Among the great obsessions of marketers in the 21st century, millennials occupy a more than prominent position.They were what kept them awake, and the fact that the impact of millennials on consumer trends was so high didn’t help. In fact, the headlines of “millennials kill” became so commonplace that Buzzfeed ended up doing annual summaries in its English version of all the ‘murders’ that millennials had committed during the year. In 2018, millennials killed credit cards, mayonnaise, and the paper press.
In 2017, the jam, marriage and marketing of the automotive industry. In 2016, they killed hotels and napkins. Basically, the great challenge for companies when millennials reached adulthood and became consumers (those “young adults” who entered the labor market and invest their wages) was to assume that all the platitudes they had used to understand the “youth” they were no longer worth it.
The generational change also brought a change in lifestyles. Millennials lived longer single, bought different products, and appreciated things that weren’t exactly what the older generation looked for at the same age. At the same time, millennials became adults in the middle of the Great Recession, which completely changed everything in terms of context.
Brands had to re-learn what young people involved . Millennial and youth became a synonym, as well as using almost as a derogatory term the term that grouped the generation. You just have to see how it continues to be used every time the older generations see something that young people do and we like it, it is “millennial nonsense”.
Marketers and their companies managed, after millions of studies and analysis in between, to understand millennials. They did the work. What they are not doing now is understanding that time passes and that it also does it for those millennials who have had so much trouble understanding.
Every time a baby boomer blames a millennial for all that teenagers do and doesn’t like, they are making the same mistake. Because adolescents are no longer millennials, they are members of Generation Z, the next generational group that groups those born after 1997. They are similar in some ways to millennials, but they are not.
Middle age road
Comments from baby boomers are somewhat irritating to millennials (although the viral hit of “ok boomer” is actually from the Z’s on TikTok), but they don’t have much of an impact on what companies do. However, that the marketers themselves remain anchored in that vision of things and continue to assume that millennials are teenagers or at most twenty-somethings dedicated to the good life is a miscalculation. And a fat one.
Because millennials, no matter how much it weighs them, have been watching time go by. Although the youngest section of the generation is still in their 20s (but in the older 20s), older millennials are already close to 40, if not already above it.
They are in what is traditionally considered in statistical terms middle age. This implies many things for companies. To begin with, they must be very aware of this group of consumers when they sell products that until now were not intended for them. At the same time, however, they must also do a job of rethinking how and what they sell. Millennials ’40s are not the same as their parents’ 40s.
The coronavirus crisis has sent them back to a difficult position in economic terms and stability in life. For millennials, especially the older ones, after the terrible situation of 2008 it seemed that everything was beginning to be channeled, but the crisis generated by the pandemic has caused that earned security to falter and that it does so at a time that they feel like their last chance.
At the same time, brands must also take into account how the characteristics of the generation and their lifestyles impact how they face this new stage of their lives. Okay, they are no longer teenagers, but they are not going to mutate into lords of a previous generation overnight.