The Millennial Handbook


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Many volumes have been written on the Millennial Generation and many volumes more are certain to follow. The material contained herein is presented as a ‘snapshot’ guide to this generation and has been compiled with an audience of marketers in mind. As such,
it is better treated as an introduction to this topic than a definitive or exhaustive guide.

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The Millennial Handbook

  1. 1. The Millennial Handbook A Snapshot Guide to Everything Gen Y
  2. 2. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 2 Table of Contents Executive Summary/Overview………………………………………………………………5 Millennial Target - Who are they? (Birth Rates)……………………………………………………8 - Why do they matter?...................................................................................8 - The Next Baby Boomers?...........................................................................9 Millennial Values - 10 Values That Color the Millennial Perspective…………………………...10 - How Do Millennials See Themselves?......................................................12 Millennials & Education - Generational Trends……………………………………………………..……13 - What Drives College Choice?...................................................................14 Election 2008 (Millennials & Politics) - Millennial voters……………………………………………………………..…15 - The Appeal of Obama…………………….…………………………………..16 - A Transformational Figure?......................................................................17 - The Biggest Youth Campaign of 2008………………………………………18 - Millennial Engagement………………………………………………………..20 - Campaign News Sources……………………………………………………..21 Financials - Millennial Earnings/Income…………………………………………………...23 - Millennial Spending……………………………………………………………24 - Millennial Debt……………………………………………………………...….25 Millennial Marketing - Green Marketing……………………………………………………………….26 - Media that Moves Millennials…………………………………………………27
  3. 3. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 3 - Millennials and the iPhone: Where are the Advertisers?..........................28 - Cause Marketing…………………………………………….………………...30 - Multicultural Marketing…………………………………………………......…31 - Millennial Research…………………………………………………………...32 - Effective Millennial Promotions………………………………………………33 - Millennial Brands: 10 Brands That Hit the Mark……………………………35 Trends & Lifestyle - Social Networks………………………………………………………………..41 - Gender Differences……………………………………………………………42 - Trendsetters……………………………………………………………………44 Millennials & Technology - TV vs. YouTube: What Are They Watching?............................................46 - Video Games…………………………………………………………………..47 - EBay…………………………………………………………………………….48 - Millennial Bloggers…………………………………………………………….49 NBC’s Heroes: The Ultimate Millennial Personas?...................................................50 Millennials and the Workplace - Striking a Balance……………………………………………………………..51 - 5 Things Millennials Wish They Could Tell Their Bosses………………....52 - The Ideal Millennial Work Culture…………………………………………....54 Social Media: Not Just Facebook and MySpace…………………………………..…...55 Social Responsibility……………………………………………………………………..…57 Millennial Parents - Hopelessly Devoted to You………………………………………………..…58 - Marketing to Millennials Through Their Parents…………………………...59 Five Millennial Myths……………………………………………..………………………….61 Shopping Habits
  4. 4. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 4 - What are Millennials drinking?..................................................................62 - Dorm Décor…………………………………………………………………….64 Appendix - Selected Resources…………………………………………………………...65
  5. 5. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 5 Executive Summary Many volumes have been written on the Millennial Generation and many volumes more are certain to follow. The material contained herein is presented as a ‘snapshot’ guide to this generation and has been compiled with an audience of marketers in mind. As such, it is better treated as an introduction to this topic than a definitive or exhaustive guide. For further reading, please consult the list of selected resources included in the Appendix. Millennial Generation: The Target • Millennials (sometimes called Gen Y) are the generation after Gen X, generally born beginning 1978-1982 and graduating high school around 2000, hence the name. They are the most diverse generation yet, with approximately 38% of 18- 24 year-olds being non-white. • Millennials are earning more than any generation before them, with an average 18-24 year-old head of household income of $29,000 reported in 2007, up from just over $20,000 in 2003. • Likewise, they are spending more and are more heavily debt ridden than any previous generation, with the average college grad emerging with approximately $24,000 in educational and other loans. Consequently, many Millennials consider themselves ‘poor’ despite being eager consumers of luxury goods – from electronics to imported beers and wines. • There is also evidence that Millennials are contributing to growing population trends themselves, with more babies born in 2007 than even the height of the baby boom. Key Behavior/Characteristics • Millennials are generally very self critical, rating their generation as ‘most greedy’ and ‘most self indulgent’. They most admire the Baby Boomer generation and call Gen X ‘most productive’. • As a generation, they are less socially conservative than any previous generation – even when the previous generations were their age. • Millennials are entering the workplace for the first time. Unlike prior generations,
  6. 6. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 6 they are much less likely to adhere to the notions of life as a ‘career path’ and consequently place great emphasis on striking a comfortable balance between their work and personal lives. • Millennials typically do not view themselves as a being part of a ‘generation’, but nevertheless tend to share some common values as a group, including: Timeliness, “Making a Difference”, Tolerance, Environmental Stewardship, Authenticity, Family, Global Perspective, Technology, Personal Freedom, and Technology. Millennials and Technology • As the first generation to grow up with the Internet, Millennials are more apt to self identify as heavy technology users. Embracing technology in stride, the Millennial existence revolves around a sort of 24-hour, 'on the go' mentality. • The most popular new technologies are those that allow Millennials to always been connected, without anchoring them down, which explains why text (and Facebook) messages have replaced email as the preferred methods of personal communication for this generation. • Millennials tend to be as demanding of their technology as they are of themselves, and for this reason, are more likely to wonder why they haven't always had new technologies than marvel at the way things 'used to be'. Even 'luxury' electronics items like iPhones are seen a 'necessities' for many Millennials, who can't imagine life before computers. Marketing/Advertising Opportunities • Millennials are notorious for ignoring advertising. Studies suggest that traditional media (magazines, television) remain effective channels for reaching this age group, and should be included as a part of any diversified media strategy. • Perhaps due to their penchant for authenticity, Millennials favor advertising that is straight and to the point; attempts at sugarcoating or otherwise misrepresenting products or services are likely to raise an immediate red flag. • When done well, cause marketing’ (see Tom’s Shoes, Page 30) presents an opportunity for building brand loyalty by combining two Millennial passions – consumerism and ‘giving back’.
  7. 7. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 7 • While Millennials are very much part of the growing trend towards ‘green’ living, there is evidence to suggest that they are not as green in their purchase habits as older consumers. This may be more about the higher cost of green products than any underlying generational mindset. • The most effective Millennial promotions may be those that are inherently useable, as exemplified by emerging companies like ‘Free Hands’, which distributes free loose-leaf paper (with one sheet of advertising) on college campuses throughout the country.
  8. 8. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 8 Millennial Target: Who Are They? Millennials (sometimes called Gen Y) are the generation after Gen X, generally born beginning 1978-1982 and graduating high school around 2000, hence the name. The oldest are 30; the youngest are still in middle school. Why do they matter? The sheer size of the millennial cohort – some 70 million strong – and the fact that many of them are now entering the workforce for the first time – makes them a serious generational force to reckon with. They will soon be the driving force behind life as we know it – from the economy to marketing to politics – so it’s worth knowing a little bit about them. Millennials are sometimes referred to as the ‘Echo Boom’ generation, since their parents are primarily baby boomers. Whatever you call this generation, it’s clear that being a Millennial is as much a mindset as it is an age or a birth date.
  9. 9. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 9 The Next Baby Boomers? Moreover, there is some evidence to suggest that, like their parents, Millennials themselves are contributing to an upward population trend: • The average number of births per woman reached the magical 2.1 population replacement rate in 2006 for the first time since 1971. The trend continued in 2007. • According to newly released U.S. Census Bureau data, more babies were born in 2007 than even during the height of the baby boom – 4.32 million babies in 2007, more than the 4.30 million babies born in 1957. • There are indications that it is the younger women driving the trend. The percent of births to women 15-29 has remained steady at 62% from 2001-2005, and there is no reason to believe that proportion has changed in favor of older mothers. • According to a Dec 2007 CDC report, the birth rate for the youngest teens (aged 10-14) declined, and the birth rate for older teens aged 18-19 (73 per 1000) is more than three times higher than the rate for teens aged 15-17 (22 per 1,000). The biggest jump was among unmarried women aged 25-29, among whom there was a 10 percent increase between 2005 and 2006. The current baby-mania may have its roots in Millennial attitudes. Many no longer feel constrained by a timetable that calls for establishing a career, then a family. Millennials believe they can do what they want, and if a baby is what they want right now, why not go for it?
