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Lazy and entitled? Impatient and totally lost without our smartphones? Clear's very own Millennials speak out.

Forget the bean bags!

Clear Millennials Rebecca Oborne and Tom Shiner speak out against generational stereotyping. And here they reveal an interesting trend that no one is talking about – yet!

So we're all massively entitled, narcissistic and lazy... we're constantly reaching for our smart phone... we can't form deep and meaningful relationships... we've got the attention span of a gnat... we want everything right NOW... we want to make an impact on the world but not if it takes longer than three months... and we take bean bags and free food in the workplace for granted.

Who are we talking about? Millennials, of course, the generation born between 1980 and 1995. Or is it 1984 and 2000? Then again maybe it's 1982 and 2004. As you can see, there's a bit of confusion about the exact dates. Millennials are a 75 million-strong demographic segment, allegedly with immense spending power of more than $200 billion a year, and if you want to market to us, then you need to be very clever because apparently, as digital natives, we're very savvy and cynical, we do loads of research when we're buying something, and we don't trust traditional advertising. 

Millennial marketing

Google 'marketing to millennials' and you'll find a plethora of advice that characterises us as one big homogenous group of bearded, freelance hipsters. The truth, of course, is very different. There's just as much diversity within millennials as there is within any other generational group. After all, if you're a member of Generation X or a Baby Boomer, do you feel your entire generation can be marketed to as if you all share exactly the same values and needs? Of course not. And it's the same with us. We've got different needs, behaviours, desires and attitudes depending on the kind of person we are. So, please, treat us as individuals.  

Our own thoughts on the many stereotypes and assertions out there on marketing to millennials are as follows:

  • There is some truth in the assertion that we're pretty savvy consumers  we do spend a lot of time reading around before we make a major purchase. But that doesn't mean we want to know everything about a product right down to how a company treats its staff. Yes, in an ideal world but in practice, usually, no. 
  • You do need to grab our attention. It's not that we're massively impatient but life is busy and time is short. If something is interesting or fun, we'll stop, look, read. If not, we move on.
  • The characterisation of millennials as people who live in the moment, who want to have 'experiences' rather than plan for the future, does ring true for us. When you know there's absolutely no chance of buying your own place for another ten years, why not blow your salary rise on a festival ticket rather than start saving for a deposit?
  • By itself, age is not a valid differentiator. Some of us even...shock, horror...watch golf on TV with our Dad!
  • If you want us to sign up for an email newsletter, we know we're giving you valuable data and we want something back in return. And it's got to be something meaningful like vouchers, coupons, free recipes etc.

New thinking for a new millennium

With so many millennials in the work place and increasingly in influential positions in business what's our advice to anyone hoping to reach them, either directly or indirectly. Here are a few pointers: 

  • Don't sabotage your own brand by trying to look or sound cool. Stay true to your persona and what makes your product desirable
  • Don't try and speak like us by using what you think is contemporary slang. You'll always always sound ridiculous. We mean always.
  • Don't make lazy assumptions about how we think and feel – we're individuals too 
  • Just because we use emojis doesn't mean we can't or won't read anything without them

Finally, we think something interesting is happening that no one's really talking about. What we've noticed is that the gap is closing between our digital behaviour and those of older generations. Five years ago, there was a massive difference between the way we researched and purchased online and the way our parents or managers did...basically, they just didn't. Or if they did, they did it in a very small way. Today, that's no longer true. There are still differences – more mature colleagues still have a tendency to want to talk to the supplier and get to know them, but there is far more online reliance and recourse to videos on YouTube for example. The differences across the age groups are shrinking rapidly. In a few years' time, we believe that there may well be very little to differentiate how generations research and make buying decisions. We're all of us getting good at it, so beware generational stereotyping!

Millennial Rebecca Oborne was born in 1992 and is aged 25. Becca is a keen cook, works out regularly and loves to wear her festival wellies.
Millennial Tom Shiner was born in 1996 and is aged 21. Tom plays golf, is learning Spanish and likes going to live sport events when he gets the chance…

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