Not All Millennials Are Created Equal – We Can Prove It

Today’s blog is inspired by the breaking news notification we received from AdWeek during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (Cannes for short).

Cannes is an event designed to recognize awesome advertising and marketing accomplishments from creatives worldwide. AdWeek is a publication that mainly covers the stories behind exceptionally creative advertising and shares marketing insights. As you can imagine, AdWeek is always extremely involved in covering Cannes.

We, an office of millennials ranging from 20-somethings to 30-somethings, had been following AdWeek’s coverage closely and discussing the Cannes awards as they were reported. Everyone had varying opinions, but the real insights came when AdWeek delivered its breaking news on Snapchat’s latest awards.

not all millennials are created equal

When Snapchat’s new Spectacles won three gold medals at Cannes in Design and Product Design, we got the notifications and opened the email at once. And while the 30-somethings rolled their eyes and remarked “As if Snapchat wasn’t already annoying and confusing enough” the 20-somethings simultaneously squealed and dramatically discussed the terrible things they would do to get their hands on their own coveted pair of Spectacles.

You see what we mean? Not all millennials are created equal, and our office’s reaction does a good job of showing it. While we’re all considered part of the “millennial” generation, our age gaps constantly reveal differences in behavior patterns that every advertiser should be aware of.

Millennials are typically lumped together as liberal, entitled, educated, addicted to smartphones, etc. But stereotyping like this is dangerous.

What if a marketer had been trying to reach the office’s 30-somethings through Snapchat after assuming all millennials are active on the platform? They would have instead caught the eye of 20-somethings who might not relate to the message or be interested in the product!

And don’t just take our little office experiment’s word for it. There are plenty of studies that show not all millennials are created equal.

Next time you try to generalize your buyer personas by giving them a generational cohort like “baby boomer” or “millennial,” make sure you separate the age group from the behavior. Instead of assuming a 31-year-old will be active on a certain platform, do your research and confirm exactly where early-30’s millennials are spending their time.

not all millennials are created equal

Remember, all good target audiences are based on research. Grouping “millennials” together can make a weak foundation for your business strategy. More often than not, your target audience won’t be based solely on demographics, but on psychographics as well.

Psychographics are the “intangible” aspects of your target audience. What do they like to do? Where do they shop? What television shows do they like to watch? While demographics like age and location are concrete and can be easily classified, psychographics require more in-depth research and a broader understanding of your target audience.

Once you have solid, trustworthy research, you can easily define your target audience based on what you know. “Millennials” isn’t nearly as strong an audience for your outdoor adventure company as “18-24 year-old, budget-conscious students interested in spending their break from school out of doors.”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to google the Snapchat Spectacles online and wish I had a pair for the sixth time today…

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