For example, Millennials are twice as likely to buy something they have learned about via social media compared to older generations.

As far as content goes, Millenials respond better to user-generated content, which gives them an opportunity to immerse themselves in the experience (Mashable). Social media campaigns targeting Millennials should be aware that this group is drawn to online experiences and get even more engaged with experiences they can share with others. They live in their own digital world and continuously share their lives with friends online.

A marketing or promotional campaign that gives Millennials opportunities to post their own content such as videos, photos and posts is exciting to this group. Campaigns, like online photo contests, are particularly appealing. This audience is also particularly well suited for targeted digital marketing programs and advertising campaigns.

Overall, when communicating with Millennials, remember that they incorporate social media and the Internet into their everyday lives. Choosing to engage them through television or radio would more than likely reach only a few. They like to actively participate in social media efforts and respond better to two-way communication.