by Erin Schroeder

As we strategize ways to reach our customers today, understanding how to target millennials should land near the top of the list.

Consider this: the oldest consumers among this generation of more than 75 million are now in their 30s, while the youngest are just entering into adulthood. And according to an article in Entrepreneur Magazine, the millennials as a whole have an estimated buying power of $1.3 trillion annually.

That’s a huge segment of our population with the ability to make a serious economic impact.

So what are some common characteristics of millennials in terms of buying habits? How can businesses facilitate new relationships with this age group and pique their interest?

Here are four things to keep in mind:

• Connectivity – Unlike the baby boomers and Gen Xers, millennials have grown up with the internet from a young age. They know their way around the web and are very active on the social scene. This group is extremely connected and internet-savvy.

• Timing – With millennials, purchases happen on their terms. They’ll buy what they need, when they need it. Plus, once they’re in buying mode, these consumers use online resources to do their homework and take the time to weed out any options that aren’t a good fit.

• Influencers – Guess who influences millennials the most? Their friends. This is who they turn to for advice and consider among the most credible sources. Word-of-mouth is undeniably a big deal with this group.

• Creativity – To many millennials, it’s about the experience. If they find something share-worthy, they’ll push it out within their social circles. Content has to be interesting and engaging, though, and this gives marketers further incentive to get creative.

Just how important is it for us to factor millennials into our ongoing marketing strategies as we move forward? Here’s an indicator. Pew Research reports that 2015 is the year millennials will outnumber baby boomers for the first time.

Representing upwards of 75 million people and more than $1 trillion in purchasing potential, it’s time we get in tune with today’s millennials.