The word «Millennials» appeared in front of marketers as a new unsolvable problem and a brand-new mysterious type of audience. To make it easier, we decided that Millennials are young people born between 1981 and 2000 and assign them to some standards of behavior. But what if marketers were mistaken and a fixed date of birth doesn’t make people alike? Such misconception can lead companies to wrong targets and, as a result, cut their revenue.


Studies are revealing the truth

Now the media about marketing is overwhelmed with articles claiming that millennials are a totally different generation and they need a special approach. For some time, businesses have tried to keep to this idea and separated millennials from the rest of society as an uniq audience, according to their year of birth. However, the resent studies showed that it’s not convenient to count on demographic data and terms such «Gen Z», Millennials and others while crating consumer segmentations. Marketers should rely on the behavior patterns, audience’s attitude and life-style. So here is the proof.


Generation X, Millennials, Generation Z


The Empowered Customer Segmentation by market research group Forrester has proved, that marketers have to forget these «lazy» borders appealing to demographic data and base targeting groups according to the attitude to appearance of new products and technology development. The survey’s polled about 30000 european citizens and highlighted three main new segments based on the answers. The researchers hope, that marketers will take it into account. The strongest segment of audience is «progressive pioneers», who “lead the demand for product and experience innovation”.

According to Forrester, this type of audience build up 9% of the UK population. The next group, which is still highly engaged in innovational process, is called «savvy seekers». They also try to adopt new technologies and learn about them easily. Their number is almost two times higher –17%. And the last are «reserved resisters», who make up about 24% of UK. These are not very engaged in technology and behave rather conservative.


Modern conservatives

What’s more surprising is that «progressive pioneers» are not the same age we thought Millennials are. This segment’s average age is 34, while for «savvy seekers» it is 38. Being around 20 doesn’t necessarily means to be engaged in technology are than others. “There’s a type of behaviour and attitude that isn’t just a function of age or even a life-stage.” says Forrester analyst Anjali Lai.

Millennials Vs Generation Z
Such results proves another study carried out by brand consultancy The Gild. It’s figured out that so-called Generation Z, which it defines as those who was born in 2001 or later, are much more conservatives in some ways than the elder segments. For instance, to such controversial issues as transgender rights, same-sex marriage Gen Z’s attitude is far from tolerant. The most frequent response (more than a half) is «conservative». While 83% of millennials and 85% of Gen X are acting «very liberal». Moreover, Gen Z seems to worry more about saving money and thinking of future. The marketers relate this tendency with post-financial crash atmosphere, in which Gen Z’s have grown up.

“We need to move past the recent trend of millennial fever, where appealing to a ‘millennial audience’ has become a lazy, if convenient, shorthand” says Andrew Mulholland, managing director of the Gild.

According to the well-know marketing analyst, Mark Ritson, it’s not about being new radicals born at exact time, it’s just about being young. He claims that such segmentation contradicts with the rules to avoid mass-marketing. And when marketers do this, they actually create a big generic mess, because it’s quite easy to work with. «The only thing that will kill our obsession with millennials is the deadening certainty that we are only a few months away from a new demographic cohort called Blah-Blahs or Generation Q» ironically notes Ritson.

Time has revealed some shortcomings of this «lazy» segmentation and it’s up to marketers to work out new, more convenient prescriptions to understand its audience better. The millennial fever is moved past, and we have to move further.

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