More often than not, the millennial generation has been portrayed in a less than flattering light. Commonly described as narcissists, unreliable, self absorbed and lackadaisical, this growing cohort lives under a constant microscope of criticism and speculation from the greater world. But perhaps we’ve been getting it all wrong? Currently estimated to number at least 80 million in the United States alone, millennials have become a dominant demographic force, leaving marketers wondering what’s next, and how to connect with this highly influential generation. It’s time to take a deeper look at who they really are.
Having endured the 9/11 terrorist attacks, The Great Recession and one of the worst economic landscapes in decades, millennials grasp the uncertainties of life and wealth. While one might assume that a generation that has lived through such perilous times, would walk away feeling pessimistic and discouraged, the very opposite is true. Instead, “millennials are the nation’s most dogged optimists,” stated a 2010 Pew Research report on millennials subtitled, “Confident. Connected. Open to Change.”
Millennials also have a very different outlook on lifestyle and spending. According to a recent article in the New York Times, “Even in the realm of fashion, many are indifferent to prestige brands and lavish ad campaigns, preferring to buy online or get “disposable” clothing at H & M or Zara, which boasts that its organically farmed cottons are “completely free of pesticides, chemicals and bleach.”
The millennial generation places a high value on sense of community and practicality over name brands and “keeping up with the Joneses.” Instead, there is a much greater emphasis spent focusing on the things that “truly matter” including, happiness, quality of life, health, and contributing to the greater good.
At Sivo Insights many of our own clients are millennials, and those who aren’t recognize the importance of learning more about them. As a company we also acknowledge the significance of the millennial mindset and incorporate many of the same values and beliefs into our own Sivo culture. For example, we donate 3% of all profits to Breast Cancer Research & Screening – so when clients work with us they know they have also participated in contributing to a higher cause.
With a presence exceeding that of the Baby Boomers, this young and hopeful generation will have more influence in the marketplace than ever before as they enter the prime of their adult lives. So what does this mean for marketers? It’s time to invest in your millennial audience now. Know who they are, understand what they want, and arm yourself with the insights you need to adapt with them in the future. It’s time to break the millennial stereotypes and get acquainted with Generation Nice.
~ Marilyn Weiss
President & Founding Partner