An article on AdAge caught my eye last week: the words on the page, ‘RIP Millennials’, jumped out at me. Really? After a whole year of talking about ‘Millennial marketing’ (I wrote something on it this time last year about how millennials will become responsible for some $170 billion of spend, and also discussed in a piece called ‘Do Millennials Matter?’ how, as they get older, they’re going to be the driving force in the world of B2B).
That title got me reading, and when I came to the really interesting bit, the way it was phrased really got me thinking – instead of focusing on age when marketing, it says, let’s target passions – providing “age agnostic” content that will engage readers by emphasising certain values.
They based these views on a study recently released by Hotwire PR in its annual ‘Communication Trends Report’, which found that brands next year will stop targeting millennials as one demographic.
One thing I would say, however, is that millennial marketing shouldn’t be ignored – they are the driving force of the workplace and so marketing to them really is the only forward. What we do know about the next generation is that talking about things like “digital” will seem archaic – it’s now a given to them, so to do so would cause your brand more harm than good!
I think this is a very clever way to address the difficulty with cut through to the younger generation, especially the ones to come – they are better educated in a wider number of topics and really know how to cut through the noise; God forbid you try to directly sell to them – you will undoubtedly turn them off immediately! This approach to age agnostic marketing I personally think will become the absolute norm for all generations. The plus-65s just aren’t what they were 20 years ago; they are tech savvy, well-read people who are now 20 years’ younger in mind and activities! It may well be that, like the paradigm shift in advertising years ago where we stopped talking about products and talked about their benefits instead, is about to take on another turn: we now don’t tap into benefits, we tap into passions.
So next year, rather than forgetting about age, maybe we should stop preaching to the converted instead?