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Why I Hate Millennials – A Guide for Lazy Marketers

In this blog post I am going to share why I hate Millennials – or, at least, why I hate the lazy use of the term “Millennials”. Because sometimes I like to rant.

What is a Millennial?

Let’s start by defining what a Millennial is. When demographers study the human population labels are placed on each identifiable generation.

  • There was the Greatest Generation. These people lived and fought through the Second World War.
  • Next came the Baby Boomers who represented an increase in the birth rate.
  • Generation X followed with society's values changing.
  • And the we have our Millennials, people who reached adulthood around the turn of the millennium.

Why I hate Millennials

Let me repeat, just to be clear – I don’t hate Millennials, the people. I am one, after all.

I don’t even hate the label.

But what I do hate is the use of the term.

I find that the majority of uses of the term ‘Millennial’ are lazy and stereotypical.

And I hate to say that marketers can be the biggest culprits.

Let me explain.

There are roughly 14 million Millennials in the UK.

That’s a lot of people. In fact, it’s around 1 in 4.

Too often these days, marketers talk about Millennials as being an audience segment. They are choosing who to market to based on one criteria – the year that they were born. (It’s gotten so bad that I now walk out of any conference session where the presenter uses the term ‘Millennial’ to define their audience.)

14 million people who have the same product needs, the same media consumption, the same disposable income.

Does this sound right to you?

Or does it sound like they are bundling a group of people (born up-to 20 years apart) together on the sole characteristic of the rough period of time they were born in?

In 15 years of working in marketing, I have never heard people talk about marketing to Baby Boomers on Generation X; they go into more specific detail about their audiences. So what is different about Millennials?

Let’s pick another group of people: those with blonde hair. 1 in 7 people in the UK have blonde hair, which is about 8.5million people – much lower than the number of Millennials in the UK.

If I was to suggest we put all blonde-haired people into one audience segment, regardless of age, location, gender, disposable income or media consumption, I don’t think anyone would listen to me.

But, just like with Millennials, this blonde-haired grouping all share just one characteristic: their hair colour.

So why is it acceptable to use Millennials, but not blonde-hair?

To me it’s not.

To me it’s marketing at its laziest.

Neal Brown
 

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