April 18, 2016

The Drum "Is Advertising Too Obsessed With Millennials?" - James Patterson


James Patterson

Millennials are highly sought after by marketers and brands. In fact, they’re in such high demand that they earn 5x spend from marketers compared to other groups. With 51 percent of consumer spending done by people over 50, are we missing the forest for the trees?


Are marketers obsessed with unraveling the enigma of the Millennial, a starkly different consumer than any we’ve seen before?Millennials trust ads more than other groups. They’re also pretty good at filtering them out. Maybe advertisers like the challenge that accompanies cracking the code.


Millennials are active technology users who tend to own devices in higher percentages than other groups. But it turns out they’re less tech savvy than many people assume: 58 percent of millennials haven’t been able to master workplace productivity tech skills. Millennials are born into a world of easy to use technology like smartphones and social media. More complicated technology presents a real world hurdle.

There’s a major difference between tech dependency and tech savviness. If you want to look at dependency, millennials actually aren’t that far ahead of Gen Xers. Things get even more surprising when you take into account the fact that baby boomers represent 25 percent of the population but 40 percent of spending on technology. They’ve quickly adopted home-based technology, making them the first tech-savvy retirees.

Baby boomers like Forbes writer Larry Magid and author Bob Hoffman are flat-out insulted by the characterisation that boomers don’t understand technology. “It was my generation that invented personal computers,” Magid writes. “Many of us used CP/M, DOS or even Unix long before Macs and PCs had graphical user interfaces.”



Advertisers are already starting to recognise the benefits of addressing audiences age-agnostically, instead honing in on audiences that share passions. It’s time to push past our obsession with millennials and focus on learning more intimately about our audiences.