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Millennials are the biggest spending power in the US market. There are 80 million of them. They make up 25% of the American population, and they'll be spending $200 billion annually by 2017.

There have been countless studies and articles trying to figure out how marketers can connect with these "plugged-in and fickle kids," but it all boils down to one simple fact: the days of brand-driven shopping journeys are over.

The brand-consumer relationship has changed, and the customer is in the driver's seat.

Segmenting Millennials

Let's start by saying that the term "Millennial" encompasses too many different types of people to be useful as a target market segment.

You can't target Millennials. A Millennial could be a mother of two or an 18-year-old college student. They're going to buy different items and respond to different messaging.

The usefulness of the term "Millennial" is in describing the shift toward a consumer-driven shopping journey. Interestingly enough, despite older generations grumbling about the plugged-in entitled youth, everyone is shopping more like a Millennial.

Millennials shop differently.

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image of John Findlay

John Findlay is co-founder of Launchfire, a digital engagement shop that helps retail, restaurant, and CPG marketers drive engagement at every step along the path to purchase.

LinkedIn: John Findlay