Cause Marketing for Millennials

By Curtis Tingle, Chief Marketing Officer, Valassis
Published Monday, Aug 8, 2016

Cause Marketing for Millennials

As you know, millennials have captured the attention of marketers and the media as a generation to watch. Why? They represent one-fourth of the population and have an estimated $1.3 trillion in annual buying power including $430 billion in discretionary spend (Boston Consulting Group).

From research, studies, experts and millennials themselves, what we know about the generation born around 1982 to 1998 gives us insight into what motivates them, how and where they shop and what they buy. While they are digitally savvy, they are also savers, seeking out the best deals from print and digital (2K16 Valassis Coupon Intelligence Report). Yes, print. They are just as likely to use print as baby boomers and gen Xers – important for marketers to note.

They are influencers, sharing their opinions across social channels and with peers – another valuable insight. For 95 percent of millennials, friends are the most credible source of product information and 91 percent would consider buying a product recommended by a friend (SocialChorus).

They value corporate social responsibility with 79 percent indicating they are likely to purchase a product from a company they consider socially responsible (Cone Millennial Cause Study) – emphasizing the importance of cause marketing among this group.

All of these insights help manufacturers, retailers and brands design campaigns to appeal to millennials and not only reach them, but activate them.

Well Connected

They are the “connected generation” – one that doesn’t know life without the internet. They touch their smartphones 45 times a day (SDL). In fact, one of Valassis’ interns who happens to be a millennial shared that the hardest cultural adjustment she had to make in the workplace was putting down the phone – she had no previous awareness of how addicted she was. These digital natives are also social media savvy. According to Pew Research, over 75 percent of millennials have social media profiles. This generation is more likely to talk about a brand or company on social media and even blog about a company and its products.

Chris Ertel, managing director of Kaleidoscope, a brand consultancy firm, points out that millennials switch between digital platforms about 27 times per hour. It’s not just about getting them to your social channels, but keeping them there. Make your social channels engaging, enhancing the consumer experience much like you would across your entire marketing campaign.

Socially Conscious

This generation is not only connected, but they are also known as the “cause generation” (2015 Millennial Impact Report ). They are passionate about causes; desire to be connected and involved; contribute to the greater good; and give not only money but of their time to make an impact.

Consider this:

  • 89 percent expressed a stronger likelihood to buy from companies that supported solutions to specific social issues (Brookings).
  • Over 80 percent volunteer (Cone Millennial Cause Study). 

When they are dedicated to a cause, they look for companies and products that share their passion. Attributes important to them are authenticity; awareness of a cause; and a willingness to address issues.

Understanding millennials’ connectivity and heightened social awareness gives marketers a glimpse into this generation that is like no other. (Cause) marketing has their attention. Make it authentic. Make it relevant. Make it something millennials want to hear and they will connect the message across all of their channels throughout the course of their day.