This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

October 6, 2010

Connecting with the Millennials

We define "Millennials", sometimes called "Generation Y", as young people born 1986 to today; other researchers, including Professor Kit Yarrow, define the group, as those born between 1978 and 2000. This consuming generation is sought-after for its size, influence, and potential buying power.

Moreover, these Millennials have their own set of values and attitudes influencing how they buy. Yarrow, Professor of Psychology and Business, Golden Gate University in San Francisco, released an interesting book, "Gen BuY: How Tweens, Teens and Twenty-Somethings are Revolutionizing Retail".

To provide the data for this book, Yarrow conducted extensive research. Reporter Adam Sutton, writing for "Marketing Sherpa" recently distilled Yarrow's research into five insights. First, "visuals and symbolism resonate". Millennials respond to visual stimuli. In addition, they like symbolic communication, including stories, metaphors, graphs, and similes.

Second, this generation wants to feel appreciated and understood---through allowing product customization, inviting them to be part of advisory boards and ambassador programs, and conducting online surveys. Due to the pervasive nature of digital relationships, they want "meaningful interactions".

Third, "innovation attracts attention". Millennials place a high value on innovation; marketers will garner their attention with creative marketing messages. Wise marketers will use technology to stay on the leading edge and communicate to Millennial consumers that they care and are continually working to "better meet their needs".

Fourth, "Gen Y wants faster processes". Their involvement in technology leads them to expect prompt responses---from everyone. Not surprisingly, they also have shorter attention spans that their elder generations, so website load- and response- times from customer service should be as fast as possible. Marketers will also benefit by tying their campaigns to current events that matter to this cohort.

Finally this younger generation craves "drama and emotional connections". They will respond more often to emotionally intense messages and content. By telling stories with emotional connections and adding drama to their campaigns, marketers will have a stronger response from this group.

If Yarrow is correct, by 2015, the Millennials will have more spending power than any other generation including the Baby Boomers. Wise marketers and recruiters will take these findings to heart.

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