Is Marketing to Millennials the Right Approach for You?

by | Advertising, Branding, Design, Digital, Marketing

Millennials, Sha-mennials

Lately, I’ve been hearing lots of talk about Millennials from some of our clients. And I’m also seeing more and more articles on the subject being shared, tweeted and liked within my networks. And while I think research is key to understanding audiences, I really don’t see what all the Millennial fuss is about. Shocking? Give me a few minutes here, and you’ll see why I’m not impressed….

Is age really an influencing factor in purchasing decisions?

This article, “Stop Designing for Millennials,” in Harvard Business Review makes a great point that attitudes and behaviors are more important than age. For instance, they give a great example of Whole Foods designing a supermarket for Millennials as they love modern, technology-innovative and streamlined designs. But by stating that, they essentially disenfranchised other age groups who are also looking for those same attributes in a grocery store.

And this article, “Love Millennials, but not as Clients for Advisors,” from ThinkAdvisor stresses the importance of finding potential clients based on their readiness criteria. Sure it’s enticing or trendy to go after a certain age group such as Millennials, but if they aren’t profitable, is it wise to spend resources to attract them. Why worry about their age when so many other factors have more influence on their purchasing decisions? And some might argue financial planning could be a long-term relationship, but instead it looks like those who aren’t ready will switch financial advisors very often before settling on one long-term advisor. That’s an expensive gamble.

Are Millennials really all that and a bag of chips?

Then there’s the discussion I had with one of my marketing mentors who pointed out that most of the overarching labels applied to Millennials could really be applied to other generational groups when they first came to adulthood. In this Pew study on Millennials, they state Millennials are:

  • more liberal than older generations
  • less likely to be associated with a particular religion or political party
  • optimistic about the future
  • in no rush to marry

I can remember these same topics being discussed about my generation, the GenX-ers. And my mentor says his Boomer generation also got those same labels. So aren’t these just inherent traits of those coming out of academia and finding their own independence?

Granted, it’s hard to see the large numbers of millennials and their purchasing power without getting all googly-eyed. But let’s take the time to really understand your best client, your most profitable customer, from a larger vantage point than just age alone.