Millennials are probably the most maligned generation in history. Branded lazy, entitled, unwilling to settle down, looking for instant gratification and constant feedback. But as they get older and are taking more adult roles in life, we are seeing a different side to them. Millennials have grown up but marketing has lost interest. They have shifted their focus to Generation Z, the more interesting socially minded crusaders, leaving the Millennial generation largely untapped for brands.
In their new role as parents, Millennials have been shaped by growing up in a recession, so they have a different relationship with money. They are not possession focused, and to them money means the access to more meaningful and authentic experiences, 82% want their children to know that they don’t need possessions to make them happy. They remain idealistic, with half buying gender-neutral toys for their children. With fewer jobs when they graduated Millennials suffered from a failure to launch and now they have less interest in linear career paths, and their more entrepreneurial disposition means many are deriving income from their ‘side-hustles’, coining the terms mom-trepreneur and Mommy-blogger. As a result, more Millennials are stay-at-home parents than Gen X or Baby Boomer parents, demonstrating a contradictory mix of their high anxiety as a generation and their creative approach to life. They report that many brands’ social media posts make them feel like inadequate parents and they experience significant anxiety about other parents judging what their children eat. Brands aren’t speaking to this generation because they aren’t being authentic.
Millennials, who were once so unconcerned about possessions, who created the shared economy, are now Mums and Dads who go to the supermarket every week and have to make choices in conventional categories. They are looking for brands to be authentic and relevant, understanding their new life stage and responsibilities, but without treating them like they inherited the priorities and sensibilities of the previous inhabitants of those roles. Not many brands are appreciating the nuance.
Of course Millennials are broader than just their stage of life. If you think you know Millennials, here are three things that might change your mind;
1. Millennials are having less sex than previous generations
2. Career progression is the most important thing these previously lazy Millennials need from work
3. Millennials are very loyal to brands – when they’re treated right
For brands it’s time to start looking at Millennials before you start chasing the younger model.