Biggest Misperceptions when Marketing to Millennials
December 13, 2016
Millennials. Love them or hate them, chances are your city, state or region needs them.
But first, as a millennial myself, I feel I have a responsibility to set the record straight on a few misconceptions about our generation. Before you craft your entire strategy for marketing to millennials, please take the following into consideration:
Myth: My Community Doesn’t Need Millennials:
Why should you care about millennials? We are the nation’s largest living generation at 75.4 million (we’ve officially surpassed our Baby Boomer parents!) No wonder employers suddenly want to know how we work, real estate investors want to know where we live, and big consumer brands want to know what we buy. Maybe your community doesn’t need millennials right now, but before you know it our generation will soon be the “C-suite” executives and entrepreneurs you covet so dearly.
Myth: Millennials is Another Word for “Young People”:
Too often, people throw the word “millennials” around to refer generally to “young people.” The term millennials defines people born between roughly 1980 and 2000. While some of today’s millennials may have just graduated college, in ten years they will be sending their kids to kindergarten. Millennials are a dynamic group, not static.
Myth: All Millennials Share the Same Characteristics:
“All baby boomers are allergic to technology.” Not true, right? Assigning characteristics to an entire demographic group is just shortsighted. This same tendency to generalize is probably why researchers and media alike continue to speculate broadly about millennials. The result? Contradictory claims like, millennials are “lazy and entitled,” yet they are “workaholics.”
Myth: Cool Coffee Shops and Craft Beer Will Attract Millennials:
While some millennials may enjoy a good coffee shop or cool craft beer, when it comes to what they look for in a city, first and foremost they are looking for jobs. In fact, a survey of 2,000 millennials places a thriving job market as the most important quality in a city.
Myth: Millennials Only Love Cities:
Before you believe that millennials only love cities, understand that the research is pointing us both to the fact that “Millennials Will Live in Cities Unlike Anything We’ve Ever Seen Before,” and that “Millennials Are About to Leave Cities in Droves” (note: these two articles were written only one year apart). For decades, cities have been attractive to young people. Cities typically offer plenty of entry-level jobs, rental properties and nightlife activities—all things that any recent college graduate would likely be looking for in a new location. It may be that most of what we are interpreting as preference may just be circumstance. Where millennials live now is not necessarily an indication of preferences or future trends, it literally just means—that is where they live now.
Whether or not your community needs millennials right now, the reality is you probably will need the largest generation on your side eventually. Communities should be considering how they can be the places millennials love to live not just today, but for years to come.