SMXpert (1)

Ipsos Social Media Exchange

Defining Millennials


Millennials have become a key point of interest for market research all over the world, and for good reason. Their generation has the largest spending power in recorded history ($200 billion annually by 2017), and they have led sales across multiple industries. However, many research firms are struggling to capture the interest and insights of this generation.

In the first installment of our SMXpert Interview series, Menaka Gopinath, North American President of Ipsos SMX, sheds some light on the characteristics that make millennials so unique, and answers questions about how online communities are changing the game to engage this sought-after generation.

Q: Traditional research methodologies have often failed to capture the interest and insights of the millennial generation. Why is this?
It’s really all about how people choose to communicate in their natural setting. When we approach engaging consumers in research, no matter what their generation, we are always looking at what is going to connect with them and capture their attention. For millennials, much of their lives take place in the digital world, so it only makes sense that the best way to learn about them, their needs and desires would be via digital tools. It’s not just about keeping things short, it’s about making it meaningful, showing that there is something in it for them, they have an opportunity to make an impact, gaining their respect is critical.

MG Photo

Menaka Gopinath
North America President, Ipsos SMX

Q: With so many options to choose from, how are millennials consuming content online?
Voraciously! On average, they are spending over 18 hours on media per day, watching tons of videos, waking up to their mobile phones, using social media daily. I don’t know that they are choosing, but they are able to curate their experiences or discover via the channels they access. It is highly customized, and having the choice and selection in what they consume has become a requisite.

Q: How has social media impacted communication between millennials?
I think technology has really accelerated the cycle of culture – meaning that with greater access to information, the millennial consumer is much more empowered in their choices, and trends and interests proliferate and evolve much faster. Everything seems faster! Just personally, with millennials I know, I always get a response much quicker if I text them or message them on Facebook, versus using email.

Q: What can brands learn from this?
As I alluded to earlier, our approach to engagement is very much an exercise in empathy and understanding where their audience is coming from. Thinking more strategically about how to connect with this audience based on how they are communicating and engaging in their every day lives is very important, and these are some of the tactics I speak to in the 5 Truths that Define Millennials article.

Q: How does Ipsos SMX take what we know about millennials and leverage this for research?
I don’t want to give everything away that I speak to in the article, but linking research with tenets of social media is core to our approach. We think about the different reasons millennials are using different channels in social media, and build from those motivations to create compelling research designs. We are constantly balancing, bringing rigor together with a creative and fun approach to research.

Q: Now time for a fun question – if you had to sum up millennials in only 5 words, what would they be?
Unique, or at least trying.

Thanks for the great interview, Menaka!


Click HERE to download Menaka’s article; 5 Truths That Define Millennials or contact her to learn more: