Millennials Forge The Future (Depending on Life Stage)

According to a new study by Fizziology and Horizon Media, as the largest generation in U.S. history enters adulthood, they’re making a massive impact on our society. From pop culture to the workplace, gender roles and family life, Millennials are forging the future. With such scale and influence, Millennials are becoming a central focus for many marketers.

Spanning college-aged to career and family-building years, Millennials occupy many life stages which impact their behaviors and attitudes, says the report. Millennials are the first generation to grow up with social media, and for many, their daily activities, highs and lows, meals, purchases and media viewing habits are continuously recorded and shared with friends and followers. The combination of social, technological and economic factors shaping Millennial behaviors and attitudes is powerful and evolutionary, concludes the report.

The Millennial Segmentation study revealed two primary drivers of how Millennials are reacting to their situations:

  • How they feel about their standard of living
  • How empowered they feel to take control of their lives

Half are happy with their current lot in life, while the other half are not satisfied. However, how much Millennials believe they can change their lives breaks out differently, with 57% feeling at least somewhat empowered to do so. Crossing these drivers formed the basis for four segments within the study.

Several demographic patterns emerge within the four Millennial segments. People who felt empowered to change their lives tended to be older, better educated and more established in their careers than those who didn’t. Gender was balanced across two groups, Youthful Pursuits and Indie Dreamers, while Confident Connecteds and Creatures of Comfort exhibited slight female and male skews, respectively. Each segment demonstrates distinct behavioral patterns, attitudes and approaches to life, which carries over into brand behaviors.

From a marketing point of view, this is how the report segments Millennials:

18% are Youthful  Pursuits 

  • Image Seeking 
  • Live in the Now 
  • Embrace Youth
  • Happy with theirstandard of living, but not much chance of changing it

32% are Confident Connected

  • Knowledge Seeking 
  • Sociable 
  • Hardworking
  • Happy with their standard of living, but feel they can change when or if they want to

25% are Creatures of Comfort 

  • The Simple Life 
  • Unmotivated 
  • Easy-Going 
  • Unhappy with their standard of living, but can do little to change it

25% are Indie Dreamers 

  • Ambitious 
  • Creative 
  • Individualistic 
  • Unhappy with their standard of living, but feel that they can change it when or if they want to

Social media conversations further illustrate the differences between the segments. In social media, Confident Connecteds are defined by a positive tone, sharing with others and a focus on current events and community. Indie Dreamers are more creative, individualistic, and inwardly focused with a sardonic wit. Youthful Pursuits continually demonstrate their youthful spirits in both tone and content, while Creatures of Comfort are the ultimate digital media couch potatoes.

With Regard to Sharing Content:

   Confident Connecteds share positive and uplifting content and memes, some original

   Indie Dreamers create memes and original content

   Youthful Pursits share dramatic, negative jokes and memes

   Creatures of Comfort share other people’s memes and content

With Regard to Social Life:

   Confident Connecteds are widely active in various interests and hobbies

   Indie Dreamers go cool places with friends; share on social

   Youthful Purists talk about partying  with friends, YOLO, etc

   Creatures of Comfort are content to stay at home with friends

With Regard to Social Media

   Confident Connecteds use social to share relevant news and information

   Indie Dreamers use social to laugh-off life’s aggravations

   Youthful Pursits use social to complain and obtain self-confirmation

   Creatures of Comfort use social to talk to friends and interact with entertainment

With Regard to Outlook on Life

   Confident Connecteds have a positive and motivating outlook; ready to help and enrich others

   Indie Dreamers are optimistic, though snide; have a sense that they make a difference

   Youthful Purists are melodramatic with a pessimistic outlook on life; feel they are entitled to attention and praise

   Creatures of Comfort are content with stagnation and few ambitions; just need a couch and some screens

With Regard to Interaction with Brands

   Confident Connecteds talk most actively about brands and share promotions as a sense of pride

   Indie Dreamers share positive and negative experiences with brands; ridicule things out of style

   Youthful Pursits consider brands as status symbols and mock those considered cheap

   Creatures of Comfort will interact with commercials on social media, but complain of over-saturation of ads

The report concludes by offering strategies for connecting with the four Millennial segments that vary by category and brand. However, says the report, the most desirable social media audiences are Confident Connecteds, who are avid sharers, and Indie Dreamers, who will advocate for brands they personally believe in. Youthful Pursuits generate buzz around aspirational brands. Creatures of Comfort are creatures of habit, most drawn to what’s familiar. Several broad marketing imperatives apply to each segment:

Confident Connecteds

  • Be Additive – In their quest for enrichment, they curate brands and experiences as a way of adding value to their life. If you’re not adding, you’re subtracting from their precious time. 
  • Build Your Reputation – As careful planners and educated consumers, they spend after they’ve done extensive research. They’re also more likely to respond to CSR efforts. 
  • Key Category Opportunities: Health & Wellness, Sporting Goods, Consumer Electronics, Home Goods

Indie Dreamers

  • Be Quirky and Unique – Indie Dreamers want to stand out. They value brands that set them apart and highlight their individuality and creativity. 
  • Be Valuable to their Life Pursuit – They are always looking for the benefit in things, especially how they support their personal goals and identities. Provide them with information, connections or experiences that support their individualistic drive. 
  • Key Category Opportunities: Financial Services, Home Goods, Food & Drink, Movies 

Youthful Pursuits 

  • Start Launch Here because they spend quickly and impulsively to stay trendy.
  • They are a prime target for new product lines and extensions, especially in fashion, beauty and entertainment. Their “look what I got” mentality means word spreads fast. 
  • Stay Aspirational and On Your Toes: This segment gets bored easily. Brands must constantly evolve and redefine with them. They’re less likely to engage with brands that are considered old. 
  • Key Category Opportunities: Shopping, Fashion, Beauty, Concerts, Nightlife, Social Events 

Creatures of Comfort 

  • Be Present, but Save Your Breath: They’re reluctant to try you in the first place. They are difficult to pull into the fold, and are content in the brands they know and love and reluctant to engage outside the familiar. 
  • Don’t Look for Advocates Here: Brand names are lost to them and their social network. 
  • Key Category Opportunities: Supplemental/Adult Education, TV Entertainment Networks

For additional information from Fizziology, please visit here.



2 comments about "Millennials Forge The Future (Depending on Life Stage)".
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  1. Carol Phillips from BrandAmplitude, LLC, July 1, 2013 at 8:36 a.m.

    Bravo, this is a significant study and a major contribution to helping marketers connect with Millennials. While Millennials share some broad generational characteristics the power lies in lifestage and attitudinal segmentation. The four segments outlined here make sense and and have clear implications for marketing. Thank you Fizziology and Horizon Media for sharing.

  2. Kevin Horne from Verizon, July 1, 2013 at 8:57 p.m.

    which segment(s) do the 40% who live at home in Mom's basement un/under employed go?

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