The demographic cohort following generation X, starting with those born in the 1980s
The millennial generation’s sheer numbers, unprecedented spending power, and knack for radically influencing progressive trends and cultural shifts has made them a highly sought after target market. While millennials are currently the single largest generation to date, making up an entire quarter of the population, they’re also the most diverse generation this country has ever seen, making them far more difficult to target as a collective whole.
For example, a much smaller percentage of millennials are car owners, compared to baby boomers or generation Xers. Millennials who don’t own vehicles were the driving force behind the success of rideshare services like Uber, which saw $10.84 billion in revenue during 2015. However, millennials are also now the single largest generation of car buyers. Yes, a smaller percentage of millennials will own a car than did baby boomers, but as a generation they will buy more vehicles than their predecessors. Due to both their size and diversity, it’s unlikely that all millennials are your customers.
Because of their proclivity to influence emerging trends, attracting millennials demands a willingness to meet their emerging needs and evolving expectations, rather than just using new and more tools to market old products and ideas.
Take car insurance, as an example. Instead of adding new insurance packages to address the growing rideshare industry that includes Uber and Lyft services, major insurance companies like Geico refused to adapt to the lines millennials were blurring between commercial driving and personal driving. Instead, they’re creating the new Cola Wars and competing with ad budgets rather than relevance. Geico, which has been actively competing for millennials’ business through their social advertising efforts, made it their policy to drop any of their customers who drove for a rideshare service — since ridesharing services don’t fit within the clear cut lines between personal and commercial insurance.
If you’re looking to attract millennials, you can compete by appealing to specific segments or cohorts within the generation, or you can join the deep-pocketed fight to out-spend rather than outwit the competition.
Some businesses are getting it right. MetroMile, a new pay-per-mile car insurance designed to work seamlessly with Uber’s commercial insurance, isn’t just marketing to millennials. Instead, it’s offering a new service that dovetails with the emerging lifestyle choices of specific segments within the millennial demographic. MetroMile meets a very real need for Lyft and Uber drivers who have been unable to find a car insurance willing to blur the lines between personal and commercial driver coverage. Instead of competing with the size of their ad budget, MetroMile is competing with relevance by zeroing in on the habits of a specific cohort within the millennial demographic: the growing number of people who drive for ridesharing services to earn side income. If you’re looking to grab the attention of millennials, you’ll need to identify how your products or service could be positioned to create relevant and meaningful value for a specific segment or segments within the millennial market.