Ever wonder why most millennials today won’t invest in that new car or prefer to rent rather than buy? It’s not because they don’t enjoy a good ride or that they despise landownership. It’s because they see value from a different perspective. Many are focused on achieving greater financial status before jumping into that big commitment. Combine student loan payoffs and a moderate economy and you have the makings of perhaps the most frugal consumer group in recent history.

A recent Ibotta survey reveals that 60 percent of millennials like to change the products they buy each month in order to claim different cash rebates. Also 71 percent of those surveyed revealed habits of economic prudence by taking advantage of coupons and other offers. In fact, the younger breed of millennials often make purchasing decisions based on the size of the cash rebate associated with that item.

This reminds me of how the rise of the educated consumer continues to disrupt brands – so much so – that less-known brands have the opportunity to rise above some big brands. That’s great news for younger brands. Some of these brands are winning the hearts of millennials and serving as substitutes based mostly on price.

Of course, price is not the only thing millennials consider. The NFL, for instance, is beginning to lose the millennial generation. According to American City Business Journals, a survey found that 61 percent of millennials identified the NFL as a sleazy organization, 67 percent of millennials don’t trust NFL players, and 54 percent of all respondents believe that the NFL is anti-gay. So, it’s no surprise that more millennials prefer the NCAA.

It’s tough to crack the millennial code because their behavioral profile is constantly changing. They change with the wind – and that doesn’t bode well for brand loyalty. For instance, brand integrity trumps price – but millennials may still shift temporarily to another brand if price and quality meet a particular standard at the point of sale.  Also, more than any other group, millennials are particularly vigilant about buying environmentally conscious brands – even if it costs slightly more.

You can’t get around it: millennials are smarter than ever – not only because they have the highest college attainment rates of any consumer group, but they are more connected than ever with non-ending streams of influence from social media and mobile sharing.

For marketers, this is a reality that must be confronted, and it’s also an oppotunity. It means you don’t need to have a nine figure advertising budget to break through and connect. You simply have to demonstrate value, whether through strategic pricing models, consumer-friendly business models, or audience-focused marketing.

Winning them requires brands to adapt as their buying habits change. But it can’t be done through marketing alone, it can only be achieved through a thoughtful blend of branding and pricing strategies.