Millennials Respond to the Biggest Critiques of their Generation
Millennials are a very popular (and controversial) generation. When you think of that generation, what is the first feeling you get? A feeling that you aren't really sure who they are? Or that you know them all too well? (Or so you think.) The fact is that millennials – categorized as being between the ages of 18-34 – are everywhere. You either are one yourself, are friends with one, work with one, or focus your marketing on them. Believe it or not, millennials are actually the most marketed to generation and, in return, express extreme brand loyalty.
Since many of our clients must market to millennials (and many of us here at EGC are millennials ourselves), we decided to do some research on the stereotypes that seemingly define the way people perceive this generation. We took the four biggest stereotypes and presented them to four of our millennial team members. Below you'll hear thoughts from Dillon Winegar (Digital Account Manager), Amanda Mauceri (Account Manager), Stephanie Hayman (Social Media Manager), and Mike Mottola (Jr. SEO Coordinator).
Millennials are sidetracked by technology | Are always on their phones
Dillon: Though I do agree that many millennials could serve to look up from their screens and join society a bit more, I don’t think it’s necessarily the worst thing to have your phone nearby at all times. I like to think I use my phone for good – looking up new things, learning more, and seeing what’s happening on social media. Frequently checking social media and immersing yourself into digital culture truly allows you to “have your finger on the pulse” to know what’s trending and what other brands are doing.
Stephanie: After years of being told that my phone was a distraction (from both educational and professional perspectives), I have come to realize that I work better and more efficiently when I have my phone on hand. There is no way that I can concentrate and work to the best of my ability without letting my mind wander for a one-to-two minute Instagram break or quickly-sent text. I have the type of personality in which I am fortunately able to multitask, and multitask well. If I can shut one part of my brain off while letting the other half wander for a few minutes (mid-project), I am actually refreshed and ready to take on more. I think millennials are labeled as being rude, aloof, or lazy because we look at our phones ‘too often.’ ‘Too often’ – according to who, honestly? The older generations never had phones in their day, and weren’t exposed to the wide-ranging levels of social media and text access. For me, being on my phone is a natural part of life. If I was reprimanded for being on it, I feel like my propensity to work (and function) throughout the day would actually decrease.
Millennials question everything
Amanda: What do you mean – “they question everything?” (See what I did there?) Again, the same could be said about toddlers or dementia patients. It doesn't matter how old you are. Asking questions is how you learn and grow and get to the bottom of things. If you're saying millennials are skeptical – maybe. But again – skepticism, in small doses – is healthy. You can't take everything at face value, but sometimes you also have to have a little faith. I would be surprised if all millennials were incapable of striking that balance.
Dillon: Millennials are hungry for information. Asking “why?” isn’t always intended to validate the task we’re being asked to do. Asking questions helps us learn more about the process. It helps us to see the bigger picture. In many cases, it could even lead to a suggestion or an idea that hasn’t been presented before.
Millennials are entitled | Seek instant gratification
Stephanie: I will be the first to say that I am impatient and want instant gratification in many aspects of life. By the same token, I don’t expect to be kowtowed to and don’t think I deserve everything under the sun from a professional perspective because I am of the millennial generation, and don’t appreciate the negative connotation that goes along with that. I do get frustrated easily, but I also know what it means to work hard and “earn” things that you truly deserve. I wouldn’t want to have everything handed to me on a silver platter, because I would not know the meaning or beauty of working towards a goal. As a whole, our generation definitely suffers from entitlement. I’ve already made a mental note that my children will be raised with the values my parents taught me, and I will not let them succumb to the entitlement today’s 20-somethings are generally wrought with.
Mike: I don’t feel that I am entitled. I believe I should have to work for what I want. I don’t think I am owed anything, and I should have to work hard and overcome obstacles to get where I want. Anything worth having doesn’t come easy.
Millennials work to live, not live to work
Amanda: Yeah, I mean I think this one is probably true and should be true for a lot of people. I think millennials are searching for meaning, so it's not enough for them (us) to just have a rinky-dink job, and turn that part of our brain off, and then live our lives at home – especially because we are so cognizant of time. We spend so much time working that it becomes a huge part of our lives. And if that has no correlation with our personal life, there's a void; an emptiness about it. So, they want a meaningful employment and one that can sustain the kind of life they want to live. Working to live – I mean that's an economical issue. No matter how you slice it, a job pays the bills and living isn't cheap.
Mike: Personally, I would rather have a work/life balance. I had a job in the past where I was given a cell phone and iPad and I was expected to answer client calls and emails as they came in. I personally dislike the feeling of always being “on the clock.” I would much rather work on what I have to do at work, stay late if that’s what it takes to get done, and devote time away from work to other hobbies and endeavors. The balance works better for me.
You might agree with these responses or you might not, but it's definitely eye-opening on a marketing level to dive deeper into the thoughts of the large millennial population and know what they are thinking.
Have comments or questions on how to market your product or service to millennials? We'd love to hear from you!