Australia, like many other markets, is currently experiencing the rise of the ‘Millennial Generation’, the all-embracing label for those born between 1980 and 2000.

Often maligned as the “me me me” generation, the reality is many Millennials have a different view of the world, which older generations, particularly Baby Boomers, find gratingly difficult to understand.

The facts are Australia’s Millennial generation is expected to grow over the next 10 years by 17%, from 7.2 million people in 2016 to 8.3 million people, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Some 21% of the millennials in 2016 will turn 21 over the next five years, prompting a significant shift in national income towards this age group. The upshot is that with Millennials rapidly becoming a major consumer group, the time has arrived for CEOs and marketing managers to take them seriously as a valuable customer segment.

ABS Projections for Millennial Population

Why are Millennials different?

Hundreds of blogs and column inches have been devoted to isolating the differences between Millennials and other earthlings. That said, we’ve settled on a list of five characteristics we believe set Millennials apart.

  1. Technology literate. Millennials are the first generation of digital natives. In other words, from almost the day they were born, technology has been an integral part of their lives.
  1. Social media savvy. Smartphones and social media feeds have become the chief information source for Millennials, and the way they consume products and services. Recent CoreData research, for example, revealed almost 50% of Millennials would be likely to use a 100% digital home loan application, where the entire process is online. This proved a much higher percentage than Gen X, and almost double the number of Baby Boomers. For Millennials, everything starts and finishes online.
  1. Cause motivated. At work and in their personal lives, Millennials are heavily driven by the causes they support. If a product or service has an odour about it, Millennials will take to Facebook or Twitter to express their displeasure quick smart.
  1. Change adaptive. Unlike many older generations, Millennials are not afraid of change. If they feel something isn’t working for them, they’ll simply change their approach, job, opinion or buying behaviour.
  1. Value experiences. Millennials want to be challenged and are open to new experiences. For example they’re the first generation to truly value and embrace work/life balance and see it as the norm.

Marketing to Millennials?

If you’re planning on capturing the attention of the digital generation, there are three core changes you need to make:

  • Think social: Millennials listen attentively to their peers, and social media makes this easier than ever before. Businesses need to have a strong strategy about how, and where, you want Millennials to interact with your products and services. This is where some strategic market research could assist with your planning.
  • Build an experience: Millennials adapt fast to change, and revel in challenges. Your marketing should attempt to tap into this sense of adventure.
  • Be clear about your brand: Unlike generations before them, Millennials take social, ethical, political, and environmental issues seriously. They will therefore seek out brands that match their values. So, be loud and proud about the causes you support – it’s good for business.