  10. 10. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 10 Millennial Values So what defines this Millennial ‘mindset’ anyway? While there is no definitive answer to this question, here are ten generational values that color the millennial perspective: Ten Values that Color the Millennial Perspective 1. Timeliness: Millennials have a unique sense of timelessness. Whether a hot new electronic gadget or a response to an email, they want “The concept of forever is lost- it now, and 'forever' has little meaning. literally. Timelessnessgone. Moments that will last a lifetime- 2. Making a difference: From volunteering in MIA. We are in the Age of The soup kitchens to joining the Peace Corps, Here and Now. The Age of Millennials have an unprecedented desire to Moment to Moment. The Age of ‘give back’ to their communities in ways ADD. ....Nothing creates fleeting large and small. experiences like our current culture of technology. Why buy 3. Tolerance: As the most ethnically diverse a car when you can lease it? generation of adults yet, Millennials have an Why sign a cell phone contract engrained sense that a diverse range of when you can pay as you ethnicities, religions, cultures and lifestyles go?…We live in a time in which should not only be tolerated, but in fact lifetime warranties are embraced. meaningless…” 4. Environmental stewardship: It’s no Marketing (May 26, 2008) by surprise that Millennials are a driving force Naomi Wohl behind the recent movement to live more environmentally friendly and sustainable lives. 5. Authenticity: With important implications for marketers and advertisers, Millennials crave plain and honest truths. From job performance reviews to television commercials, they want a message that is genuine, truthful, and straightforward, and are likely to reject anything that appears sugarcoated or otherwise less than forthcoming. 6. Family: Part of what makes Millennials unique is their parents’ intense involvement in their lives – not only during their childhood, but also well into their post-College years. Consequently, as a group, Millennials are more likely to respect and value parental opinions well after they have physically ‘left the nest’.
  11. 11. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 11 7. Global perspective: Thomas Friedman’s ‘The World is Flat’ may have been an eye opener to older generations, but Millennials have embraced this global perspective – along with the technology that makes it possible – from an early age. 8. Technology: As the first generation of adults who grew up with the Internet, Millennials embrace technology as a fundamental part of their existence. Technological advances are taken in stride, and with the introduction of each new device or gadget, Millennials are more likely to wonder why we haven’t always had this capability than marvel at how different it is than the way ‘things used to be.’ 9. Personal freedom: Millennials have all but rejected the notion that life is a ‘track’ to followed from milestone to milestone. The ‘career’ is no longer the context for important life decisions, and many respondents hold ‘making a difference’ with as high a regard as ‘personal success’, and are willing to take any path available to strike this balance. 10. Team work: Millennials are used to working together and generally adhere to the belief that ‘together, we can accomplish more’. The exception is when individual team members violate basic Millennial values (ex: tolerance, authenticity, timeliness). This explains why when given a choice, Millennials much prefer to work with other Millennials.
  12. 12. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 12 How do Millennials See Themselves? A recent poll by Harris Interactive provides insights on what Gen Y thinks of itself and other generations. The results show: • Gen Y may the most self-critical: they tend to rate themselves lowest on the positive attributes (most admired, most generous) and highest on the negative attributes (most greedy, most self-indulgent). • While they admire their parents and grandparents most overall, they reserve their highest ratings for Gen X who they see as the 'most productive', 'most socially conscious', 'most innovative' and having the 'most positive effect overall on society'. • This insight is consistent with qualitative research findings: while Millennials respect Boomers, they prefer to work for Gen X, who they perceive as having more to offer them in the way of learning. Look to see this change as they mature. Some of the low marks may simply be due t higher respect for their elders, rather than low opinions of themselves.
  13. 13. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 13 Millennials and Education: Generational Trends Not surprisingly, more 18-24 year-olds than ever are enrolled in college. A joint study by Mintel and the National Center for Education Statistics released in 2007 revealed: • In 2004, nearly 65% of 18-19 year-olds reported being enrolled in school, up from just 52% of the same age group in 1985. • A similar trend of growth is seen among 20-21 year-old and 22-24 year-olds. The bottom line? Millennials are the most highly educated generation of adults the world has yet seen. As they enter the workplace, they are likely to bring with them broader ‘global’ perspectives and higher expectations of themselves and their coworkers.
  14. 14. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 14 What Drives College Choice? Born into a generation that considers going to college a must, how do college-bound Millennials select the schools that are best for them? Although decision drivers can vary widely from individual to individual, a few basic ground rules are clear: 1. Location matters! A quick look at how many students remain close to home suggests that location is key. With the exceptions of Alaska and many New England states, most 2007 graduates stayed within their home state. In Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky, less than 15% of 2007 graduates attended school out of state. 2. Academic reputation is universally important, but with so many excellent schools to choose from, the difficulty of comparing schools, and the 'undecided major' status of most incoming freshmen, this finding must be taken with a large grain of salt. 3. Seemingly random elements such as the tour guide's attitude, the weather the day of a campus visit or a call from a faculty member can make a surprising difference in a prospectʼs willingness to seriously consider an institution as the ʻright placeʼ for them. 4. Parents are particularly influential. While most Millennials feel college choice is ultimately in their hands, many respond to this lack of overt parental pressure by valuing parental input even more – frequently relying on their advice on matters ranging from choice of major to choice of meal plan. 5. Third party endorsements are key. Students are likely to dismiss the avalanche of school-generated propaganda in favor of peer information. At the same time, Facebook has made it easy to find 'friends' at other schools, so you no longer have to wait until Christmas break to hear how they are doing. Sites such as Rate My Professor and make it easy to get the "real" scoop on what other students think of their school, good and bad.
  15. 15. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 15 Millennials and Politics: Election 2008 According to a 2007 Pew Study, each generation tends to be less socially conservative than the generation before it. Generation Y is not only less socially conservative than older cohorts, they are less socially conservative than those cohorts were at a similar age! • Social conservatism is measured by agreement with 6 statements. Gen Y on average agrees with only 2.5 of the statements, while twenty years ago, Boomers agreed with more than 3 (see chart). • However, the biggest gap, now and then, is between Boomers and the Pre-Boomer generation, not between Boomers and Gen Y. The conclusion? Gen Y liberalism is actually both generational and age related. Are Millennials Less Cynical? According to a 2007 Pew Research report, Millennials are markedly less cynical than older generations -- at least as far as putting faith in government and business institutions. • A full 82% of 18-29 year olds agree with the statement, "the strength of this country is mostly based on the success of American business". • Agreement with this statement among Millennials actually increased 5 percentage points over the past four years. In contrast, agreement among other age groups is much lower and has decreased. • The gap is even more pronounced when it comes to perception of government. Just 42%
  16. 16. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 16 of people under 30 agree with the statement, "When something is run by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful", compared to 62% overall (see chart). The Appeal of Obama According to a recent article in AdAge by Peter Field, the Barack Obama campaign knows what it's doing when it comes to Millennial marketing. The appeal of the Obama ‘brand’ gets down to a fundamental point: Obama represents a mass brand and millennials are comfortable with mass brands. Carol Phillips, Professor of Marketing at the University of Notre Dame, shares her own experience with Millennials and mass brands: “At the beginning of each term, I ask students to name some of their favorite brands. Out of a typical class of 40, 39 will name a mass brand like Apple, Nike, Budweiser, Gatorade, Starbucks, or Jamba Juice. Outlaw Consulting published a list of the top 15 brands among their panel of Gen Y trendsetters. The favorite 15 included Apple, Jet Blue, Whole Foods, H&M, Levi's, Volkswagen, Vitamin Water, Ben & Jerry's, In N Out Burger, Trader Joe's, Target, Adidas, Converse and American Apparel and Red Stripe.” A contrary view is offered by Rob Walker, author of Buying In, in his 'murketing' blog post, "Gen Y and Mass Brands: Made for Each Other?" What makes this worth reading is the response it evoked from Millennials themselves, who reject the idea that their generation likes mass brands. Here's a sample: “As a Millennial myself, big brands don’t do it for me. We’re a generation that needs constant stimulation, which can be seen in the diverse trends and niches today…Big brands have a big image, and they usually keep that image constant. So we get bored. I know I do.” Millennials may be sincere in her belief that they are bored and suspicious of mass brands, but their actions may indicate otherwise. Phillips continues: “There is something endearing about someone rejecting brands who
  17. 17. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 17 is toting an iPhone, wearing a Notre Dame hat, wearing Adidas shoes, and sipping a Starbucks latte. Millennials may relate to brands differently – they may not think of these brands as 'their brands' or make lifelong attachments. But it would be misguided to say they are not influenced by mass brand techniques, like the 'smoothness' and 360 consistency exhibited by Obama.” A Transformational Figure? Obama's Gen Y appeal has accelerated public awareness that Millennials are not just younger versions of their Boomer parents and Gen X siblings, but the result of a massive generational shift. Obama was named "Marketer of the Year" by Ad Age today largely because of his savvy use of his knowledge of Millennials. "There's no doubt that we represent the kind of change Senator Clinton can't deliver on. And part of it's generational," Barack Obama on Fox News November 2007 "I think we need a transformational figure. I think we need a president who is a generational change and that's why I'm supporting Barack Obama, not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Senator John McCain." Colin Powell on Meet the Press Sunday, October 2008 “Millennial Makeover” authors Winograd and Hais suggest that Millennials are not politically motivated this year because of the appearance of Obama. They would have been involved regardless. But Obama's marketing has been pitched perfectly to this group in everything from message to medium, and that is not an accident. Team Obama did careful research, created focused brand messages and showed clear strategic understanding that Millennials matter. Here is what Winograd and Hais had to say on their blog Oct 8: “...the political attitudes and identifications of Millennials were clearly evident long before the Obama candidacy gained widespread visibility. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in March 2007 indicated that Millennials identified as Democrats over Republicans by nearly a 2:1 ratio (52% vs. 30%).
