Millennials and Cause Marketing

Telefonica, the big Madrid-based telecom, released an opinion survey this week of Millennials in 27 countries and six regions, asking them, among other questions, “do you think you can make a difference?”

What constitutes a Millennial is open for discussion, but Telefonica picked people 18-30. Gen-Y, as they are also called, is a huge generation important to both marketers and nonprofits. In the U.S. alone there may be 80 million of these Echo-Boomers (another name for them), depending on when you set the start and finish dates for the generation. That’s bigger than the Baby Boomer generation was in the United States. As the Millennials progress in their education and careers, get married, buy houses, have children, one theory holds that they could boost the world’s economy just by dint of their size, just like the Boomers did.

Some versions of the question were political, as in, “One person’s participation does make a difference in your current political system.” Globally, 45 percent agreed with that statement.

But when asked the question about who can make a difference at the local level, globally 62 percent agreed with the statement that “I believe I can make a local difference.” In Latin America and North America 82 percent agreed with that statement.

Telefonica asked Millennials about whether they thought they could make a difference on a global scale. Here the Millennials were more chary. Globally, 40 percent agreed with the statement that “I believe I can make a global difference.” Millennials in Latin America were again the most hopeful with 62 percent agreeing with the statement.

So what does this all mean?

H.L. Mencken the acid-penned satirist and social critic once wrote that, “no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” With regard to Millennials I’d turn that around and say, “no marketer ever went broke making young people feel empowered.” Telefonica’s survey suggests that Millennials do want to make a difference and they feel like they can do that best at the local level.

If your target market includes Millennials, you should play to that.

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