Why Advertisers who target 'Millennials' are missing the mark

Arrows missing the Mark on a Millennial

“Millennial” is a buzz-word in advertising these days. You can barely open a web browser without stumbling on an article about their personality traits (narcissistic and entitled), buying power (growing fast), or workplace habits (in need of constant praise). Think piece writers are spending an awful lot of time trying to solve the rubik's cube that is the Millennial generation. Unfortunately, it might be all for naught.

Millennials are generally defined as the people born between 1981 to 2000. Like Baby Boomers and Gen X’s before them, the Millennial generation constitutes a 20 year span. But unlike previous generations, Millennials have incredible disparities between those born in the beginning, the middle, and the end of their generation- especially when it comes to how and where they consume media. Fueled by the increasingly fast pace of technological advancements and consumer boredom with media, your 30 year old millennial does not occupy the same social media space as their 26 year old sibling, who in turn, can’t fathom (or probably name) the social networking sites of the 16 year old who lives down the street.

What does this mean for advertisers? In so many words, it means that any broad Millennial focused social media strategy is destined to fail. You can’t think of (or advertise to) Millennials as a monolith. Instead, focus on creating very specific consumer buyer personas that detail age, income, prefered social media platform, gender, and habits. Millennials want to feel to feel special and unique, and your media advertising plan should reflect that.

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