Traditionally, marketers were clear about certain patterns of behavior that they had to follow in order to connect with key audiences. The messages could not be launched to the great masses but had to be aimed at a typical public. It was one of the first lessons learned when doing marketing and advertising.
These type audiences used to be closely connected to the gender and age of the consumers, because with this, different stages of life could be outlined. However, things have changed a lot since then. Society has evolved and consumers have evolved with it.
Thinking that you can understand what consumers are like and what they want just because of their age no longer makes much sense. In fact, market analysts have been pointing out for years that marketing should be age-agnostic . That is to say, it should not take into account the age of the consumers, because the vital milestones linked to certain age ranges have ceased to be a kind of element engraved in stone as they were long ago. Younger consumers follow, for pleasure or because the context forces them to, a different chronology, but older consumers have also changed.
This is demonstrated by the fact that the stereotype of the retiree is criticized over and over again. Seniors are not what marketers assume they have always been. Starting from the usual data is a mistake : marketers should work with much broader criteria and linked to interests or attitudes. It may be more effective to reach ‘Lego fans’ or ‘people who have cats’ than to ‘female, urban, 25 to 25 years’.
The new niche
The always-on-the-go millennials are, as one analyst at Warc points out, the perfect example of this. Treating all millennials as watertight behavior, as consumers who all behave the same, is a massive mistake, warns the analyst. In terms of marketing and consumer interests, not all millennials are the same or at the same stage in their life.
Do not forget that millennials are now people born in a 16-year-old range, with different ages. As much as they have a similar culture and similar life experiences, they are a diverse group to approach with varied messages. And, to top it all off, a British study has just shown that there are no strong connections marked by generation among consumers.
What unites the worldview and creates links is having similar habits or similar attitudes. You will feel more connected to someone who collects the same as you than to someone who simply falls into the same age range. Therefore, when it comes to outlining how to connect with the audience and how to influence their consumption patterns, it becomes much more key to bet on groups with similar interests and habits than to do so in terms of age.
Age has ceased to matter, because it defines less and less what we do with our life and in what phase of it we find ourselves. Millennials follow the best example. It may be that at 35 years of age it is expected before being already in a settled phase of adulthood. It is possible, however, that this is not the case. The products that will interest you will therefore be others.