Millennial Customers: A Generation Divided
July 14, 2015Jaclyn Jakucki
If you had to guess, what would you say a ‘Yuccie’, a ‘Henry’ and a ‘Slashie’ all have in common? I’ll give you a hint: it rhymes with Centennial. Bingo! They are all Millennials. The three somewhat obscure names listed above are only a fraction of the terms used to classify types of Millennial consumers. These names, along with many others, have been identified by various companies, bloggers and writers as sub-groups of the broader Millennial generation that we all know and love.
The three somewhat obscure names listed above are only a fraction of the terms used to classify types of Millennial consumers. These names, along with many others, have been identified by various companies, bloggers and writers as sub-groups of the broader Millennial generation that we all know and love.
Why so many?
I don’t recall this many different sub-groups for my older sister’s generation (Gen X) or my parent’s generation (Boomers). It’s been stated that Millennials are the most divergent generation ever recorded. Some even claim Millennials have less in common with each other than any generation before them.
As a Millennial myself, I believe these statements to be true. For example, while most view Millennials as complete social media addicts, I’m a 32-year-old Millennial that has not visited Facebook in over a month and refuses to Snapchat. I’m what some would call an ‘Old School Millennial’– one of the many subsections of my generation.
Why so different?
While there are sure to be multiple factors, the Internet is surely a key driver. Millennials are the first generation to have grown up with the Internet and all of its endless possibilities. The wild, wild web has enabled Millennials to more easily connect with peers all over the world who share niche interests. The ability for people to create, share, and converse online has shaped our generation to be the most fragmented and diverse yet.
What does this mean for brands?
As researchers, brand strategists and marketers, an in-depth understanding of our customer is the foundation for everything we do. Knowing our true customer target helps inform business decisions that propel brands forward.
Every day, we are faced with critical business questions about the Millennial customer. For example, as researchers we want to know, “how do we better understand their attitudes and behaviors ?” As brand strategists we ask ourselves, “how do we become more relevant to them?” And, as marketers we want to understand, “how do we most effectively reach them ?”
Moving forward, we should all challenge ourselves to remember that a group of more than 70 million people is bound to have numerous sub-groups with different mindsets, behaviors and preferences. While in some circumstances it may be important to understand Millennials as a whole, in other cases it may be more beneficial to focus on one of the various archetypes divided amongst this larger group.