Serving the Next Generation

Posted: 10/18/16

By Richard Rutigliano, PriMedia Inc.


Members of the “millennial” generation (born between 1980 and 2000) are expected to have a combined spending power of $1.4 trillion by the year 2020. It makes sense for companies to understand them and pursue them as customers or clients. What do we know about them that is relevant to advertising and marketing?

They are enthralled by technology. Nielsen wrote in 2014, “The millennial generation is the first to come of age with cable TV, the Internet and cell phones, so technology is essentially baked into every millennial’s DNA. In fact, when asked what makes their generation unique, millennials ranked ‘Technology Use’ first (24 percent). … Millennials have more of a positive view of how technology is affecting their lives than any other generation. More than 74 percent feel that new technology makes their lives easier. … An astounding 83 percent say that they sleep with their smartphones.”

They have high expectations for customer service. A recent study by Accenture found that Gen Y’s expectations are driven by their customer service experiences with e-commerce vendors. “Fast, simple and effortless is what consumers want. It needs to be on their terms—anytime, anywhere,” Accenture wrote. “What consumers experience in one industry sets the bar and shapes expectations for all experiences.”

They like recommendations. “Millennials don’t want to simply purchase products and services from a brand,” wrote Matt Walker, CEO of Main Path Inc. in a May Entrepreneur article entitled How Do Millennials Find Your Business? “They want to engage with that brand, narrowing the gap in the consumer/company relationship. They won’t be moved to buy a product based on a sales pitch. Millennials want to find new companies based on recommendations from friends.”

They like to pay their bills in new ways. Huffington Postlast year wrote, “A new study from PayPal and Koski Research found that millennials love paying with tech and are willing, even eager, to use new payment systems.” The study reports that more than one third of millennials consider credit cards to be “old school,” and over 70 percent said that they thought credit cards are not secure. The study went on to say 63 percent of them do not have a credit card and would find using plastic cards annoying.


Implications for Your Marketing

Here are five ideas on how to gain more traction with young adults.

  1. Upgrade online customer service. Continue to prioritize online functionality. Imagine a customer who wants to conduct their entire relationship via the smartphone, and do your best to enable them.

  2. Share informative content. Create informative articles and videos that reflect what you know as an expert, and share them widely. This will help young adults find you and appreciate you, and make it easy for them to tell friends about you.

  3. Be interactive. Encourage dialogue and feedback on your website and on review sites to create interactive, public conversations.

  4. Embrace apps. Build a company app, and make it available on iTunes and Google Play.

  5. Accept all payment types. Work with your vendors to manage payments from all of the new financial tech providers.


PriMedia offers websites, online applications and LeadPro, our exclusive lead tracking software. To learn more, please give me a call at 800-796-3342 or email me at