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Marketing: 3 Pervasive Myths About Millennials

Millennials are not like their parents, and aren't likely to be; marketers must adapt their message

Social Media Millennial Mind 2Composed of a staggering 76.6 million individuals, millennials (generally referring to those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s) have quickly risen to become today’s largest generation in the US, surpassing even baby boomers.

This rapid growth has made marketers stop and question their strategies for this lucrative segment.

The fact is that most brands are missing the mark, at a time when organizations can’t afford to alienate this generation. Of all the half-truths masquerading as marketing wisdom, three in particular stand out.

  1. Wait for millennials to “grow up”: Marketers have long assumed that millennials’ inward-facing values were a sign of adolescence and that, in time, they would fall into more traditional patterns of consumption.

    This is not a phase that they will simply outgrow. Successful brands are not projecting traditional identities onto their millennial consumers, but rather positioning their products or services to fit into their evolving lifestyles.

  2. Downplay the complex economic landscape: 76% of millennials worry about a lack of work, at a time when a college degree has never cost more or opened fewer doors.

    The reality is that millennials continue to fare worse in the recession’s wake than any other segment. Amazingly, millennials remain largely upbeat:  80% of this optimistic generation feels that their standard of living is improving. Instead of discounting their harsh economic reality, brands need to empathize with their plight and applaud their resilience.

  3. Impress with “shock and awe”: Brands continue to invest in flashy marketing campaigns hoping that this approach will attract the attention of this younger set, but it’s not working.

    Millennials have an innate ability to filter out marketing hype. When companies focus on addressing real consumer needs, they’ll find it easier transform these media-savvy skeptics into powerful advocates. Hype hits home when it comes from the consumers, not from the brand.

These myths may well give you a glimpse into the complex nature of the millennial mind, and the diverse approach marketers must take to capture this segment. CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights’ latest eBook, “The Marketer’s Handbook” will help companies and agencies navigate this complex landscape.

Please also share our latest infographic which highlights the rapid rise of the millennial generation and its shifting dynamics.

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