November 13, 2014
Posted by Curiosity
By Michelle Dickens, VP/Strategy Director
I recently attended a forum with other consumer insight professionals from various industries to talk about the hottest marketing topic du jour, Millennials. We were asked to share our stories of our experiences in connecting with this generation, but instead of tales of success, most told tales of woe.
A major American car manufacturer was gung ho to sell their latest and greatest in auto engineering, but Millennials weren’t even walking into dealerships. A global hotel group spruced up their properties and upgraded amenities like restaurants, but revenue and bookings hadn’t increased. The leading mortgage creditor in the US was set to go with financial products when Millinnials had reached the traditional age when people get their first mortgage, but no one was knocking.
Going around the room, you’d think that this generation had been abducted and taken to a planet far, far away. One joked that they should really be named the Houdini generation. Obviously they haven’t disappeared, so why were they not buying the way like those before them?
The news of late reflects this reality, so the quest is on to figure out how to connect with this elusive generation. 78 million strong, this is the largest generation ever in the US, surpassing the once behemoth Baby Boomer cohort. Segmentation, a tool that has been used for decades to help marketers pinpoint target audiences, hasn’t provide any real insight. A recent segmentation study featured in Adweek attempted to break them down into twelve subgroups. Twelve! This has been a tough cohort to segment not only due to their diverse demography, experiences and attitudes, but also their values.