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Millennials Growing Up, Changing Attitudes

Having kids changes people, and Millennials are no exception. 

As the oldest Millennials are beginning to reproduce, their attitudes about their behaviors, media consumption and brands are changing, according to new research from Kansas City, Mo., advertising agency Barkley. Despite being the most technologically advanced generation, for instance, the importance of having the latest gadget diminishes after having kids, and utility moves to the front. 

“‘Useful’ is the new ‘cool’” for parent Millennials, Jeff Fromm, evp at the agency and co-author of Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever, tells Marketing Daily. “Brands can be cool among these Millennials by increasing their utility.”

As Millennials have children (which, rather than getting married or some other life event, is the big trigger in attitude change), their views on brands also change. Where non-parent Millennials over-index among population groups for brands such as H&M, Apple, Macy’s and Sephora, parent-Millennials over-index on brands such as Dollar General, Kohl’s, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart.

“The fact that they’re willing to trade up and trade down [the retail and brand scale] should make marketers question their product placement,” Fromm says. 

At the same time, parent-Millennials are still Millennials, and there are some markers that continue even after children come into the picture. They still rely heavily on digital communications, social networking and peer recommendations, Fromm says. 

“They’re the savviest generation we’ve seen,” he says. “They will redefine brand value against functional, emotional and participatory benefits. It really forces marketers to rethink their [tactics].”

Millennials -- parent and non-parent -- have also become used to what Fromm calls “the participation economy.” That means they’re used to having a voice in marketplace, and will reward companies that continue efforts to keep Millennials in the conversation. “You have to be willing to seek Millennial co-creation and participation and adjust very rapidly,” Fromm says.

"Father and Son" photo from Shutterstock.

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