The overall public image of Millennials consists of young, self-important 20-somethings with poor work ethic and a mobile device in hand at all times. Anyone who has conducted thorough research about the group knows that this is simply not true and nothing more than a misguided generalization – and that misguidedness includes describing Millennials as “young.”
Whether someone is truly young or not depends on the eye of the beholder. However, while most marketers view Generation Y as youthful, the truth is that there is a whole other segment of the group that is, in a manner of speaking, old.
There are different opinions about the exact age range of Generation Y. However, at this point in time it is widely accepted as between ages 18 and 34, and that “34” is what is often forgotten when marketing to Millennials.
Believe it or not, roughly 40 million Millennials are now parents. What this means is that brands that have grown used to appealing to Boomers and Generation Xers for the past several decades will have to start adapting to the Millennial way of thinking. As the group grows up, it would behoove industries such as utilities, food, and education to ramp up their efforts to identify with the largest generation this country has ever seen.
Digital advertising and interaction is obviously a key factor in engaging Millennials. Those brands that have not contributed time and money to their digital efforts are severely behind at this point – but for companies such as The Home Depot, Walmart, and Target, this is an opportunity to truly think outside the box, because their customers certainly will be.
A key factor that Millennials value is convenience. This is one of the reasons why Walmart remains the number one grocery retailer among Millennials, as so many products are available in a single spot for one-stop shopping. A customer can pick up a bushel of apples and an iPhone 5S both in the same visit. Brands must keep this in mind as they try to reach out to this older class of Millennials. Whether it is through a brick-and-mortar or digital experience, make everything as available and convenient as possible in order to establish interest and eventually loyalty.
The aging Millennial generation should also force industries that formerly neglected the group to start catering to their interests and needs. For example, a recent FINRA survey found that only 36% of Millennials describe themselves as financially knowledgeable. With many Millennials starting to think about concepts such as saving for their children’s college tuition, insurance, and even retirement, there is a huge opportunity for financial professionals to grab the low-hanging fruit by developing campaigns that will keep Millennials engaged and eager to learn more about the industry.
Perhaps Millennials may start out immature and narcissistic, but they are no different than the generations that preceded them. Therefore, it is safe to say they will be no different as they grow older. They will simply consume content in new ways. Brands that are used to appealing to a more seasoned crowd must keep this in mind as Millennials start lives and families of their own.