The real insights on connecting with your consumer: how generational characteristics impact marketing strategy

How did ‘Millennials’ come about? We all use this term but
little know the actual meaning behind it.
Neil Howe opened up with this insightful fact explaining
that this group will graduate in 2000- granting them the title, ‘Millennials’.
Generations last about 20 years and they have attitudes and
behaviors in common that differ from those of other generations. It’s a length
of a socially defined phase of life. This causes discontinuous gaps of
generations.
One important note:
always consider thinking about someone’s parents when describing their fit into
a generation as this also impacts their traits.
G.I generation:
Think Kennedy, Reagan, Walt Disney- they had this spirit of sacrifice. We gave
them respected, granting them the name ‘Senior Citizens’ as opposed to ‘Old
People’ used in the past.
 Silent generation: Signal a break- Think Elvis Presley, John
McCain, Colin Powell, MLK. ‘We don’t want to change the system, we want to work
within the system.’ They were not risk takers
Boomers: Clintons,
Oprah Winfrey, Springsteen- Their individualism, their sense of self
sufficiency. Women began to think of themselves as economically
self-sufficient. Their value orientation- good vs bad, true vs. false, right
vs. wrong. They like the experience of things. The ‘yuppie’ culture.
They’re suspicious of
omnishopping
. They don’t like those cameras, they don’t want their name
noted, but they do account for majority of Amazon.com shoppers. They’re not
retiring instead they’re working longer.
Gen X: Think
Obama, Michael Jordan, Kurt Cobain- today 32-52- lack of commonality- most
spread out in terms of income and wealth. ‘I get somewhere form being different
form my peers.’ Generation born into divorce rate, economic struggles, and
skepticism. Maximum individualism and risk taking. They appeal to efficiency,
incentives, and survivalism.
Omnishoppnig to them deals with competition- extreme
couponing and coupon codes- they want to get the edge on people.
Millennials:
Think Zuckerberg, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars- They came right after the divorce
rate peaked as did the abortion rate and recreational drugs ‘ this caused
society to want to give kids a new sense of structure, optimism, etc. Baby
protection home devices become popular- cities become safer- child well being
considered much higher and children are considered ‘special’. X’ers are
resentful and so take this out on Millennials which has shown to be less than
optimal.
This change can also be found in the military where a
completely new approach has been taken to train these Millennials involving a
more work along- personal approach as opposed to the previous ‘break them down
and rebuild them’ hardcore approach.
They’re more positive in all aspects of life. Risk seeking
and independence are lower. They’re looking for long term planning. They look
for gamification. They like to be connected with family and use technology to
do so.

They will face huge crises- geopolitical, economic, and this
will reshape them profoundly.  

Janel Parker, Market
Research Consultant at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing
research agency, has a background in Marketing and Psychology from Cornell
University. Her previous experience at a social media agency combined with her
knowledge from SKIM provide for a unique understanding of the relationships
between social media and marketing. She can be reached at
j.parker@skimgroup.com.