Entitled? Maybe. Sensitive? Sure, relatively. Lazy? Okay come on. Yeah, Generation Me is a thing, but the noticeable generational gap can’t be that black-and-white. One thing is for certain though; Snapchatting, memes, and cat videos aren’t going anywhere.

Millennials have officially surpassed Baby Boomers in population to become the world’s largest generation. And with this generational shift, buying power will also be transitioning. According to PwC , Millennials currently comprise 25% of the global workforce, and will be upwards of 50% of overall workforce by 2020. As the much-maligned Millennial generation develops a real income, how does this change the marketing landscape?

Let’s talk about the definition of the millennial generation first. Generally, millennials are thought to be anyone born between 1981 and 2000. Beyond age though, the defining element of this generation largely corresponds to one thing – greatly increased connectivity. The ongoing growth in this area creates a platform for each person with an unprecedented (and constantly growing) size. Forming relationships is as easy as a button-click, and interaction has become increasingly remote. Just a generation ago, communicating with an amount of people that great seemed unfathomable.

This increased connectivity changes social dynamic and the consumer profile entirely. As these social pathways mature, young people are flooded with all sorts of ads leading to not only sensory overload, but a far-improved critical mind towards advertising. In a subtle hint of irony, what might have been thought of to be a marketer’s dream has turned into a much different reality. Heightened connectivity has made it even harder for brands to connect with young people. As a result of this, millennials look to peers when figuring out what to buy.

*cue music for influencer marketing to enter*

If you’re saying to yourself “wait a second, this isn’t a new concept!” then you’re absolutely right. Think Marilyn Monroe selling perfume, or Michael Jordan selling shoes. For a long time, these large-scale endorsement deals imposed influence over the consumer in an impactful way. These types of macro-influence campaigns still exist, however the key change is that young people communicate with each other far more than any advertising campaign can these days.

This concept of micro-influence is trending towards essential. Earned media, native advertising, and sponsored content are all examples of different ways to chop up the same idea. The common motif is generating organic buzz amongst a defined and connected market segment.

So if you’re wondering why people keep talking about the experience, brand ambassadors, and native content as key adaptations for the millennial generation, micro-influence might be a good place to start.