They're born between 1979 and 2001—the kids of Baby Boomers and the nation's most racially and ethnically diverse generation. They have strong opinions on which brands they'll buy and for which employers they'll work. They're going to have a huge impact on business and marketing, and the world may be better for it.
A recent national study is a marketing call to action. The 2006 Cone Millennial Cause Study of 1,800 respondents between 13 and 25 indicates that the 78 million in this demographic believe that it is their responsibility to make the world a better place; an overwhelming majority (78%) believes that companies have a responsibility to join them in their efforts.
Companies that want to engage this group will find the results staggering. Some 83% percent of Millennials will trust a company more if it is socially or environmentally responsible. And 74% are more likely to pay attention to a company's message when they see that it has a deep commitment to a cause. Yet the most outstanding finding is that almost 9 out of 10 Millennials will switch from one brand to another—price and quality being equal—if the second brand is associated with a good cause.
What does this mean to companies targeting this demographic now and those that wish to capture this segment in the next decade? It means taking corporate philanthropy very seriously. (See my previous article, "Corporate Philanthropy That Fits All: How Any Business Can Do Good—and Benefit.")
"To best reach Millennials, traditional marketing must evolve," says Anastasia Toomey, vice-president of Consumer Insights, a division of AMP Agency, the youth-focused marketing agency involved in the study with Cone, Inc. "Technology has given the Millennial generation complete access to what is happening around the globe. They are attuned to natural and social world-changing events and they have the knowledge and ability to support the causes they believe in. Due to the fractured landscape of media that these kids are wading around in, brands could truly benefit from finding a shared passion with their target."
According to the 2006 Cone Millennial Cause Study, Socially and environmentally responsible businesses reap rewards from Millennials:
- 83% will trust a company more if it is socially/environmentally responsible.
- 74% are more likely to pay attention to a company's message when they see that the company has a deep commitment to a cause.
- 69% consider a company's social/environmental commitment when deciding where to shop.
- 89% are likely or very likely to switch from one brand to another (price and quality being equal) if the second brand is associated with a good cause.
- 66% will consider a company's social/environmental commitment when deciding whether to recommend its products and services.