If you were focused on A18-49, and you hadn’t been paying attention, you may not have noticed that things are much different now. That older end of the demo, the much beloved “Boomer” generation, is aging out of your core target (they were probably why you had decided that A18-49 was your “sweet spot” to begin with). The younger end, who had previously been “Generation X” (hadn’t grown up with the internet and therefore still had traditional media habits), is now in the middle. Somewhere in the last year or so, the marketing nightmare known as the “Millennial”
has shown up squarely in your communications crosshairs… but should they be?
This isn’t yet another opinion piece on the Millennial consumer — there are far too many of those out there. What I’ve been most interested in lately is the behavior of fellow marketing professionals (and clients) who, despite all of the clear indications that the marketing world is changing, are still banging out marketing strategies, creative executions, and media plans that would have been acceptable ten years ago. (With little to no acknowledgment of today’s marketing environment.) At the same time, there are many on the other side of the argument who have zero hesitation to throw money at the latest social site or technology gizmo, putting little thought to whether it’s right for their brand.
I work with agency folks and clientes who are either not concerned or deathly afraid of the Millennial and what they are doing to our “tried and true” marketing strategies. It wasn’t until I read this article
that it finally became clear what the differentiator was (drumroll please)… it’s age.
details a research study of folks in the media industry who were posed questions about the media world and consumer habits in the next five years. The kicker was that the results were grouped by respondents who had been in the industry for more than 25 years
and those who had been in marketing for less than five years
. Here are some highlights:
Rate of Change/Degree of Change in Media:
More than 25 – many had “seen it all” and believed that little overall change was yet to occur
Less than 5 – consistently believed that we are in a state of rapid change that will progress even more rapidly in the years to come
Top Media Vehicle:
Impact of Mobile/Social Media:
More than 25 - Social media is secondary to TV and mobile is growing in importance, but not yet a primary media option
Less than 5 - Having grown up with computers and technology, they believe that mobile is the primary mode of media consumption and social media is the center of the new media landscape
So… who’s right? Personally, I’m hyper sensitive to making marketing decisions based on my own media habits. I’m one of those who has probably not watched live TV in the last several months and ALWAYS fast-forward my DVR through commercials, but I can’t build a media plan reflecting that type of behavior. I know that I am not my ”typical” target consumer.
If you are responsible for marketing decisions, you may need to take a good look at yourself and your approach. Are you stuck in the past with your thinking? Are you reviewing the communications goals of your “new” target demo and reacting accordingly? Personally, I’ve been a proponent of evolving marketing strategies with the consumer; there has indeed been change, but it’s been gradual over time. While it’s not a wholesale “TV is Dead”
scenario, it is also not realistic to believe that the marketing world will still be the same in the next five years.
Are you a “Grumpy Old Marketer”? Or are you a “Millennial Alarmist”? If so, how can you find the middle ground? I’d love to hear your thoughts.