The definition of a millennial is “a person reaching young adulthood around the year 2000” However, according to different sources ranging from Howe and Strauss, Iconoclast, Newsweek magazine, The New York TImes and Time magazine, millennials were born anywhere from 1977 to 2000 – which surpasses those who typically fell into generation Y and who “reached adulthood around the year 2000”. (http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/millennials-millennial-generation) With range so wide, is it really worth focusing marketing towards “millennials” after all? Many have varying opinions on the topic, and for good reason.
On one hand, you’ve got a really interesting segment of the population. People born, let’s say around 1980, are your typical children of the 90’s, growing up with choker necklaces, VHS tapes, pokemon cards, hit clips, gel pens and spongebob squarepants (the originals). (http://emgn.com/entertainment/39-awesome-things-only-90s-kids-will-remember1/) These symbols of the 90’s and others cultivate a group of people who feel connected, and who tend to have similar tastes in the things they purchase and why. These key insights give us a look into what a “millennial” shopper is looking for in the products they buy, and what tactics we as marketers can use to push advertisements and awareness campaigns into their world of awareness.
On another note, millennials have a lot of similarities in their drive and passions, but have also been called lazy and unmotivated – saying that they think the world owes them something. Most millennials have a sense of confidence, given by their parents with the “you can be anything” philosophy, and often are tagged as being pretentious and even narcissistic. Saying that, marketers can use all of this information and much more to specifically target this group of people, or so people think.
Here’s the problem with marketing to “millennials”. While we have previously discussed the ages that millennials come from, a millennial can be virtually anyone, according to an article from Radix Communications. “While the millennial group is defined by their age, the digital preferences that they have become known for can be held by people of any age.” And again we face another large problem when it comes to marketing specifically to a millennial, because how specific can we get when we’ve got 35 year olds and 14 year olds? Certainly, those marching to the tunes of ACDC differ from that of One Direction and Nick Jonas. And while we’re talking about it, what do we do with the supposed generation “Z”? Some people think it’s a myth, but generation Z is said to be those born from 1995 and on. While people say that the millennials are those who have grown up with the most technology, one can easily argue that this new generation has actually experienced an advanced age of technology since the dawn of their time, from birth.
So why are we still only talking about millennials? Maybe it’s because we’re stuck in our ways, or maybe blame it on the generation. But when you’re looking at a group, don’t consider the category they’ve fallen into because of the year they were born, but rather at the things that make them who they are; family ties, income, their views of the world and the events that have affected them most in their lifetime – they may be different than just the “millennial” set of standards that we are used to.
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