As marketers, we have been taught to segment our audience by demographic characteristics such as gender and age. This method served us well for decades but unfortunately it doesn’t work anymore. The traditional model fails to take into account an important truth. The year we are born has a profound impact on how we view the world and how we make decisions. A 25-year-old born in the 1950s was unlike a 25-year-old born in 2000 in many critical ways.

With today’s 25-year-old, advertising designed to interrupt is ineffective. Today our advertising must add value and the only way to achieve that is to understand the emotional drivers and decision making foundation upon which the largest generation thrives. As marketers we need to understand an individual’s context so we can build a lasting emotional connection with our brand.

Unfortunately, much of what marketers have been fed about millennials is little more than a caricature based on conjecture rather than facts. For example, we’re told they are a selfish generation that’s all about me, me, me. The often cited proof that millennials are the “me-generation” points to the rapid adoption of selfies. However, the theory fails to take into account the reason selfies have become so popular. Research shows the motivation for the phenomenon is the desire to connect with others by sharing a piece of themselves with those near and far. Marketing based on the caricature is not effective because it misses this important context. Millennials see through the façade and don’t recognize themselves in the advertising.

In an attempt to understand generational context further The Weather Company conducted extensive research. The research uncovered a profound reality – millennials are in fact not self-centered, they in fact crave connectedness. Not only do they evaluate brands based on how the brand interacts with them, but how they perceive the brand interacts with those they around them.

Life for Millennials has always been a team sport – from literal sports and clubs in school, to their strong cross-generational relationships, to the simple fact that they are the largest and most diverse generation in U.S. history. Technology has amplified this, of course, as mobile and social platforms dominate their waking time; but social growth did not create the millennial generation, rather social grew because of a deep desire to connect to their mindset.

The next time you are targeting millennials resist the temptation to base your promotions on unproven platitudes and instead build a connection they can trust. The rewards will be measurable.

Want to reach millennials in a connected way?
45% of all millennials engage with The Weather Company. Learn more about weather advertising.

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