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Millennials are people too

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Smart funny video by Adam Conover on the marketing obsession of millennials as a form of segmentation.

Show this to as many marketers as you can.

Having been involved in youth marketing and even spoken at conferences about it, many of the challenges and insights that ‘millennials’ as a cohort face aren’t unique insights per se.

You hear the same things over-and-over again. Being young presents its own set of challenges, these are tweaked accelerated by environmental conditions such as economy and housing. You feel the injustices of the world, adulting is hard. Responsibilities have a weight to them. Education has a cost.

Getting your first home is hard. Finding the right partner is stressful. Since the baby boomers the concept of youth has become elongated. The whole of society hasn’t been drafted into fighting a war and benefited from the rise of the industrial society.

But that doesn’t mean that it makes much sense for marketers to talk about millennials in such a broad brush way. At least gen-X whilst been written off as slackers were realised to have various different sub-cultures or tribes.

That level of nuance seems to have disappeared in ‘our’ collective understanding of millennials and gen-Z.

While we’re on about nuance, since when do adverts aimed at baby boomers appreciate that they don’t all look like Helen Mirren or Joanna Lumley. Or that they like going to rock concerts and festivals? Or that they might run for health and leisure?

Marketers are increasingly looking at big data, but lacking granularity in terms of segmentation and factors that might influence brand relevance.

My hypothesis is that the fetishisation of millennials as a single cohort is down to a deeper seated fear of disruption ambushing the marketers. Millennials aren’t an alien invasion, but people just like we’re used to. This fetishisation will end up as a feedback loop distorting their own view of what they expect to be and how they expect to be seen.

More on millennial related topics here.