Millennials. They seem to be what everyone is discussing these days, and it probably has a lot to do with them outnumbering every other generation and completely influencing everything in their takeover. The hardest thing for marketers – or anyone else, for that matter – to pin down is what makes millennials tick.
Having grown up firmly entrenched in the internet of things and social media, millennials are definitely a different breed. They prefer to connect and experience; a study by the Harris Group found that consumer spending on live experiences and events (compared to total U.S. consumer spending) increased 70%, no doubt helped along by the 72% of millennials who prefer not to buy material possessions.
Why? Because your passions and purpose are defined by your experiences. They help you relate to others, give you a sense of gratitude that lasts a lot longer than a new TV, and are good for sparking conversations on Facebook and Instagram. No more FOMO (fear of missing out) and you might even get a like or two. Win-win!
Speaking of fear, the number one item on the top-ten list of scary stuff millennials avoid like the plague is DEBT. Or rather, more debt – they’re already underemployed with student loans hanging over their heads.
So it’s no wonder they get so excited about experiences, and perhaps no surprise they’ve turned to tiny houses to make room for more experiences. During the Great Recession, many millennials watched their parents struggle to keep jobs and pay mortgages, vowing to do things differently when it was their turn.
Tiny houses provide a living arrangement that offers more free time to pursue their passions while leaving a smaller environmental footprint and low to no mortgages. Honestly, what are the odds you’ll want to stay in on a Saturday night if your house is maybe 400 square feet? (That’s some potent motivation for living!)
Experiencing life to the fullest. Cutting down on clutter. Lending a hand to save our environment. Those are just a few of the ways millennials are trying to do their part to improve our world.
Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to understand them because they do things their way (didn’t Frank Sinatra sing something about this?) and the generation gap can make it difficult. But if you focus on connecting with them about something as small as a memory from your past they can relate to, well, things tend to open up and ideas can be exchanged. It’s worth a shot, at least.