  18. 18. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 18 And, a study conducted at about the same time by the Millennial Strategy Program of communication research and consultation firm Frank N. Magid Associates showed that Millennials were the first generation since at least the GI Generation to contain a greater number of self-perceived liberals than conservatives. All of this at least raises the possibility that the high level of Millennial political involvement is significantly based on the Democratic and liberal affinities of the generation and would be strong even without Obama's strong candidacy....Millennials are intent on working together to create a better America than the one Boomers have left them as an inheritance. Their confidence, political activism, and unity will begin to initiate that change on Election Day this year thanks to a record turnout of young voters. The 1.7 million vote plurality given to John Kerry by young voters in 2004 will grow to between 8 and 10 million for Barack Obama when this involved and unified generation goes to the polls on November 4.” The Biggest Youth Marketing Campaign of 2008 The undecided bloc has shrunk from 14% to 7% and the polls are showing Obama ahead by a furlong as the race rounds the final bend. Both sides know that the biggest risk to Obama's election is youth voter complacency. We are about to see the biggest youth marketing campaign of the year: Get Out the Vote. Many of these efforts rely on celebrity influence: Comedienne Sarah Silverman is asking young voters to visit or call their relatives in an imaginative effort called The Great Schlep. Her video calls for young people to visit their relatives in Florida and convince them to vote for Obama. If you can't visit, call (mini- Schlep). The Great Schelp was featured on Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood and on Facebook. Hip hop artists, The Beastie Boys, are staging a series of get out the vote concerts featuring Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, Ben Harper and Crosby & Nash. The concerts will be held in three swing states: WI, MN and VA. T.I., Ludacris and Ne-Yo will tour the country to educate potential young voters for two special episodes of 106 and Park that are scheduled to air in October.
  19. 19. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 19 A MySpace- and HeadCount-sponsored contest among colleges to see which can sign up the most voters. Death Cab will perform on the winning campus. Will all this effort make a difference? We won't know until election day. What is apparent is that getting out the vote could make the difference in who wins. Gallup figures released today (10.19.08) look at the race according to two scenarios: • In the traditional approach, voters' intention to participate in the current election as well as their voting history in previous presidential elections is considered. This method shows Obama leading McCain by just three points, 49% to 46%. • The second approach considers only voters' self-professed likelihood to vote in 2008, and does not factor in whether they voted in past elections. This approach assumes new registrants and infrequent voters will turn out on Election Day to a greater extent than has been the case historically. Using this approach, Obama leads by seven points, 51% to 44%, twice the margin as the first scenario. No wonder Obama is concerned about complacency, despite his clear lead in the polls.
  20. 20. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 20 Millennial Engagement: Are They Listening? There's universal agreement that the youth vote is critical to the outcome of the 2008 election, but how engaged are Millennials? Engagement is a tricky thing to measure, but just released data (9.23.08) from Pew Research sheds some light: • First, the table shows a strong trend among 18- 24 year olds for going 'newsless'; 34% say they watch no news on a daily basis, up from 25% in 1998. (Presumably news on the Comedy Channel doesn't count as 'news') • While over 9 out of 10 18-29 year olds say they intend to vote, only 7 out of 10 say they 'definitely plan to vote' and less than two thirds say they voted in their precinct last time they had a chance, and only 4 out of 10 say they 'always' vote. These figures are even lower for 'cell phone only' respondents. Given these figures, it's clear why the candidates are focusing on social media to engage young voters. Obama is doing far better than McCain, but the gap is closing. According to Hitwise, Obama gets about 56% of the total candidate web site traffic. As of Sept. 9: • Obama boasted 510,799 MySpace friends, compared with McCain's 87,652 friends, a more than 5-to-1 lead in number of friends, but down from a 7-to-1 advantage in August according to Live Research. • Obama also has a sizeable leads on Facebook with 1,726,453 supporters to McCain's 309,591. • Obama's Web site has twice as many videos posted to his official YouTube channel and far more YouTube channel subscribers, by an 11-to-1 margin.
  21. 21. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 21 Campaign News Sources What about the Millennials who are engaged? What media do Millennials rely on for election news? Among the 88% of Millennials who are actively seeking or at least paying attention to the 2008 election, there is as much reliance on old-fashioned TV news as on flashy Internet web sites. According to a May 2008 study by Crawford, Johnson, Northcott, a respected audience research firm, “Even with all of the media options available to Americans, television still rules – at least as a source for presidential election information.” CJN's research shows National, Local and Cable TV News are the three most relied upon media sources for election news across every age group - including 18-29 year olds. What about Internet Media? The results might surprise you:
  22. 22. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 22 • Across all four age groups, news organization web sites are the most heavily relied upon. • Those under 45 are more likely to rely on ISP news pages than those 45 and older. • There is no age difference in likelihood of relying on candidate email, political web sites and local TV web sites. • The largest age differences are in reliance on YouTube and social networking sites, which skew strongly young, but have fairly low penetration even among 18- 29 year olds (less than 1 in 5).
  23. 23. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 23 Finances: Millennial Earnings/Income • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 87.3% of 18-24 year old males had wages and salary in 2005. • In 2006, households headed by persons 18- 24 had earnings before taxes of nearly $29,057, up from just $20,120 in 2003 and up 7.5% 2005- 2006 alone. For comparison, U.S. income grew just 1.1% in the same period. What makes these figures even more astonishing is that 18-24 year olds by and large do not have families to support. • 43% of 18-24 year olds are college students (National Center for Education Statistics). • Less than 10% of 18-24 year old males are married. 50% of 18-24 year men live with their parents, 33% of women live with the parents. If you think starting salaries are down, you'd be wrong. According to Businessweek (5.19.08), the expected starting salaries of new MBA's exceeds $85K, up steadily every year but one since 2002. Starting salaries offered to undergrad business administration majors increased 7.5% 2006 to 2007.
  24. 24. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 24 Finances: Millennial Spending So why do most 18-24 year olds consider themselves poor now and their prospects even poorer? Perhaps they have a different concept of what constitutes a ʻnecessityʼ and what constitutes a ʻluxuryʼ. The data bears this out: • According to the BLS, 18-24 year olds spend a disproportionate amount of money on virtually every category of spending other than food and housing. • Within these categories, they have luxury tastes. For example, Millennials are almost twice as likely as older consumers to purchase imported beers and almost three times as likely to pick up a craft beer. • Marketers are on to this insight, even if the Millennials themselves are not. 18-24 year olds represent a vast market for 'luxury' goods –they just don't call them luxuries. “I am losing patience with the pronouncements that this is the first generation that expects to be downwardly mobile. The reality is that 18- 24 year olds are among the wealthiest people in America. Just don't tell them that, they won't believe it. My college students consider themselves 'poor', yet nearly all sport iPods with thousands of songs, the latest laptops, expensive footwear, cell phones with $100+ plans.” Carol Phillips, Marketing Professor, University of Notre Dame
  25. 25. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 25 Millennial Debt Truthout, in a blog post titled “Millennials: Debt Becomes You”, informs us college students are more heavily in debt than ever: • The Federal Reserve says graduates now shoulder three times more debt than a decade ago, after adjusting for inflation. • Undergraduates now average almost $20,000 in debt, with a quarter taking on more than $25,000, according to Robert Shireman, director of the Project on Student Debt, a Berkeley-based think tank. • The issue goes well beyond educational debt, however. College students graduate with $4,000 of credit card debt, on average, according to the U.S. PIRG Education Fund. Websites like “” have made a mission of explaining the pitfalls of credit card debt and the marketing techniques used by credit card companies to lure new customers. • These organizations go further by sending out peer marketing teams to get students to sign petitions about marketing practices on campuses. • The teams will look and act like a regular credit card company, working for a fictional company called "Feesa" (tagline: "Free stuff now. Huge debt later") and handing out lollipops saying, "Don't be a sucker." • Volunteers fanned out across 34 universities last October, distributing information and collecting petition signatures to persuade colleges to establish specific "principles" regarding credit card marketing on campus. The principles include prohibiting the use of gifts in marketing on campus and blocking the sale of student lists.
