Millennials aren’t aliens, if you know how we operate…

How many times have you heard “Millennial” in the past week? Or month? Or year? Your answer is probably too many times. Millennials have become the most prized target audience for marketers and advertisers, but no one can figure out how to reach them. Almost half of the staff at JP fall into the category. As a Millennial, I can’t decide on what to wear on a daily basis. But I may be able to help marketers delve inside the brain of a 20-something and learn how we tick.

• Our phones are our lives. Literally.
It’s really no secret that Millennials use their phones for everything from banking, getting news, chatting with friends, and even placing it next to their pillows. Phantom vibration syndrome has been a condition where avid cell phone users believe their phone is vibrating when it actually isn’t. Marketers are learning digital is the new platform to reach 18-35 year olds through mobile.

Ads before YouTube videos have definitely caught my eye, especially since most require at least five seconds of viewing before it can be skipped. Geico was smart and released a five-second unskippable ad campaign that runs as a pre-roll before an online video. I might consider switching to Geico now!

• Our buying habits aren’t the same as our parents.
Although we have a disposable income and work mostly part-time jobs, Millennials are waiting longer to buy homes and those “larger picture” items. Our outlook on life is quite different from how our parents grew up due to the recession and alternative forms of living.

Have you heard the saying, “Food is life”? Because it is. According to re:fuel agency, college students spend a total of $50 billion a year on food, $31.6 on cars, and $18.6 on clothing. That’s a crazy amount!

Most of these purchases are based on instant gratification. Although not all Millennials are stuck in the present, the usual thought process is, “We want what we want when we want it,” but still realize it doesn’t always happen in that order.

• We like our problems to be solved ASAP.
Blame technology for being an endless supply of immediate satisfaction. We Google everything to answer our problems or just to learn how something works. Social media has played a huge role for marketers and advertisers to address brand complaints directly to the consumer. Many social media users expect the brand to acknowledge their frustrations, which puts the advertiser in the prime position to uphold their client’s reputation.

JetBlue has been a perfect example of recognizing their customers’ baggage and flight complaints in a timely manner. Many times, the customers appreciate their problems being addressed rather than being covered up. Nobody is perfect!

• Choices are everything.
We like knowing we can watch our favorite show on our phones during our lunch hours and pick up where we left off on our laptops at home. Millennials pride themselves on having the freedom of options that can be tailored to every need in our lives.

We’re also establishing brand loyalty, and advertisers know if they catch us now, we have a good chance of sticking with them for years to come. This is a great opportunity to hone in on providing us with a variety of choices when it comes to choosing the right product for us. It’s also important to realize we change our minds a lot, so product evolution is key to reaching us on all platforms and adapting to our lifestyle.

I may not have all the answers, but hopefully this gives a clearer understanding of how a Millennial behaves. We’re not THAT scary.

Mia Villarreal, Assistant Media Buyer