Millennials are older than you think

Project Management Director

Perception vs. Reality

When you hear the word “millennial,” what comes to mind? Tech savvy, self-expressive, young, confident, and empowered may be a few things. While some of these characteristics may or may not be true generalizations for this generation, one thing that millennials are not is young.

Millennials should no longer be considered teenagers or early 20-somethings. Time has passed, and they have grown up like everyone else.

Marketers have long been fascinated with the group of people born from the 1980s to the early 2000s. Figuring out how to attract (and keep) their attention, identifying the best way to communicate with them, and pinpointing how to target them has been the topic of many strategic marketing meetings over the years.

But just because you might have checked off the “my brand resonates well with millennials” box in the past, that does not mean your strategy to target this group should be set in stone. One of the biggest mistakes a marketer can make with millennials is to assume they should be speaking to them the same way they did ten years ago.

The oldest millennials are approaching 40, while the youngest are in their late 20s. Older millennials may have families, established careers, and aging parents. The younger millennials are early in their careers, are paying off student loan debt, and are possibly beginning to save for their first homes.

Your marketing to this group needs to reflect their current values and stages of life, not what they cared about when they were unemployed, recent college graduates.

Completely changing your current marketing strategy to adapt to the “grown up” millennial may seem like a large undertaking. However, small changes like adjusting your messaging for relevance can be a good first step in resonating with this group again. The right tone is key. Millennials want to feel like they are having a conversation—not like they are being spoken down to.

Messaging focused on a company’s prestige is seen as being self-centered, and sly marketing tactics are often perceived as untrustworthy and outdated. They want communication that is authentic and genuine from a brand they can trust.

Helping Clients Find the Right Tone

FARM recently executed a content strategy with one of our financial services clients, Lake Shore Savings Bank, who wanted to target millennials in a multichannel media campaign promoting a home equity line of credit.

We conducted research to gather a comprehensive understanding of what this group expects from their bank. We found that they are product- and feature-driven and place their trust in brands with superior product history. They seek digital tools to help manage their debt and want a partner that will help guide them with their big purchases.

From there, we developed a theme and product-focused creative that would be cohesive across all channels. “Ease your burden” showcased Lake Shore Savings Bank as a solutions provider and educated millennials on what a home equity line of credit is and what it can be used for.

Bottom line: The millennials we previously knew are not the same millennials that they are today. It may be time to take another look at your marketing strategy to decide if you are communicating with them effectively. Need help determining if your marketing mix is targeting the right audience? Reach out. We’d love to chat!

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Project Management Director
Amanda drives both the agency and clients to “work smarter.” Her responsibilities include resource management, work product, and efficiency of the work our staff produces. She guides and manages client work across all channels by creating project management workflows, processes, and standards that foster effective planning, collaboration, and execution. She has an amazing attention to detail and is extremely organized.

Our Take

Nobody likes to hear people squawk about marketing. So, we wrote it all down for you.

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