  26. 26. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 26 Millennial Marketing: Green Marketing Generalizations about generations are generally unwise, however, there is some evidence that Millennials may not be as green as we thought: • According to Mintel (July 2008) women aged 35+ "are generally more green than their younger brethren, suggesting that values change with age, marriage, and children." • Interest in recycling and buying recycled products increases with age, income and education. Mintel speculates that price sensitivity may overcome green impulses among younger age groups More clues as to Millennials' attitudes toward buying green come from a new report from Outlaw Consulting. Outlaw surveyed 100 of its most forward trendsetter panelists living in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami, asking them for a list of their favorite "green brands" - that is, companies they like and see as making efforts to help the environment. They also asked them what these companies were doing to be green, and why it resonates. • The brands they listed tended to be green category leaders (Toyota), minimalist in design (Method, Apple), or contributing to the conversation (Honest Tea). • Trendsetters are the first to admit not all of their purchases are green. Sometimes they insist on hunting down the greenest product on the shelf, and sometimes they don't even think about it. So when does "green" become an issue? • Anything they personally ingest - i.e. what they eat, drink, and breathe - gets foremost priority on the green issue. Green products in these categories allow consumers to feel they are doing a favor to the environment and their own bodies. • More external consumer categories, such as technology and clothing, are much lower on their green priority list. However, this is also because unlike food and home care, these categories present them with little choice.
  27. 27. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 27 Millennial Marketing: Media that Move Millennials Millennials are famous for ignoring advertising, so it is no small matter to find data on what moves them to action. BIGresearch (July 2008) data show 18-24 year olds self- report that: • Magazines and TV are effective in getting them to initiate an online search (see chart). 60% say this is true of magazines. • 55% say TV can stimulate them to search online, the highest figures for any medium including online. All of this data suggests it would be unwise to overlook traditional media when attempting to reach Millennials and drive them to act. it should also be noted that the same pattern holds for most other age cohorts. The biggest takeaway is the old notion that it's all about the mix -- put your GRP's in multiple media baskets. Bottom line? Diversification works!
  28. 28. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 28 Millennials and the iPhone: Where are the Advertisers? The impact of the iPhone on the way Millennials communicate with each other and with commercial media is hard to overstate. Yet advertisers appear to be slow to catch on. Here is some data for perspective: 1. iPhone users represent just 1% of the world's 2.7 Billion mobile devices, but iPhone users completely eclipse those using any other mobile device in their data use – 95% of those who own an iPhone regularly surf the Internet, and 65% of those browsing on mobile devices are using iPhones. 2. Google sees 50 times the number of searches from iPhones than from any other mobile device! 3. iPhone owners are young. According to a March 2008 Rubicon study, half are under 30 and 15% are students. 4. iPhones account for up to 75 percent of the video impressions in recent advertising campaigns. 5. According to Simmons New Media Study, many consumers say they are ready for mobile advertising. Over a third of consumers who are online for at least one hour a week rate themselves as being interested in receiving ads via their mobile, provided there is a tangible incentive.
  29. 29. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 29 With such a young, video-enabled, advertising-tolerant target, one would think advertisers would be clamoring to develop campaigns just for Millennials and their iPhones, if not for the entire mobile market. This is in fact the opinion of Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO. He believes the iPhone will be responsible for exponential growth in the mobile advertising market. "The iPhone was the first mobile device with a good Web browser, and more such devices will follow. Advertising will then become very personal. In a few years, mobile advertising will generate more revenue than advertising on the normal Web." Eric Schmidt, Google CEO Yet from the cases available, it doesn't appear that more than a handful of advertisers – Zagat and the Weather Channel come to mind – share Schmidt's enthusiasm. Why aren't advertisers viewing the web-enabled mobile phone as a separate category of advertising, along with the PC, Radio and TV? Only time will tell whether the trend continues.
  30. 30. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 30 Millennial Marketing: Cause Marketing One of the most cherished Millennial values is 'making a difference'. This makes cause marketing a natural choice for many Millennial marketers. Tom's Shoes has leveraged both cause marketing and community-building so naturally, it looks effortless. Tom's promises to donate a pair of shoes to a child in need somewhere in the world for every pair of shoes it sell. Talk about effortless; it's consumerism as altruism. Hey we all need shoes, right? The shoes are well made and there are endless variations on the basic design. The Toms website invites you to 'get involved' by joining a 'shoe drop' or simply joining the mailing list. In between these two options is a smart take on community-building / viral marketing / customization (yes, all three in one) called 'Style Your Sole'. Style Your a great time for you and your friends to get together, express yourself through your own designs and support a good cause. Whether it is the theme of your party or a community building activity, you and your friends are putting shoes on children’s feet somewhere around the world. Wear your originally designed TOMS and tell the story!
  31. 31. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 31 Multicultural Marketing Is 'Multicultural Youth Marketing' a redundancy? • 38% of 18-24 year olds are non-white • This generation is famous for its tolerance -- Pew Research reports 94% of the post 1977 born Gen Y approve of interracial dating compared to 84% of Boomers. • Just 17% of 18-29 year olds said that race was important to their vote in the primary compared to 22% of 30-44 year olds. 57% voted for Obama vs 48% for all age groups. (Pew Research Center, Young Voters in the 2008 Primaries). Given this kind of evidence, there may be a case that youth marketing and multicultural marketing are one in the same. Gen Y not only desires diversity, they expect it. Recent focus groups we conducted on women and fashion found the appeal of celebrities like Tyra Banks easily cross ethnic boundaries, while Jennifer Anniston is 'every girl' for everyone. No college can afford to not have its multicultural images on display. Perhaps we are stating the obvious, but if so, why are we still talking about 'multicultural marketing'? Perhaps we should just say 'culture aware marketing'?
  32. 32. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 32 Millennial Research Segmentation has its limits as a marketing tool. As marketers we are trained to look to focus on the differences, but unless the differences are meaningful, overreliance on segmentation can lead to a lot of wasted effort. This insight may be especially true of Millennial marketing. • As a generation, Millennals cherish their individuality, but are secure enough in who they are that they have no problem identifying strongly with a larger group, ethic or brand, especially if that group, ethic or brand shares their values; they like being part of something bigger than themselves. • Millennials share a set of common values that has enabled a few brands to deeply connect with a broad range of young consumers: Google, Apple, Heroes, and Teach for America come immediately to mind. • These connections are based more on similarities among Millennials than differences. Those similarities can be traced to common upbringing that stressed team work, embracing of diversity (which is quite different from tolerance), respect for institutions, and the importance of 'making a difference' (i.e., or as Google famously said, 'do no evil'). Millennials also share a faith in technology as tool for connection and productivity. Perhaps most significantly, this generation shares a deep belief in its own capacity for bringing about positive change. This belief is what underlies their strong will to be 'heard'. With Obama perhaps now less than a month from what is looking like a Millennial-inspired victory, we may be hearing more from and about Millennial universals in the near future.
  33. 33. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 33 Millennial Marketing: Effective Promotions Taco Bell announced earlier this year it is extending its "Feed the Beat" Indie Rock Band promotion for its late night "Fourth Meal" for a third year. Carol Phillips, President of BrandAmplitude and Professor of Marketing at the University of Notre Dame, argues that this promotion hits multiple Millennial sweet spots all at once: 1. Simple and Undemanding. The rules are simple: register for $500 worth of late night coupons and a chance to a chance to be promoted by a record producer next spring, no strings whatsoever. 2. Immediate gratification. Winners will be announced in October. 3. Social. Bands have fans. Fans like to eat, too. Winners will be selected via online vote, which will encourage the bands to activate their networks. 4. Indie Rock Bands. Music is a top passion for Millennials, as blogger Charlie Moran points out in an Ad Age article. 5. Late Night. Millennials live 24/7 lives; A "Fourth Meal" makes sense to them. Taco Bell's marketing investment in this promotion is modest: 100 bands X $500 in late night coupons ($50K), URL for registration and voting, placement on sauce packets, PR. The return is potentially great, if only in registered band member names and voters! The PR potential is big and very well targeted. It all seems to point to a potentially huge ROI, as well as some terrific potential for brand-differentiation.
