What Is A Millennial?

There is not one simple definition so there is not one simple strategy to reach them, and connect. 

The 37-year-old Millennial is … everything you’d expect from a millennial, and in some cases more.

We have been evaluating millennial consumers for five years. Each year, we ask about values: how they view themselves, how they connect with brands, and what emotions their favorite brand evoked in the last 30 days. When we started, the group was 13-33. We now have a group that is 17-37. (We define millennials as a 20-year generation, born in 1980.)

Most marketers have pre-conceived notions of younger millennials as being obsessed with themselves. But what’s up with the older group?

What drives them? Hello, they’re three years under 40.

This year, we decided to parse the data by 17-27 and 28-37 to see how they feel and what their habits and responses were by decade.



The interesting thing is that in many instances, they are more connected, more involved and more socially conscious that younger millennials. A few observations …

Each year, we provide 36 attributes and ask our 1,000 respondent panels how they would best describe themselves. 

Many of these attributes remain constant but we can see consistency for younger and older millennials on: 

  • love my gadgets 55/54%
  • positive attitude 51/50%
  • self directed 59/56%
  • always on mobile 37/37%

One slight variation:

  • free spirited 63/44%

It’s still a top five attribute – and the only chink in the armor on their personal description. They’re just a little less free spirited. 

Moving on to time spent a day, reading, looking at social media

  • 58/63%

Time spent creating or posting content:

 ½-2 hours a day

  • 59/61%

So now we’re seeing a greater compulsion to use their phone to create content, check email, look for information. Which is exactly what marketers need.

Even more so, we need consumers to share content they like. And we won’t be disappointed with the “older millennial.”

When we presented this statement:

I am willing to share/report brand content that I like, older millennials held their ground:

  • Agree 48/53   
  • Strongly Agree 25/23

The good news is that with most of the data in our survey, we can find older millennials defining themselves as brand champions.

Creating loyal consumers is our mission and we’re seeing it come to life in many ways with this cohort.

3 comments about "What Is A Millennial?".
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  1. Graham Phillips from LIDA NY, October 17, 2017 at 1:56 p.m.

    Millennials Don't Exist

  2. Thom Kennon from Free Radicals, October 17, 2017 at 2:02 p.m.

    Astonished to still find marketeers talking - as though seriously - about "milllennials". No actual planner worth their perilously fragile gig econony blended hourly would ever write this word in a brief. If they did, their thinking would be tossed back in their face by any savvily embattled creative director worth their Citibike annual fee.

    For anyone who has been paying attention to how we get and keep customers via branded communications lately, our audience targeting definitions have almost zero to do with age, rather they include a mix of attitudinal, psychographic and behavioral/contextual keys.

    I only complain infrequently anymore, but, well damnit, it's a shame that up-and-coming marketeers read this shit and believe it's real and actionable.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 17, 2017 at 3:24 p.m.

    You think that believing  "millennials" are a cohesive demo entity is silly---as it is---I once had a client who, unable to handle all of the many nuances involved decided on a compromise target---persons aged 2 plus. When asked to defend this by a rejected media seller whose audience skewed mainly towards upsacale adults ---the client's real prime target---the answer given was "well 2 plus includes your audience too--doesn't it?" I cringed in disbelief---but remained silent. After all, I was then an agency guy and this was my client speaking. Ugh!

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