Why Marketing to “Millennials” is NOT Where You Should Be Putting Your Efforts

Contrary to popular belief, target marketing to Millennials, or any other generation for that matter, is completely obsolete in the 21st Century. The greatest flaw in this approach is context. In the 20th century it was fairly easy to categorize and market to generations as consumer behavior and preferences had slight variations but followed a fairly predictable pattern. The reason for this? An environment of relative stability.

If I ask you to describe the 21st century environment I’m willing to bet that “stable” is not on your short list of adjectives. Because we are living in an age of rapid change and unpredictability, our efforts to market to groups based on age and generalized behavior patterns is mediocre at best. Before thinking of ways to appeal to a specific generation, organizations have to define their contextual relevance by asking two key questions.

  1. What has made your industry relevant and appealing up to this point today?
  2. What social, economic, political, and environmental factors created the framework for your success?

Once you have established this, you must identify how the core traits of your industry will look in multiple future scenarios. Rather than marketing to Millennials (or any generation), look at emerging trends and potential events that have a significant impact on future landscapes, then think about how the different generations might function in those environments. By doing this you will have a far greater understanding of where your efforts should be focused, giving you and your organization a significant advantage over the competition.

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