Are Millennials Really that Different from Other Generations?

Where do generation ‘names’ come from?  Not the government or leading scientific studies, but the media.  Yes, the media.  And it is this same group that make a big fuss on how different the ‘millennial’ generation is from others when it comes to reaching them with advertising.

We were all 18-34 (millennial age group) at one time.  How did you ‘respond’ to media messages at that time?  Think about your media habits throughout your life.  Were you a big newspaper reader when you were 22 and fresh out of college?  Did you have 500+ TV channels to choose from and an infinite amount of social/digital outlets clamoring for your selfie and attention?  Most likely not.

Point is, we all use media differently than 10, even 20 years ago.  We have to, simply due to the available choices now available.  Thirty years ago the three broadcast networks (FOX was just an infant) and maybe 10 cable networks…now we have so many we can’t count.  Media usage changes as we age, as our responsibilities and life events happen.  There are some of you who are shaking your head saying, ‘that will never happen to me’.  Come talk to me in 10 years when you live in suburbia, drive a “family car” and have 2 kids.

It’s the same when you consider the generation age groups.  How many 18-year-olds act like 34-year-olds in interests, hobbies, lifestyle and work?  Same for 35-year-olds and 55-year-olds (definition of Generation X).  We all have our own likes, dislikes and ‘go to’ places for advertising and media consumption.  That’s why it is important when thinking about advertising plans and options, to consider the OVERALL MIX and not just the age group.

How should we look at our audiences?

When establishing a marketing plan, you need to understand your whole audience. Where does your target customer live, work and play?  Are they college age or white-collar professionals.  A media mix is always recommended, allowing your business to reach multiple audiences through a variety of media based on your budget.  By having a mixed media plan you will reach over the majority of your target audience, and most likely in a fashion they are more likely to engage with. To quote one of my (generation) favorites, Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”


Read an earlier blog How to Reach Millennials? Find out where they are and what they like to do.

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