The World: Insider's View - US

Times may be tough Stateside but the phenomenon of the Millennial Male is an opportunity well worth exploring, Ron Bess says.

I realise that the US is in turbulent waters right now and that consumer confidence and spending continue to drop. But frankly, in times like these, reaching consumers in the most relevant and effective way is more important than ever.

That's why, instead of focusing on the US economy, I'd like to focus on the US "guy". Over the past few years, change has been afoot in the US and abroad when it comes to the spending habits of the average guy - more specifically, the Millennial Male (born between 1978 and 2000). How to reach this elusive male consumer has become easier than ever.

A recent study conducted by our planning team at Euro RSCG Chicago identified Millennial-Male spending power in the US as more than $172 billion. Many marketers are scratching the surface of this still fairly untapped group of guys, but none has encapsulated just how to reach this new male consumer.

Gone are the days of guys simply holding down a decent job and remembering to take a shower to attract a girlfriend. As are the days of advertising that solely uses traditional gender roles as its basis.

Instead, according to our study, Millennial Male is interested in a variety of activities, such as personal grooming, cooking and meaningful relationships. He even looks forward to actively raising a child.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not throwing up the "metrosexual" flag several years after the word has gone mainstream. I'm saying that the Millennial Male is a more sophisticated man who knows what he wants and has little patience for marketers that can't get it right.

When it comes to putting together the right marketing formula, marketers in the US must understand that multi-tasking has taken root like never before and these guys are actually engaging in and interacting with these media simultaneously.

It goes beyond blogs, YouTube or even the latest social network. In fact, our study shows that, contrary to what some believe, these guys are watching more TV than previously thought - more than ten hours a week - while engaging constantly in the interactive world.

The lines that compartmentalised personal and work time are gone. The Millennial Male wants information and immediate gratification at many times throughout the day.

So what does this mean for us in the US? It means that even though we're going through troubled times, there is still a relatively underdeveloped market out there waiting to be engaged with. Spending will be more cautious and exuberance may not flourish as in years past.

But for those of us who can get it right, the guys that are part of the estimated 75 million people who make up the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in the US ever, represent a huge opportunity.

- Ron Bess is the chief operating officer of Euro RSCG North America.