It is no secret that marketers seem obsessed with Millennials. Is it because they play hard to get, because they inspire younger and older generations, and/or because they represent the new digital age? We have this image of young adolescents watching YouTube videos and if they are in the workforce, working on their Mac’s dressed in T-Shirts and flip-flops, demanding more flex-time and quickly changing jobs if “Start-Up B” provides them with more stock options.
Well, in this post, I am just going to debunk three simple myths about Millennials:
1. Millennials are not that young anymore! Millennials or Generation Y’ers are those born between 1980 to 2000. So we are talking of men and women who are 15 yrs old to 35 yrs old. We usually imagine Millennials as being in or recently out of college, but a lot of Millennials are getting married, having kids, and starting to look more like me than like college kids. On the other hand, people who are 15-18 yrs old behave quite differently than college graduates. So it may be a mistake to think of Millennials as a monolithic group, plus most of them are actually older than what we imagine.
2. Millennials are not that “spoiled” at work and also seek job security. Recently there have been numerous studies that show that Millennials do not jump from one job to another. Young people always changed jobs more frequently than older people but this has been true for all generations. I will point to three studies but surely there is more:
- “In all countries where we surveyed employees (except Singapore), at least 40 percent of millennials see themselves staying at their current organization for a minimum of nine years — a much longer period than the 16 months to three years that’s often reported. The same is true for more than 60 percent of millennials in Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.K., Brazil, the U.S., and Germany. Moreover, 44 percent of our millennial respondents say they would be happy to spend the rest of their career with their current organization” Millennials Play the Long Game, study by Strategy+Business.
3. Millennials are the absolute desired target for marketers, not older folks. This myth, and in fact, my entire post was inspired by Rob Gluck from High Lantern Group. Rob’s monthly posts on strategic positioning and thought leadership are a pleasure to read which is why I shamelessly plagiarize it. So here it goes:
- A milestone in marketing stupidity has been reached. According to a September report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor, a majority of consumer spending (51%) is now done by people over 50. These people are the target for 10% of marketing activity. On the other hand, marketers spend five times as much money marketing to Millennials, the moronic obsession of every marketer on the planet.
- Millennials buy only 12% of new cars, but they are featured in about 99.9% of new car ads.
Hope this helped debunk some of the myths you had of this very important generation. One thing is not a myth: today, Millennials are the largest group in the workforce so we better understand them well!