You might be amused - or dismayed - to learn that dogs played a bigger role in Millennials' decisions to buy homes than getting married or the upcoming birth of a child, according to a recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage. The survey results accentuate yet another diversion of this generation from traditional consumer attitudes, and should trigger professionals in the mortgage and real estate industries to review and update their marketing messages and delivery.
What is Inspiring Millennials to Buy a Home?
The survey, conducted in June 2017, revealed the following motivations for Millennials to buy their first homes:
- More living space: 66%
- Build equity: 36%
- Better space/ yard for dog: 33%
- Marriage: 25%
- Birth of child: 19%
More traditional wants like more living space and building equity outranked pets in the survey, but the shift in household makeup over the last 50 years explains why children and marriage are further down the list of home buying considerations for Millennials. The Pew Research Center Current Population Survey numbers show how the percentage of Millennials who are married and living in their own home has dropped in recent years:
- 1968: 56%
- 1981: 43%
- 2007: 27%
- 2012: 23%
Millennials don't behave – or buy – like previous generations. To effectively communicate with them, companies and sales professionals must understand the attitudes and diminished relevance of previously very important life milestones, because today's 18 to 36-year-olds are the largest age demographic in the nation at 87.2 million* and the largest group of home buyers ever in U.S. history.
Integrating Video into Your Marketing Efforts
To grow – or even survive – mortgage companies, loan officers and Realtors must tap into what is important to Millennials with their marketing efforts. But first, you have to connect. Email marketing has become essential, but video and social media are also deeply woven into the fabric of Millennial brand interaction and buying decisions. When it comes to spending money, they look to video:
- 1 in 2 Millennials will read an email from a company if it includes a video
- 4 in 5 Millennials find video helpful during initial research for a purchase decision
- 6 in 10 Millennials prefer to watch a video over reading a newsletter
- 2 in 3 Millennials lose interest if a video is "too promotional"
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Communicating to Millennials Through Social Media
Social media is another place Millennials congregate, explore and shop. Astute companies have online profiles, plans and a strong presence so that Millennials can check on them while they follow what is going on with their friends:
Millennial engagement with brands or companies on social media:
- Facebook: 84%
- YouTube: 76%
- Instagram: 40%
These video and social media statistics should spark a review of company and individual sales efforts. First, are you using video in your marketing – a little, a lot or at all? Do you have a method and means for delivering video to leads and other prospect groups via email marketing and social media? Do you have a way to deploy video and social media in a high-quality, compliant way that also preserves the integrity of your brand?
Once dubbed "the entitled generation," Millennials are now the coveted target of everyone selling a product or service. We have to remember that Millennials perceive, interact with, choose brands and buy differently than other generations.
It is likely that dogs will continue to influence decisions of Millennial first-time home buyers in the future: 42% of the Harris Poll respondents who have not yet purchased homes say their dog – or the desire to have one – is a key factor in their plans to buy a home in the future.
As Millennials mature, they will continue to challenge the assumptions that marketers and salespeople make about them, so industry professionals must keep up with the latest data to keep up with them. So...are you ready to shoot a video with a dog in it, blast it out in an email campaign and post it to multiple social media outlets?
Sources: SunTrust Banks, Inc., Animoto, "Gen-Buy" - Kit Yarrow, Pew Research Center Current Populations Survey