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Blog by Diane Martin, Rhea+Kaiser

There are an abundance of stories and studies about the marketing power, or upcoming marketing power, of Millennials.

Let's start with a few basic statistics on Millennials:
Born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials are the largest section of the U.S. population at more than 80 million. Baby Boomers are second.

Millennials control $600 billion in consumer spending, which will likely rise to $1.4 trillion by 2020, and would represent 30 percent of projected retail sales.

Now here are a few items that you may not be aware of:
Millennials are the first generation to have lived entirely in the digital age. They utilize technology every day.

They are not just social media adopters...they are social media discoverers.

Millennials value community, family and creativity above other needs.

By 2025, Millennials with comprise 75 percent of the U.S. workforce

So how is this relevant to agriculture? It's true they don't have a lot of spending power on the farm... yet.

But that will change substantially over the next 10 years. And their tendencies in marketing are starting to mirror those of their parents, the Baby Boomers... who by the time Millennials reach their mid-40s, will be the senior advisors on the farm and more in step with how the Millennials want to manage the operation.

Several ag studies show that Millennials have uniquely positioned themselves to help the ag industry deal with difficult issues, such as technology advances, safety in food production, aging workforce and economic considerations. They will be a critical audience very soon, and agriculture marketers need to adjust now.

So what do Millennials want from marketers?
According to research by Accenture Research Groups, as well as a few other studies, Millennials want brands to court them, with personalized communications. Email is the preferred communications method, not messaging.

Millennials are on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) while they work, shop and research on-line. They want brand to be a part of their social conversations, without taking them over. Brands need to create positive buzz without interrupting.

Millennials are the quickest to adopt new social platforms and also lead other generations in discovering new platforms. So brands need to be nimble because platforms, especially social, can change quickly.

Millennials interact differently with brands than other age groups. For instance, their peers have more influence in purchasing than other age groups.

Marketers in the agriculture segment can't continue to use the same "tried and true" strategies and tactics and successfully reach this audience. As the Millennial generation advances toward 2025 and gain spending power on the farm, agriculture marketers need to start adjusting their marketing plans to meet Millennials desires and tendencies, or they will fall behind. So start now, but start small and learn along the way. Allow your brand the time needed to gain the experience and expertise to engage the future Millennial farmer in a meaningful way.

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