Why you might have been targeting Millennials wrong all along

Millennials have long been considered the most influential generation by marketers, the arbiters of all things innovative, cool and current. However, our current industry’s perception of Millennials doesn’t really seem to match the reality, said a recent report by BBC titled "Reaching Affluent Millennials report".

The research shows that the vast majority (84%) of the 943 million Millennials worldwide are not so dissimilar in their beliefs to older generations. It is only the affluent Millennial subset (16%) who represent the unique characteristics often applied to millennials as a whole.

As a brand and marketer, perhaps it’s time to rethink your approach in targeting this audience. If you’re targeting affluent Millennials, it is good to note that the unique relationship this group of people has with money and their environment has a major impact on their relationship with brands and their expectations of them.

For example, 36% of these affluent Millennials are more likely to consider themselves much more affluent than their equivalents in older generations. They are also extremely passionate about the environment – 78% agree that they do everything they can to help the environment.

Besides that, they are also much more likely than non-affluent Millennials to follow this through into purchase behaviour – 72% would pay more for sustainable products versus 57% of non-affluent Millennials.

As a result, affluent Millennials have higher expectations of brands, with 82% preferring brands that give something back to society versus 67% of non-affluent millennials. When it comes to the environment and corporate responsibility, this high capital group expect brands to behave in the same way they do. In order to resonate with this audience, brands have to be authentic and translate words into action.

The research also uncovered that affluent Millennials are much more emotionally attached to brands, with 70% agreeing that their favourite brands play an integral role in their life versus only 51% of non-affluent millennials. 36% of these affluent Millennials are also more likely than their non-affluent counterparts to agree that they are defined by the brands they purchase.

  • Other key findings include:
  • 73% of affluent millennials prefer brands to provide them with content versus 59% non-affluent millennials
  • 67% prefer it when a brand tells them a story versus 57% non-affluent millennials
  • 74% of affluent millennials agree that news stories from other parts of the world feel more relevant to them than they used to versus 54% of non-affluent millennials
  • 77% of affluent millennials are excited that their generation will be responsible for the future versus 64% of non-affluent millennials

Alistair McEwan, senior vice president of commercial development at BBC Advertising said, “In an increasingly competitive market where consumers have greater choice regarding the brands they wish to purchase and be associated with, it is imperative that advertisers truly understand who they are targeting and how to reach them. Today’s report delves beneath the initial labels assigned to different generations, offering advertisers the most accurate picture to date of millennials, from their behaviours to their beliefs.”

BBC said this research also identified the most valuable segment within the affluent Millennial group, ‘The Supercharged’ group. They tend to have a stronger global outlook, are influential in business and are early adopters and brand ambassadors. More importantly, they are the opinion leaders of their generation.

The study was carried out between August and September 2016 and comprised of over 3,000 interviews across 31 countries. The respondents included interviews with affluent millennials across seven markets – Australia, Germany, USA, Canada, India, Singapore and South Africa.