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Marketing to “Millennials”? You’re Doing It Wrong (Part 2)

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This is the second part of the series, “Marketing to ‘Millennials’? You’re Doing It Wrong.” You can read Part 1 here.

As discussed in Part 1, the first issue I have with marketing to “Millennials” is that the term itself is not clearly defined to begin with. This imprecision causes confusion about who technically falls into the category.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines “Millennials” as people who were born between the years 1982 and 2000.

While this definition comes with a weight of authority, many marketers play hard and fast with what constitutes a millennial. For the sake of analysis, let’s run with the U.S. Census Bureau’s definition.

As of June 2015, there were 83.1 million people who fell into the “Millennials” category as defined above. And that’s just in the United States!

Problem 2: Are We Really Trying To Stereotype 83 Million People?

The number of Millennials in the U.S. totals more than the entire population of Germany.

So my question we really feel confident calling Millennials a true marketing “segment,” where we can assume that all members have similar values, behavioral traits, economic and social status, and ultimately, consumer profiles?

I’d argue: YES! Ha. Just kidding…of course that’s not reasonable!

Trying to create messages that resonate with this many people seems like a fool’s errand, IMHO. As a marketer, would you ever condone using the exact same message across an entire country of people? No. So why, then, would it makes sense to lump that many people into any marketing segment?

This leads me to my third problem with “Marketing to Millennials”...

Problem 3: How Many People Are We Alienating With Assumptions?

What’s perhaps more disconcerting than the sheer volume of people getting thrown into the “Millennials” category, is that these parameters disregard the diverse range of people who make up this group.

Next week, I’ll get into the vast differences in people who are broadly labeled “Millennials,” and what marketers can do to make sure they

  • Identify and target the right Millennial segments AND
  • Deliver meaningful messages for a non-homogenous group of consumers

Read Part 3 of the series, “Marketing to Millennials? You’re Doing It Wrong” here.

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