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What Makes Millennials Tick

They're smart, savvy, and super connected. Do you have what it takes to engage them?

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Millennials comprise a huge chunk of consumers, but not everyone understands them.

At the World Innovation Forum, William Pearson, co-founder and president of Mental Floss trivia magazine, explained why they're important. 

"Millennials are an incredibly resilient generation," he said. "They are actually one that has risen to the challenge of the current economic struggles in a way that other generations haven't. And they are adapting faster than any generation before them." 

Here's what else you should know: 

Millennials are smart. This generation of goal setters is investing in its future earlier than previous generations. Think of who they look up to--Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs. You can opt to present information in a rapid way, but never dumb it down, advised Pearson. 

Millennials are distracted. They switch devices 27 times in an hour, so it's hard to get their attention. To succeed, put your content on every platform, in every medium. You want to grab their attention as they scan Twitter and wait to cross the street, Pearson said. 

Millennials are cautious. They're also nice and not rebellious, said Pearson. As a result, they think the media's biased and perceive a lot of content to be propaganda. Join the conversation in a meaningful, sincere way.

Millennials back brands they believe in. Doing so gives them a sense of ownership. It makes them feel as if they are part of your business, and therefore, they might come back. Said Pearson (emphasis ours): 

"They are much more likely to engage with a brand on social media. And so I think the mistake that a lot of companies make when they try to engage with their consumers on social media is they think it's all about driving traffic back to their other properties -- back to their website, back to purchase something. And although that is a huge part of the goal, where the large companies fail is in recognizing that if they don't make each experience meaningful, they'll lose. They'll not build that audience, they'll not build that following."

Focus on the user experience to build the trust with customers. 

Millennials like to rent, but go shopping too. Make sure your product is worth its asking price, said Pearson. 

IMAGE: jayRaz/Flickr
Last updated: Jun 13, 2013

JANA KASPERKEVIC is a graduate of Baruch College, City University of New York, where she earned a bachelors degree in Journalism and Political Science. She covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurship for Inc. Her work has appeared in The Village Voice, InvestmentNews, Business Insider, and Houston Chronicle, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.
@kasperka




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