Millennials & Market Research Online Communities: The Perfect Match
For market researchers this distinction is important. Millennials are perceived to have a number of specific characteristics brought about by the context of the world they have grown up in
Millennials are an increasingly important demographic to market researchers. They comprise a large part of the population, have extensive buying power, and are technologically astute. This combination makes them the ideal candidates for market research online communities (MROCs). In this article we are going to explore why millennials are so important to MROCs, and how best to engage them.
What is a Millennial?
The term “millenial” has been in use since the late 1980s. First coined by William Strauss and Neil Howe, the term has become increasingly popular since the early 2000s. Similar in nature to “Generation X”, a millennial refers to an age demographic, specifically those who reached young adulthood around the year 2000.
The term has since been interpreted in a number of different ways. Some adhere to Strauss and Howe's wide definition of anyone born between 1982 and 2004. Others, such as the London Business School and the University of Southern California, argue that the term should be used for anyone born between 1980 and 1984. Regardless of varied definitions, millennials are seen across the board as an essential demographic in 21st century market research.
Just as other generational categories, such as the “baby boomers” of the 50s and 60s, who had their own experiences specific to that time, the millennial label describes more than just a date of birth. For market researchers this distinction is important. Millennials are perceived to have a number of specific characteristics brought about by the context of the world they have grown up in. These characteristics make them more or less likely to engage with market researchers in different ways, and significantly affect the way they use their buying power.
According to Howe and Strauss the 7 core traits of millennials include:
1. Self-Worth: Millennials have a tendency to believe that they are special in what they can offer the world. This has been fostered by media and previous generations disseminating this message.
2. Sheltered: Due to increased health and safety regulations and a move towards protection for children over the past few decades, millennials have lived more sheltered lives than previous generations.
3. Belief: Collectively, millennials tend to have a positive outlook and believe that they can actively take part in creating important solutions for problems around them.
4. Team Players: Millennials have been encouraged to work with others as part of a team through community projects, education, and sport clubs.
5. Low-Conflict: Millennials are less competitive with previous generations and, instead of attempting to usurp social conventions, are more likely to reaffirm their parents' values.
6. Hard Working: In the increasingly competitive education systems developed since the 1960s, millennials have grown up encouraged to study hard and achieve high grades. This has resulted in a desire to plan ahead and take advantage of any opportunities which present themselves.
7. Achievement: Lastly, millennials are defined by their desire to achieve their goals, largely being more focussed than previous generations.
But why is all this important to market researchers?
Why are Millennials important to Market Research Online Communities?
Let's talk numbers. Even when using a more constrained definition, millennials make up a huge part of the worldwide consumer base. Taking those born between 1982 and 1994, there are over 80 million millennials living today. That is a greater number than any other generation which has come before. By 2025, it is expected that they will contribute 75% of the workforce worldwide. With these vast numbers, millennials can provide important data to market research online communities about the general population and their habits, while being a critical demographic for businesses globally.
Aside from their sheer numbers, millennials have one key trait which makes them important to market researchers – their familiarity with technology. Indeed, millennials themselves are the first generation to experience the internet, smartphones, and other technologies in early adulthood. This connection with the digital world brings us neatly to why online market research and millennials are so well suited.
Millennials & Market Research Online Communities: The Perfect Match
Market research online communities provide an excellent tool for market researchers in terms of speed, insight, and cost. They are an indispensable resource for qualitative market research, providing a venue for controlled engagement with targeted demographics. Millennials offer a fantastic opportunity for market researchers as discussed above, but the benefits can be mutual.
MROCs and millennials are perfectly suited for a number of reasons. Some of which include:
• Platform familiarity: Depending on the platform being used, millennials are often already familiar with a number of social media networks eliminating the concern of sourcing tech-savvy participants.
• Tech Savvy: Millennials understand technology. They thrive on it. The fact that they are tech literate means that data errors through misreporting and misuse of polls and other data gathering approaches are less likely, making them a more reliable sample.
• Positive Traits: As we discussed earlier, millennials have a tendency to want to contribute. They also want to achieve. This makes them more likely to involve themselves in market research online communities. With an increased sense of self-worth and confidence, they want to offer solutions, and to help others do likewise. With market research often being about impression and product amendment, these traits allow millennials to contribute in a meaningful way. Furthermore, as team players, millennials enjoy being part of a community and sharing ideas.
• Digital Reliance: Because millennials have grown-up in a digital world, they are the demographic most likely to engage with market researchers through a digital platform.
We can see then that millennials are important to market researchers looking to use online communities.
But what is the best way to engage them?
How to Engage Millennials
Incorporating millennials into any market research online community can take time, but by keeping the following key points in mind, they can become an essential resource for market research insights:
1. Relevancy: Millennials are the first true digital natives. They are continually at the cutting edge of what is achievable through social media and web technology. Any community should embrace this, while avoiding outdated and redundant platforms which millennials will be unlikely to engage with.
2. Community: A market research online community should encourage group interaction. It isn't just about polls and statistics, millennials love being part of a community and look for meaningful communication. They want to discuss their thoughts on products, services, and other topics. By creating an environment where they can exchange ideas, insightful market research data can be uncovered.
3. Long Term relationships: Strict guidelines must be adhered to when incorporating children into market research. The fact that so many are this young means that millennials are likely to change their opinions over time. By engaging with millennials in a way which builds long-term relationships, market researchers can gain insight into trends and changing consumer habits.
4. Mobility: As millennials are always on the move, it is important to engage with them via their mobile devices. Millennials expect to be able to interact quickly and simply at all times. This is a huge part of deciding which platform to use, with those offering solid mobile responsiveness having a real advantage.
Millennials: The Key to Effective Market Research Online Communities
Developing and maintaining an effective online community is established on its ability to include the millennial demographic. By doing so, market researchers can gain access to powerful insights, while millennials themselves can do what they do best – contribute their ideas as a forward-thinking and solution-providing generation.