  34. 34. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 34 Free Hand: A New Take on Usability A new firm, Free Hand, has cleverly answered the question of how to reach Millennials with messages they will want to read or listen to: with media that is inherently useable! Free Hand distributes note paper on college campuses, 4 sheets plus an ad. It's literally a 'hand out', something free that is useful. As one student in the testimonial video explains, "It's free paper so you can't really say no to it". This is an idea on a par in cleverness with the refrigerator magnet, and well suited to the Millennial market. Who wouldn't use free paper on the way to class, even if only to doodle? The idea of branding useful items is stock in trade for promotions, but the clever twist here is that the ad itself is useful, and inexpensive enough to be practical. Now, let' just hope the paper is recycled!
  35. 35. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 35 Millennial Brands: 10 Brands That Hit the Mark Ask a Millennial ‘what campaigns or brands have captured your attention lately?’ and the answer is likely to be, “Ah, can you repeat the question?” or “I don’t really watch TV.” So what brands penetrate? There are some obvious winners: Obama, Apple, Scion, Converse, The Colbert Report, Facebook. But what other brands hit the mark? Here’s a list of less well-documented Millennial brands and why they appeal. Herbal Essences: P&G has done a great job of updating Herbal Essences, an aging mass-market brand, to appeal to Gen Y women. Everything from the language on the package (‘totally twisted’, ‘drama clean’), to the package to the colors and web site says this is not your mom’s shampoo. The voice is young without being juvenile, fun while still providing useful information. Benefits include 'polishing your look' and 'luscious hair'. Promotional tie-ins work nicely – pedicures and manicures. Videos provide specific direction on how to achieve that 'casual sexy, just out of bed look'. Nothing Boomer or tweeny-bopper about that! ZipCar: ZipCar is a concept, "Wheels When You Want Them", that appeals to Millennial desires — on the go, always connected but not 'attached', and of course, 'green'. Within a matter of 15 minutes, members can locate and reserve anything from a MiniCooper to a minivan, all for $10/hr or less, gas and insurance included. A Zipcar offers the full functionality of a car without the strings of ownership or the hassle and cost of renting. Beyond functionality, Zipcars are cool. Mazdas, Subarus, Honda hybrids, even Scion all integrate technology in the kind of seamless way Millennials have come to love in companies like Apple. While Zipcar has yet to be profitable, this most likely has more to do with the high cost of opening new markets, than lack of appeal.
  36. 36. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 36 PINK: Victoria's Secret's PINK brand is hot. With sales approaching $1 Billion, it is growing faster than VS overall according to Ad Age (7/7/08). The PINK Facebook Group is one of the largest with 509,478 fans. Recently, PINK started directly targeting the collegiate crowd directly with a comprehensive approach that is only vaguely related to clothes and more understated than sexy. No digital marketing stone was left unturned, with apps for Facebook, style guides, videos of favorite bands, logowear from 33 universities, video personality profiles, parties called PINKAPALOOZA, text messaging, free customizable goodies for your MySpace page or computer, insider blogs, a magalog, cause marketing, a $5 planner promotional offer -- even horoscopes. Nothing was left out, and the overall sense is that there's lots more to come. Overall, the site feels more like a social network than a commercial site, and that apparently is the intent and its appeal. Target: Target does a great job of staying in the zone of what Millennials value – affordable, stylish and socially correct. The advertising is as stylish as the merchandise. A recent spot, ‘Brave New Dorm’, featured original music by Andrea Ravel and people who look like they’d be fun to shop with. The great deals appeal to the ‘price conscious’ side of Millennials, who think of themselves as poor. Target demonstrates social responsibility by donating millions of dollars each year to local schools and sponsoring cases and internships at universities. Demographic profiles of Target shoppers show they skew younger and higher income. BIGresearch (8.19.08) reports Target and Macy's shoppers favor Obama, while Wal- mart and Kohl's shoppers skew toward McCain, a finding totally consistent with the demographic profile. This profile should serve Target well as Millennials graduate, start families, and furnish homes. Our bet is that they will keep Millennials' enthusiasm well beyond their 20's. Target is Pepsi to Wal-Mart's Coke – The Choice of a New Generation.
  37. 37. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 37 Jamba Juice: Smoothies may be the quintessential Millennial category – and Jamba Juice may be the quintessential Millennial brand. Forty percent of all 18-24 year olds, had a smoothie made fresh for them in the past month (Mintel, March 2008). That figure is more than 2X total adults (18%), and rivals past month penetration of Starbucks (44%, Mintel, April 2008). How did Jamba Juice become an iconic youth brand? • Authenticity: JJ is uncompromising in its use of fresh fruit and quality ingredients, despite cost and competitive pressures • Effective use of PR: Until recently, Jamba Juice had never made a TV commercial. Instead, it relies on great placement on shows like Dave Letterman. • Innovative menu items: The addition of breakfast items gives customers another reason to visit. • Consistently fun personality: Whether you encounter JJ on the web, on YouTube, or in the store, the attitude is fun and a little quirky. • Simplicity: Jamba Juice isn't trying to be all things to all people. Research on top brands among trendsetting youth by Outlaw Consulting emphasizes simplicity of design and execution as a trademark of an iconic trendsetter brand. [adult swim]: When I think of Millennial media, I think of MySpace, Facebook,, MTV, and VH1. Yet MRI (Fall 2007) shows [adult swim] has penetration among 18-24 year olds equal to that of Facebook (21%). [adult swim] appears on the Cartoon Network between 11 PM and 6 AM 7 nights a week. Its web site,, carries a variety of original programming, syndicated shows, Japanese anime, games and social media opportunities. Promotions for Adult Swim are targeted towards the college age and 20something/30something group, which appears to constitute the majority of their viewers. With its tremendous aggregation of
  38. 38. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 38 Millennial attention, [adult swim] may have the best chance of making the idea of one channel, three screens a reality for Millennials. After all, Facebook and Youtube don’t have a TV channel. Grape Nuts: Yes, Grape Nuts. Talk about an unlikely product for a Millennial target! Yet the advertising and web site are a direct hit for the give-it-to-me-straight-but-don't- bore-me Gen Y market. The new outdoor campaign, cup holders and web site feature headlines that challenge common euphemisms and end with the line, "It is what it is" — implying simple, basic, straightforward, not covered in a layer of sugar. The web site,, is fresh and mesmerizingly funny. We watch the narrator struggle to figure out why this site is ‘necessary’, ultimately give up make the best of it. Here is a persona to rival Mac Guy, every dude doing the best he can in a ridiculous situation. “If you’ve got the time, I know I do… I don’t know how to get out of here! So stick around and maybe we’ll learn something.” Both the message and delivery, Grape Nuts is “not trying to become anything it isn’t” This approach is smart and fits both the brand and Millennial values perfectly. It’s advertising for the advertising averse, of any age. NASA: Kudos to NASA for figuring out the obvious when it comes to getting Millennials to engage with their brand: Let them tell you how! NASA asked four of its Millennial employees to create a PowerPoint slide show profiling their generation and explaining what NASA needed to do to make NASA relevant. The result, available at, Entitled "Gen Y Perspectives", is full of insightful recommendations for connecting with their generation in the voice of the Millennials themselves. A sample: “Gen Y is defined as "mobile, interdependent, quickly bored, instant information, instant gratification, likes mentors, global, empowered, wired, multi-tasking, impatient if delayed, expecting NOW, (not 5 minutes from now), but highly adaptable… and willing to sacrifice economic rewards for worklife balance". Among their
  39. 39. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 39 recommendations was to help Millennials ‘see the point, understand the facts, and facilitate a discussion with Gen Y that allows them to participate in the mission’. NASA management must have listened, you can now follow NASA on Twitter. Fat Bastard: Millennials, with their above average earnings and sophisticated tastes, are an untapped market for 'luxury' goods – you just can't call them luxuries. French Millennials are forgoing wine; U.S. Millennials are embracing it in large numbers. According to Nielsen, beer drinking among 21-30 year olds dropped 12 percentage points in the last 10 years, twice as much as those over 30. (Beer still accounts for 83% of Gen Y alcoholic beverage purchases, so don’t expect Beer Pong to lose popularity anytime soon.) Why are Millennials embracing wine? Well, it’s not because its hip or cool – wine is considered too elite to be cool. The answer is that Millennials have sophisticated tastes, a function of early exposure to the finer things in life by their boomer parents. (Most Millennials who like wine say they were introduced to it by their parents). This is a huge opportunity for winemakers, and Fat Bastard is among the first to jump on it. Their irreverent site does its best to take out the mystery and put in the fun: “Are you Livin’ Large?” Red Bull: While there are many contenders, Red Bull may be the ultimate Millennial brand. As Millennials became increasingly sleep deprived, energy drinks thrived. Energy drinks are a Millennial-driven phenomenon, and with a 42% share, Red Bull is the driver. 61% of 18-24 year old energy drink users drink Red Bull, outpacing Monster Energy by a factor of 2:1. Since its beginnings, Red Bull has shown that it 'gets' Millennials and especially their desire for a dialog with the brands they consume. This blurring of the social with channels of brand marketing is what NYT columnist, Rob Walker, dubbed 'murketing' in his great book,
  40. 40. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 40 "Buying In: The Secret Dialog between What We Buy and Who We Are". He maintains that modern branding involves complicity between consumer and consumed, an embracing of commerical culture, not commercials. Red Bull was among the first to recognize and leverage "murketing", with its extreme sports competitions in extreme locations. Red Bull is also a great example of why Millennial-targeted brands should forgo making claims in favor of building affinity. Who knows or cares what guanine is, anyway?
