Boomers are truly a mixed bag. Millennials either love ’em or hate ’em. With 86 million millennials as the soon-to-be biggest buyers of luxury products and 80 million boomers who currently hold the power and the purse strings corporately and are still the biggest buyers of luxury products and services, a deeper appreciation of their ethic and biases by the millennials and the differences between the two generations is essential.
Here’s my highly qualitative survey of some fast-track, achieving millennials’ top ten lists of each.
1. Boomers tend to micro manage, even after delegating a project, lack total trust and too narrowly assign us only web-related projects.
2. They think we are tech support and, even worse, that we can change programs, platforms to work the way they think programs, platforms should work. They’re tech dinosaurs. Slow, slow, slow. Will they ever catch up? They may be early adaptors in buying new technologies. Using them fluently is another story.
3. They see the world in black and white and insist on black-and-white answers when we see the world in shades of gray if only we are given a chance to explain.
4. They live to work. We work to live. They define success by how many hours one spends in the office, how much money one makes, how many promotions one gets. What it took them to be successful and what it will take us to be successful are very different. They expect 24/7 while we insist on a more civilized balance between work and play.
5. They are too slow to adapt to new approaches, ways and styles of doing business, too old-world formal and can't relax.
6. Boomers still believe, incorrectly, that interesting content/speaker(s)/venue(s) are enough to magnetize, galvanize, build and inspire a community of like-minded millennial marketers to work more closely together. They don’t understand we’re not natural joiners or interested in networking in the same ways they were.
8. They just won't retire and are blocking us from moving up the corporate ladder.
9.They forget, when they were our age, they were in the same position as us and now are not nearly as empathetic as we would like them to be.
10. They expect us to act like them:
• being patient with corporate politics
• constantly leveraging knowledge of trends and critical issues
to win power and support of top management
• putting too much emphasis on the importance of community and
• communicating too formally
• often still preferring snail mail to digital correspondence
1. Boomers see us as tech gurus extraordinaire.
2. They care about us and want us to succeed, to learn from our mistakes even if we don't seem like we are really listening to them.
3. They appreciate that we are different from them even if they don't understand how.
4. They have an inspirational understanding of luxury, craft, value, quality. They’re still driven and highly creative.
5. Their old-school traditional values: the handshake, word is bond, trust in people they've known or people introduced to them by people they've known, their belief in high touch, warmth, the personal and true human interaction. They’re young-minded, rarely cynical and often fun to work with.
6. Their command of writing and the precisions of well-written communications, even though it's an area that is not our biggest strength.
7. Their complete trust in us but mostly when it comes to projects that relate to the web, social networking and the new media.
8. They know there is a paradigm shift of new technology and genuinely believe it will completely transform our present definitions of marketing, advertising, public relations and customer service. They are excited about the future and what millennials know and how to take advantage of what we know and integrate it into and transform traditional marketing.
9. They are interested in and learning to adapt to our ways of doing things.
10. They routinely share their experience and knowledge. They are mostly good teachers and mentors.
If you are a millennial, and have other loves, hates, please share them with us.
Next time we’ll be exploring luxury brands’ changing approaches to corporate citizenship as the disparity between the haves and the have-nots continues to widen. Thank you for your readership.