The dreaded millennial bug

Ryan Wallman
May 24, 2016

I’ve barely been able to sleep lately, as my mind has been consumed by the burning question: “do millennials support capitalism?”

But then, mercifully, I stumbled across this.

Millennials

No doubt you fell off your chair reading that, because this is a truly staggering statistic. Stop the presses: it appears that quite a lot of young people take a rebellious stance against mainstream culture.

(That’s assuming they live in the West, of course – but I think it’s a pretty safe assumption. I have a sneaking suspicion that this poll didn’t include a huge number of North Korean millennials.)

Now, any sensible person would look into this research no further. After all, the mere mention of ‘millennials’ is Mark Ritson’s first sign of a marketing moron.

But, like a moth to a flame, I ventured forth.

And there I discovered further mind-blowing revelations, such as: “Millennials care deeply about their futures”. Well, snuggle me sideways. People care about what will happen to them? Who knew?

So perhaps you’re thinking that this constitutes the Silliest Research Ever Undertaken?

Think again.

Marketing

This was another serendipitous find, because that very day I had been wondering when someone would FINALLY make an infographic about millennials’ propensity to geekiness. 

So now you’re probably thinking: “next they’ll be researching what millennials eat for breakfast”. Nope, sorry, they’ve already done that.

At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, this is all madness. Sheer insanity. (Not to mention inanity.)

It’s already been said by many wise people, but bears repeating, that the very concept of ‘millennials’ is ridiculous. To lump together a huge number of people on the basis of when they were born is just stupid. 

And it doesn’t end with millennials, either. This kind of thinking is also evident in the current obsession with buyer personas and the like. For marketers, such characterisations of target audiences are both lazy and dangerous – a point made clear by Byron Sharp and Jenni Romaniuk in How Brands Grow Part 2.

And yet that’s exactly what many marketers seem to be doing.

It almost seems pathological.

Marketing communications

 

By Ryan WallmanHead of Copy at Wellmark.

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