Kill the Millennial—The Term, That Is
Despite the many “think-pieces” you may have read that suppose as much, millennials are not homogenous. We don’t obsess en masse over houseplants & nostalgia (though I think it’s safe to assume that we all hate student loan debt). In fact, we’re actually rather diverse, each one of us with our own beliefs, demands, & tastes that only sometimes overlap, which, yes, is the case for, like, everyone.
But I belabor the obvious because many in my profession still don’t get it . From what I’ve seen, a lot of marketers continue to treat millennials as if we’re a monolith. They pander to our assumed interest in memes, social justice advocacy, the 90s, & …”chillin,” I guess, hoping that with the right emoji, we’ll flock to their brand.
The reality is: many millennials are too smart to fall for such ploys. A lot care less about your brand per se & more about its design, for instance, or its story; really, they care about your brand’s personality. And some personalities aren’t for everyone.
If marketers want to reach millennials, they should drop the term “millennial” altogether. (If we’re being consistent, the same goes for “Baby Boomers” & “Gen Xers.”) Its meaning is vague, its scope – too inclusive. It’s an unacceptable answer to the question of who your target audience is—that is, the people who, when they come across your brand, might “like” its personality.
Recent college graduates probably don’t care about the same things as 30-something parents do, yet members of both groups are technically “millennials”; avid Game of Thrones fans aren’t necessarily going to get along with enthusiastic gym goers even if 1) they all happened to be “millennials” & 2) they all agreed that Tyrion is hands down the best character.
To summarize: Not all millennials are the same. Repeat that to yourself. Make it your mantra. Write it down & put it somewhere prominent. Tattoo it on your forehead. Spray paint it on your garage. Name your dog after it. I don’t care how you need to go about committing it to memory. Just don’t forget to remember it. (#notallmillennials)
So, the next time you feel like generalizing about 75 million people, stop yourself & instead, try to get more specific with whom you want to target. Are they career-oriented women in their early 30s who don’t know how to cook? Or are they amateaur yogis & earnest environmentalists who frequent Whole Foods? You need to be explicit if you want to craft a creative campaign that appeals to whom you want it to. If you try catering to everyone, you’ll end up interesting no one. But if you put in the work to tailor your messaging, then you may very well reach your next customer, millennial or not.
Thanks So Much,
Krissi Madison | Director of Likes