MySpace - Facebook $200 billion 'Digital Millennials'

RU READY? For the Digital Millennials? Kelly Mooney, President & Chief Experience Officer, Resource Interactive, wants you to know you better be.
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor
RU READY? For the Digital Millennials? Kelly Mooney, President & Chief Experience Officer, Resource Interactive, wants you to know you better be.

Mooney presented a first look at exclusive eight week field research her firm conducted on “Decoding the Digital Millennials” at this morning’s Shop.org keynote in New York City.

Who are the digital millennials? The massive 14-24 age group component of GenY. What defines the digital millennials? They were “born at the keyboard” and are perpetually connected. How important are the digital millenials? The demographic cohort is now comparable in size to the Baby Boomers 82 million strong generation and is expected to top 100 million over time, due in part to immigration patterns.

Why must digital millennials be catered to? Mooney put forth that the impact of the digital millennial generation is exponentially greater than even their sheer numbers and brand marketers are advised to take notice:

Digital millennials see the world differently than previous generations for a long list of societal, cultural and economic reasons. This diverse, multitasking, optimistic group is engaging our brands now. The economic opportunity is enormous if your brand reaches out to this group and allows them to engage in their social network within the customer journey.

What is the exponential dollar power of the digital millennials? $200 billion in annual direct spending power, 15%-17% spent online, and “co-purchasing” influence on the buying decisions of America’s households.

How much do the digital millennials influence household purchases?

81% of clothing and apparel purchases
77% of groceries purchases
76% of movie, video, DVD purchases
69% of video games and systems purchases
68% of computer purchases
66% of cellphone and computer software purchases…

The habits and mindsets of the digital millennials were tracked and probed over an eight week multi-faceted on-terrain study that included personal interviews, video diaries, Web site eye tracking…

Mooney juxtaposed the psycho graphics of the digital millennials versus previous generations in a creative fashion:

60’s: Sex, drugs and rock & roll
80’s: Aids, crack, punk and rap
00’s Dribble, pass, shoot and score (collaboration, teams)

As their name suggests, the digital millennials are focused on a digital and tech-rich lifestyle:

10 hours online weekly
30 minutes on mobile phone daily
6-10 text messages per day…

The digital millennials are always-on and always consuming, simultaneously: 20 hours of media consumption daily, over only seven hours of clock time!

The 14-24 age group has grown up knowing a world that has been “always electronically connected, portable and customizable.” The technology immersion of the digital millennials is what is visible from the outside. On the inside, the digital millennials are breeding a new social order by using technology for “sharing, creating and validating via peer networks,” or social networking.

For the digital millennials, social networking includes sharing brand preferences and validating consumer purchases. According to Mooney:

To the digital millennial, the social network is defining and a fundamental part of the purchase process. They rarely make a purchase without peer approval.

What are the implications for brand marketers? Mooney posits:

The results of these phenomenon demands a redefinition of the customer journey. Formerly depicted as a traditional funnel, this journey now more closely resembles a fish visually. The funnel to fish illustration indicates that retailers must more narrowly target the consumer, support the engagement of the social network, and them amplify after purchase to re-engage them with the brand.

Mooney encapsulated her recommendations in a five-prong strategy for optimizing relationships with the digital millennials:

Keep it real,
Hear me out.
Be original or don’t be,
My way...now,
Entertain me!

Tall digital order, but promises of just digital rewards.

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