Millennials are playing an ever increasing role in the marketing landscape. Like it or not, it’s reality and we must understand them. Why do we need to understand them? “They are just lazy, entitled, brats!”, a friend of mine once told me. Umm, hello. They are our future target audience; they are our future (insert Whitney Houston singing “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way…”) so we must learn to reach them effectively.
Perceptions about this “entitled” generation abound. We hear about it all the time, so I’m not going to bore you with information you’ve already heard. However, There are always exceptions to this stereotype and somehow I see these Millennial exceptions, with their free-thinking, creative, innovative minds not even thought of as being within the same Millennial group that is deemed so entitled and negative. Am I wrong?
Then, there are those Millennials that you think certainly fit the stereotype. Are they misunderstood? Is it poor parenting? Is it the world evolving and changing into something that us “older folks” just don’t understand? I have so many questions.
As a Gen-X member, parent of a Millennial and professional marketer, I’ve often sought the advice, viewpoint and education from my in-house “entitled” and highly opinionated Millennial, Chance. “So, what is this Snap Chat thingy? How does it work? Show me the ways, oh young one.” This exchange was of course followed with an “Ugh”, an eye-roll and then laughter. Thankfully, he’s a great teacher of all things trending in the Millennial world and I’ve learned how fun those face-changing things really are. If you haven’t tried it yet, grab one of those “bratty” Millennials and have them teach you. I spent an afternoon with a group of 65-95 year olds showing them, and let me tell you, it was absolutely amazing to see how much fun they had, sticking their tongues out, seeing themselves as puppies. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks! ;-)
One thing is for certain, my Millennial has always been straight forward, blunt and someone that is cut from a different cloth type. So when preparing for this article, I realized I had a perfect brain to pick right here at home, my 19-year old-son, Chance. I want to understand. We all should understand, if we want to market this audience correctly. Now, please understand, this isn’t some survey including hundreds of Millennials, in a controlled case study. This is one Millennial voice. One viewpoint and opinion.
For some reason, I was amazed at his answers, how in touch he was and how much he knows about stuff I’d never even heard of. It was very insightful and there were certainly some great takeaways from my interview:
- Millennials want to be seen as unique individuals.
- They want to be marketed to on a personal, individual level.
- Your business better be found in Google, or you're dead in the water.
- YouTube is huge and beyond popular.
- Be real. Be Authentic.