  41. 41. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 41 Trends and Lifestyle: Social Networks Carol Phillips, President of BrandAmplitude, LLC, recently ran a campaign on Facebook to recruit Millennials into some focus groups. The 'headline' seemed sure to capture attention: Earn $50 in 75 minutes. Thanks to the pay-per-click ad model the ad received lots of exposure - 932,917 impressions to be exact. But the clicks didn't happen; just 160 responded for an appallingly low .02% click through rate. Too bad Millennials don't need market research because it would have been a very cheap branding campaign. Phillipsʼs 17-year-old Facebook-addicted daughter explained: "Mom, no one clicks on Facebook ads". In short, students do not think Facebook was invented for any other purpose that to facilitate their social lives. • According to new articles by Adweek and Fortune, this experience is not unique. An article in Adweek, "Social Ad Lessons", points out that eMarketer lowered its forecast for social-media ad spending by 12 percent due to "tempered enthusiasm for meshing ads with social environments". • MySpace will miss its $1 billion U.S. sales goal by 11 percent and Facebook will take in 13 percent less than the $305 million forecast. The code on leveraging social media as a medium is not broken, but some are getting closer to the key by thinking of social media as a new form of product placement. Adweek describes successful efforts this way: “...Slide and RockYou are developing a new-era form of product placement that brings brands directly into the application experience, rather than relegate them to a banner on the periphery. One of Slide's most popular Facebook applications is SuperPoke, which lets users to give each other virtual nudges. Slide has begun working in branded SuperPokes, like spraying a spritz of perfume for Estee Lauder and rolling a set of dice as part of a Vegas-themed Palm campaign. Coke brand VitaminWater ran a SuperPoke campaign in April that resulted in 9.7 million virtual versions of the brand being sent out.” AdWeek, May 19, 2008
  42. 42. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 42 Millennial Gender Differences Millennials, of course, are not all alike, and one of the main differences is sex. This isn't as blindingly obvious as you might think. Lifestyle and purchase behavior differences between Millennial men and Millennial women are so great, it almost makes sense to think of them as two different cohort groups. Of course, there are many ways that they are the same, but vive la difference when it comes to marketing. On the whole, Millennial men appear to be more like their teen counterparts, while Millennial women are more like, well, young adults. According to Mintel's 2008 report on 18-24 year males, here are a few of the gaps: 18-24 year old men are more likely than women to... • Live with a parent: M: 50% W: 33% • Watch more than 11 hours of TV per week: M: 48% W: 32% • Be saving money to buy a car: M: 36% W: 25% • Be saving money to buy a video game console: M: 22% W: 8% • Visit online chat rooms weekly: M: 42% W: 31% • Read weblogs or watch podcasts weekly: M: 32% W: 15% • Watch online video: M: 77% W: 59% • Agree I don't need a stereo if I have a computer: M: 36% W: 25% • Agree I don't need a DVR because I have a computer: M: 28% W: 10% • Watch TV broadcasts on a computer: M: 37% W: 20% • Record TV broadcastson a computer: M: 30% W: 13% • Have a $100+ monthly cell phone bill: 35% W: 23%
  43. 43. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 43 18-24 year old women are more likely than men to... • Think it's cool if a company uses a social network profile to promote its products: M: 64% W: 72% • Own a laptop: M: 48% W: 59% • Own a car stereo: M: 49% W: 64% • Purchased clothing online: M: 32% W: 48% • Live with a wife/husband: M: 4% W: 23% • In college: M: 33% W: 36% Gender differences often yield productive marketing insights. For example, several years ago BrandAmplitude explored purchases of flat screen televisions among young adults. Surprisingly, young women thought of a flat screen purchase as a piece of art, something that would make a statement about them in their living room. Young men were focused on the viewing experience, especially the sound and theatre-like picture.
  44. 44. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 44 Trendestters Barbara Bylenga is President Outlaw Consulting, a highly successful San Francisco-based company specializing in spotting trends. They talk to trendsetters and predict which trends will go mainstream. Outlaw has been telling companies like Nike, Levi's and Diageo for years what the coolest of the cool kids want. In a recent exclusive interview for the Global Business Network(GBN), she affirmed that cool Millennials are indeed different from cool kids of the past. Here are a few highlights: GBN: The bulk of your trendsetters are in their teens and 20's. We hear a lot about the Millennial Generation and how they are different. Is it hype or real? BYLENGA: Millennials, or Gen Ys, are definitely different. They seem to feel more empowered – and more entitled – than any generation before them. They have an innate team orientation that makes them excellent collaborators. And the ideas about issues like marriage and career are radically different. Their "American dream" isn't about the picket fence; it's a flexible freelance career and a life defined by passion. There's no doubt in my mind that they are poised to change society. And they're the biggest American generation ever – even bigger than their parents, the Baby Boomers. In just a couple years, they'll be one-third of the U.S. population. GBN: What are Gen Ys like as consumers? BYLENGA: Gen Ys see themselves as change-makers. But they're also busy trying to have a middle-class life, so their protests take different form than youth protests of the past. They see corporation's as having lots of power but little heart, and they try to create change by using their dollars. The "aha" for corporations is to recognize that values and authenticity are important to this generation – and that directly affects how they spend. American Apparel, for example, has been totally embraced by youth because of its labor practices. Shopping there make them feel like they're spending money in the right place. Companies that really "walk their talk" about core values will be endeared. If you want to be relevant to Gen Ys, you need to understand their mindset. Understand what they're doing – and why.
  45. 45. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 45 GBN: What's the hot new thing among Gen Y trendsetters? I assume they all have iPhones... BYLENGA: Well, iPhones are still very popular, but they're not as cool as the MacBook Pro, which is the most powerful status symbol among our trendsetters right now. Some of them are living in squalor on 24th and Mission, eating Ramen noodles and shopping at the Goodwill – but they paid two grand for their MacBook Pro. An iPhone is nice for keeping in touch, but let's face it, it's yuppie accessory. Toms Shoes are also big right now. Every time we do a focus group wtih trendsetters, at least one of them shows up wearing a new pair of Toms. They're simply designed and very comfortable, and for every pair you purchase Toms donates one pair to a child in need in Argentina or South Africa. "one for one," they say on the box. It's a simple mission and the shoes are hip.
