September 29, 2014
5 Good Reasons To Ignore Millennials
I love millennials. My daughter is one. She and her friends are terrific, thoughtful people.
But I hate that the marketing industry has turned them into the cause célebre of marketing cement-headedness.
I am sick to death of hearing and reading marketing nitwits gushing about millennials.
Our industry is always on the lookout for some new jargonista bullshit we can invoke at the drop of a hat. Millennials are the latest magic. They are the mediocre marketer's obsession of the moment
The fuss about millennials is mostly
a) marketing flat-tires bloviating about their latest fetish
b) the noise of editors with millennial kids who think there's a big story there, or
c) the pathetic youth worship of older people who should know better.
Here are some facts about millennials that might attenuate your enthusiasm.
1. If you're in the automobile business and someone has convinced you to spend good money against a "millennial target" try not to soil your pants when you read this -- someone over 35 is about seven times as likely to buy a new car as a millennial.
2. If you sell luxury goods and your media target is redolent of millennials, you might like to know that millennials buy 3% of luxury goods. For every luxury product a millennial will buy, a baby boomer will buy 17.
3. If you're in the travel/hotel/hospitality business, people over 35 comprise over 70% of leisure travelers, and almost 80% of business travelers.
4. If you're selling "green" or "eco-friendly" products, millennials' much-vaunted commitment to such things seems to be a mile wide and an inch deep. Ten percent of millennials belong to an environmental organization. But once they have families this drops by 98%.
5. Like every group of young people the world has ever known, everything about these people will change when they get some money. For example baby boomers -- the generation that pioneered backpacking through Europe on $5 a day 40 years ago -- now represent the bulk of luxury travelers. By the time millennials are ready to become important factors in your category, they will have changed and so will your category.
If you think that by advertising to them now they'll remember your message in ten years, I've got news for you. They won't remember your message in 10 minutes.
Spend your advertising money where it will do you some good -- against people who are buying in your category now. If that's millennials, great. But if it's not, be careful.