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Millennial men are different, ignore ‘influencers next door’ at your peril

What’s special about Millennial men? Well, according to a new report, in the US they’re more influential than the generations of men who came before them but also, importantly, they’re bigger influencers than women of their own age.

Research from Engagement Labs shows that Millennial men have emerged as key consumer influencers – a role that women have long dominated.

In fact, Millennial men are 50% more likely to be consumer influencers than Millennial women. And those aged 25-39 are increasingly recommending the products that used to be associated with women – beauty, apparel and household products – as well as the more predictable sports, cars and video games.

This comes along with such men being less hung up on traditional masculinity and more focused on grooming, shopping, and personal style.

And the firm’s data is even more intriguing if you dig down into individual product sectors because Millennial men are 69% more likely than all men to be influencers in the beauty category. They dip below the all-categories 50% figure when it comes to retail and apparel, but not by much, with this age group 47% more likely act as influencers here.

While some of the biggest scores for above-average influence sit with categories that are traditionally linked with men (like wine & spirits and travel), it’s a shock that for children’s products they’re 97% above average and for household products 71%.

Higher sales
The bottom line to all this, of course, is that it’s feeding into higher sales of all the new product categories they’re interested in. But as well as that, their readiness to recommend is leading to “more social talk – both online and offline – about the brands in these categories”.

Based on its TotalSocial “always-on” proprietary scoring system, Engagement Labs also said that 14% of all Millennial men aged 25-39 are everyday influencers, double the number of men aged 40 and older (7%).

“Our report (The Remarkable Influence of Millennial Men) highlights the growing importance of peer-to-peer influence as a key driver of sales for brands,” said Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs.

“Brand marketers are increasingly drawn to Millennials as a consumer segment, since they’re at an age when households and brand loyalties are still forming. But they’re also the nation’s largest generation, as well as the most educated, connected, and informed generation, which has established them as one of the most lucrative marketing segments.”

Keller added: “Historically, many marketers have focused on women as the consumers with the most influence in the consumer marketplace through their knowledge and brand advocacy. Our data clearly illustrates that when it comes to the Millennial generation, the pendulum has shifted toward young men.”

Conversation Catalysts

The company calls the most influential among these men ‘Conversation Catalysts’, citing their large real-world social networks and the frequency with which they give advice about dozens of leading products and services.

They have 19 on- and offline conversations a day with others about brands, including both online and face-to-face conversations, compared to just nine for the average American. Also, the people they’re speaking to rate their advice highly and it has four times as much impact as recommendations from average consumers.

Keller added that this means the race to sign up celebs, YouTube personalities and bloggers could mean that brands “often overlook the influencers next door”.

“These are the guys who we meet for a drink after work, say hello to at the local Starbucks, or the other stay-at-home dads at the playground,” he said. “In order to introduce or re-introduce products and services, brand marketers are well advised to put a priority on engaging Millennial men, given their large social influence.”

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