  46. 46. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 46 YouTube vs. TV: What are Millennials Watching? According to Alloy Media, 24% of teens are on the Internet 15 or more hours a week, and the average time spent is 11.5 hours. They also watch a lot less TV than the rest of us. According to MRI's Mediamark Reporter, the top TV Quintile of 18-24 year olds are indexes just 66 vs. Total Adults. So what, in fact, are they watching, online and on TV? • MRI Medimark Reporter (Fall 2007) shows MySpace and MTV are the most highly penetrated channels with over 40% of 18-24 year olds watching (see table), with VH1 and YouTube are right behind. • With 21% penetration and an index of 368, the penetration of [Adult Swim] penetration rivals that of Facebook. For those of you over 30 who may not be familiar with [Adult Swim], it's what runs between 11PM and 6PM Eastern, 7 nights a week, on the Cartoon Network, the HBO of animation. While it began as a spinoff, today it is a channel in its own right. carries a variety of streamed video, games and social media
  47. 47. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 47 opportunities. David Carson reports in Ad Age that online video has a bigger audience than cable TV. Sites like,, and are making the idea of one channel, three screens seem more like a reality all the time. Reaching Millennials may be a matter of allowing them to direct the content they want to the screen – TV, computer or mobile phone – they want. Video Games 44% of 12-17 year old males say playing video games is one of the 'favorite activities' (Mintel, 3.07, see chart). That makes games big business; the Sims alone has sold 100 million copies, worth about $4 Billion (Fast Company, 9.08). The upcoming release of Spore is a media event that rivals the biggest blockbuster movies. From a marketing perspective, it is important to note that up until now, gaming has been largely a male phenomenon, most likely due to the high levels of violence in many games. This is a problem Spore's marketers hope to change. Spore is reportedly more about creating and building than destroying. (Right now, young
  48. 48. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 48 women are much more likely to blog, while both sexes are equally likely to be spending time social networking.) This makes gaming an especially targeted medium for marketers trying to reach young men. Little wonder product placement in video games is hot and getting hotter. eBay: Reaching Out to Millennials? Many brands have incorporated social responsibility into their marketing, and this approach is known to influence at least a portion of Millennials. In most cases (Tom's Shoes being an exception), customers are required to DO something – like recycle their old sweats -- to contribute. With what RetailHitsandMisses blogger, Judy Hopelain, calls 'Millennial perfect pitch', eBay recently announced the launch of a new shopping site,, that makes doing good as painless as shopping online. With the tagline, "Where Your Shopping Shapes the World", this new site makes it easy to support whatever cause you like! Want to buy products that are made of eco-friendly materials, support local community services, preserve native plans and native traditions, adhere to fair trade practices, conserve energy and do not harm animals in production? You can find them here. Want to join a community that shares your passion for a cause? eBay uses its formidable community building skills to make it easy to do just that. There's even a Facebook link and easy way to tell others about WorldofGood. While WorldofGood will appeal to more than just Millennials, it indeed seems custom made for a generation that has money to spend and seeks to make a difference. Already this site has attracted hundreds of bloggers. We predict that word of mouth will move this site to the forefront of Gen Y's consciousness very quickly.
  49. 49. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 49 Millennial Bloggers: AdAge Unveils ‘GenNext’ Ad Age recently launched a new blogging feature called "GenNext". As the name suggests, this new blog is all about Millennials, featuring entries like this from recent Notre Dame MBA grad Sarah Ewing, who offers advice for employers seeking top Millennial talent. The entry serves as a friendly reminder that Millennials are simultaneously entering both the blogosphere and the workplace! “Top talent seeks a long-term relationship and will partner with companies whose manners reflect a soulmate, like online retailer In my interview experience with them, the only prices discussed were potential media buys. Our date included an all- expenses paid trip to Vegas, a trip to the "Soul Doctor" (Zappos' personal onsite psychologist and career therapist) and a Polaroid for my personal scrapbook. In the end, I didn't get the job because they were looking for someone with more experience, but had things worked out, I could easily see myself growing old(er) with them (as can other swooning potential employees). To attract top talent, I recommend these behaviors: 1. Don't make me go Dutch. Please pay for interview travel. It indicates financial stability and employee value. 2. Don't speed date. This is a courtship. Get to know me beyond a rote questionnaire. 3. Break up via phone, not silence. Quickly tell me that we are through rather than dragging it out in ambiguity. 4. Value me for me. As an MBA, I know what I'm worth. Although advertising agencies are notorious for paying under industry average, please do not immediately lowball my desired salary. Treat me like a potential partner. “Remember: Any company can find employees. But a charming company who uses these manners will almost always get the most striking partners in the employment pool—and keep them, too. Which do you want to be?”
  50. 50. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 50 NBC’s ‘Heroes’: The Ultimate Millennial Personas? NBC's smash hit, Heroes, seems to fully capture the essence of the Millennial lifestyle – which blogger Carol Phillips describes as the 'wait til you see the real me' fantasy. Here is how the Heroes wiki site describes two of the show's key characters: Claire Bennet is a high school student formerly of Odessa, TX where she used to be a cheerleader. She lives with her adoptive family in Costa Verde, CA. Claire discovers she has the ability to heal seemingly any wound, nearly instantaneously. Peter Petrelli worked as a common hospice nurse while living in New York City. Peter appeared to his family as a witless dreamer, who believed he had a greater place in life than just saving one life at a time. He discovered he was an evolved human who had the ability to absorb and use the powers of other evolved humans. Peter has since decided to use his abilities to save the world. The show is wildly popular among Millennials, and given Millennials' passion for making a difference in the world, it's easy to see why the show is so appealing. Marketers would do well to tap into this fantasy, with products that help Millennials be more the person they know they were meant to be, and make a greater impact for good. NBC is leveraging this insight well, with a create-your-own-hero contest and animated online series. Superpowers for ordinary mortals of course is not a new theme, but what makes Potter and Heroes different from, say Superman, is the unique generational angle. It's not just about having unique talents, it's about being YOUNG and having unique talents. That is what makes these characters remarkable in their worlds and appealing in the world of Millennials.
  51. 51. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 51 Millennials in the Workplace: Striking a Balance One of the more notable differences between Millennials and other generations are their equivocal feelings about work. While they (and their parents) are anxious to get a good job and begin establishing their adult lives as functioning members of the modern economy, they are also vaguely uneasy about the place of work in their lives. They expect they will need to make serious compromises to land and keep a job. BrandAmplitude identified some of these anxieties in focus groups last spring among young professionals at major companies. Nearly everyone we talked with was concerned with two issues: 'work-life balance' and 'making a difference'. These two concerns were sometimes related, particularly if their job was not seen as offering much opportunity to 'give back'. No doubt the recent financial shocks are causing Millennials to give even greater thought – and worry – to what the work world will mean for their lives. Shrinking job markets make for fewer chances to ask for concessions on vacation time, education perks, and other incentives dear to the hearts of Millennials. In the research, Millennials consistently shared a desire to tell their bosses, "This job is not my life" or "“This job is not my life!” Or as another put it, “My job isn’t life or death – I’m not saving lives, I work in marketing – sometimes people forget that.” “I'm not exactly sure how this insight to the psyche of Millennials relates to marketing, but I think it's important; they are unsure whether to be motivated by the same incentives as the rest of us – or at least up until this latest economic crisis.” Carol Phillips, BrandAmplitude President
  52. 52. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 52 5 Things Millennials Wish They Could Tell Their Bosses Last spring, Brand Amplitude conducted focus groups among professionally employed Millennials around the country. They were asked, “If you could tell your boss one thing, what would it be?” Here's what they said: 1. Teach me!” “I feel like boomers donʼt teach as much as they could… Millennials want to learn.” While they do believe they are more knowledgeable in certain areas – such as technology – they realize that they have a lot to learn from older generations. As one Millennial, put it: “Go ahead and tell stories, share your wisdom, or teach them something you wish you would have known when you were their age.” 2. “Mentor Me!” “The whole concept of ʻreportingʼ to people is very parentsʼ generation… [we] are more team focused.” Relationships and corporate cultures are especially important to Millennials. They want to feel cared for as individuals – not just employees. In short, they want mentors, coaches and teammates – not just bosses. Participants expressed more loyalty to the people they work with than to their company. As one brand manager put it, “I feel connected to the people I work with, not necessarily the company.” Another said, “People make everything worth doing.” 3. “Trust me!” “I would tell my boss that they need to place more responsibility in the hands of younger employees.” Millennials want to feel empowered to make a difference in the business. They
  53. 53. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 53 yearn for autonomy and the authority to have a real impact. Millennials feel especially discouraged when they are micromanaged. A managerʼs goal should be to find that magical middle ground – the perfect balance between giving employees generous feedback while simultaneously giving them the freedom to make decisions and solve problems on their own. 4. “Reward me!” “Iʼm as loyal to them as they are to me.” Itʼs important to clearly communicate performance expectations and how performance will be rewarded. Itʼs also key to be true to your word! The fastest way to lose a Millennialʼs loyalty is to renege on a promise. It seems to be especially important to Millennials to know the right incentives are in place. Millennials welcome open conversation about compensation and incentive programs. Some want a raise, but others prefer a results-based bonus structure, more vacation time or public recognition. 5. “Donʼt Take Me For Granted! “My company doesnʼt realize that their most qualified people can and will leave for a better work environment.” A common perception about Millennials is that they arenʼt very loyal. Yet when we probed about workplace loyalty, we heard many say they would like to be loyal, but only to companies that ʻearnʼ their loyalty. Millennials feel their parentsʼ generation was loyal to a fault. Millennials believe they have more options, so they insist they will only stick with a company that earns their devotion.
  54. 54. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 54 The Ideal Millennial Work Culture One word sums it up: the key to attracting top Millennial workers to your company is a 'chill' culture. In BrandAmplitude’s recent online focus groups with Millennials, the conversation centered on their lives at work, their frustrations and what makes them happy. It will not come as a surprise that what matters most to Millennials is their work team. However, a great team is not enough. Nearly as important as the team to their satisfaction was the culture. Here's a sample of how the happy ones talk about their jobs: • “I love the culture at XXX, which has become very chill and youthful. Plus, people are quite laid back and not overly competitive. ...For example, we have Nintendo Wii in the office and have tournaments among the business unit.” - Brand Manager, Major CPG firm • “I've been at my new job for three days now. Up until this point, I've bounced from job to job a lot. Well, it's brand new... but so far I really like the people, the energy and the culture.” - Account Exec, major ad agency • “I'm still new; however, like I said, I like the people I work with (my co-workers, manager, sales team) and therefore am motivated to do my best.” - Manager, Major Commercial Realty Firm
  55. 55. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 55 Social Media: Not Just Facebook and Myspace While many believe it is values that define Millennials, Millennials themselves believe it is their use of the Internet, nothing defines Millennials on the Internet more than their use of social media. In March 08, McCann released Wave 3 of its Social Media Tracking Report based on a survey of 17,000 Internet users in 29 countries. Here are a few findings worth noting: 1. Social media is much broader than social networking. McCann defines social media as “Online applications, platforms and media which aim to facilitate interaction, collaboration and the sharing of content”. That includes blogs, photo and video sharing, podcasts, microblogs (Twitter), widgets, chat rooms and message boards, and more. 2. Social media's reach is surprisingly high. 83% of active Internet users watch videos, 73% read blogs. 39% have started their own blog. In fact, McCann believes blogging rivals traditional media with a 70% weekly reach. 33% have a favorite blog they read regularly. "As a collective, the blogosphere rivals any mass media in terms of reach, time spent and wider cultural, social and political impact." 3. Social Networks have evolved into platforms to organize users’ internet experience. 74% use them to message friends. Social networks are becoming a 'one stop shop' for all Internet needs: messaging friends, posting photos and videos, and unique applications. Consequently, they are becoming one of the most powerful ways to disseminate information. The blurring of media and creators is nearly complete, as the popularity of Engadget with trendsetting Millennials makes clear. The 'citizen' journalist has become a reality and bloggers are becoming mainstream personalities. Need evidence? The NYT and Entertainment Weekly had this to say about
  56. 56. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 56 “Pink is the new Blog: Must Star Hazer — Why This: Trent Vanegas may run the uproarious gossip roundup from his home outside Detroit, but he doesn’t need proximity to make riotous observations about celebs — often typed directly onto scary paparazzi photos.” — Entertainment Weekly “Anyone looking for a case study in the convergence of homespun blog culture and market-driven mainstream media need look no further than and its creator, Trent Vanegas … It’s Not Just a Blog, It’s a Brand”. The New York Times Finally, we have prospect of 'Facebook: The Movie'. The New York Times reports that West Wing creator, Aaron Sorkin, and Columbia Pictures producer Scott Rudin, are collaborating on a film about the creation of Facebook. They have set up a place on Facebook to participate. Talk about media coming full circle!
  57. 57. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 57 Social Responsibility: Millennials as ‘Doers’ One of the most defining values of the civic-minded Millennials is their desire to do good and 'make a difference' in the world. The 2006 Cone Millennial Cause Study showed that "61% of Millennials, (defined as those born between 1979 – 2001), feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world." These “Doers” volunteer at least once a week and represent nearly 20% of Millennials surveyed. Survey findings indicate that volunteerism unleashes a more engaged citizen, consumer and employee. • The estimated 15.6 million Millennial “Doers” in this country are a company’s most loyal brand ambassadors. To support the causes they care about, “Doers” will reward a company that meets their standards. At the same time, they are not afraid to refuse to work for an employer that lacks a sincere commitment to social issues. • 42% who volunteer weekly describe their “ideal” work environment as a place that will help them make the world a better place, outranking all other factors, including high salary (41%) and flexible hours (37%). • The study points out that 87% of those who volunteer bought a product that supported a cause in the past year compared to just 48% of non-volunteers. “College students demonstrate strong commitment towards the brands they feel are contributing positively to world issues and the environment, and students' preference for brands they perceive to be socially responsible is on the rise. 41% of respondents prefer socially responsible brands, compared to the 37% reporting last year and a 24% increase since '06 figures....In current collegiate environment it is very cool to be ‘good'. Brands who enable college students to reflect their own social responsibility... have an advantage" 6th Alloy Media + Marketing Survey of College Students
  58. 58. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 58 Millennial Parents: Hopelessly Devoted to You Carol Phillips, blogger, college professor, and mother of two Millennials, shares her recent experience sending her daughter off to college: “After three days spent observing and interacting with 500 Millennials and their parents at George Washington University's "freshman orientation", I now have a better understanding of the parenting relationship that resulted in such a self-confident, community-oriented, civic-minded cohort. The fact that there even is such a thing as 'parent orientation' speaks volumes about Millennial parenting. In the Millennial era, orientation is a 3-day affair with separate events for and parents and students. There were theatrically produced skits on the perils of college life (X-rated for students, PG for parents), speeches from the deans, tours, small group sessions and more. I admire the marketing insight behind the event: Reassure parents and their kids they great choice and address any lingering buyers' remorse. I also admire the 'target insight': 'Helicopter' parents have a hard time letting go. The skit that evoked the most laughter among parents depicted a mom who arrived on day one with her son's teddy bear, a super sharpie to mark his underwear and an extra phone so she could leave messages on his phone – to the mortification of her son and the amusement of his new roommates. As the head of student services informed us, "it's one thing to call a professor, it's another to call a boss, so you may as well start letting go now". (More laughter) How this situation came about is easy to comprehend. Boomer and Gen X parents ran a parenting gauntlet, what David Brooks refers to as the 'Achievatron', to get their kids into a top tier school. They certainly can't be expected to stop now just as their kid encounters his/her biggest life challenge to date. Millennials enjoy closer, more friendly relationships with their parents than previous generations. Many parents continue to support their Millennial kids well beyond the point when kids used to be expected to be self-sustaining. The traditional hallmarks of adulthood, marriage, children, home buying, are all being delayed.
  59. 59. [THE MILLENNIAL HANDBOOK] 59 What this new extended 'pre-adulthood' means for marketers is anyone's guess. At minimum it means extended spending power for Millennials as they continue to draw upon parental subsidies and housing. It also means Millennials have more opportunity to influence parental choices, particularly in the areas they know best, such as technology and entertainment. As one parent put it, "when it comes to college these days, it takes a family." Marketing to Millennials Through Their Parents Every marketer knows parents' purchase decisions in everything from breakfast cereal to cell phones are often strongly influenced by their children. Wise marketers have leveraged this by marketing directly to their kids, even though they are not the ultimate decision-makers. With close relationships between hovering parents and young adults increasingly the norm, the opposite strategy may start to make sense: influence young adults' decisions through their parents. Colleges have long known the importance of parents to the application and decision process. Now HR managers are also directly addressing parental concerns after noticing parents were helping their adult children negotiate pay and benefits, angle for promotions and evaluate job offers. According to BNet, Office Depot is planning to include a reassuring message to parents on its web site; Merrill started sponsoring a Parents’ Day in 2006. The company flies parents and caretakers of diversity students to Manhattan, teaches them about the business, provides a tour of the Big Apple, and emphasizes company support and benefits, such as free meals and transportation for employees working overtime. The program has been so successful they are considering expanding it. Last year only one student whose parents attended the event didn’t accept the firm’s subsequent job offer. Millennials are just beginning to make their first significant adult purchases – automobiles and appliances, student loans, health and life insurance, a home, financial investments, and automobiles. As they make these decisions for the first time, they will turn to their parents for advice.