• G.N. Benefield, Ph.D.

Millennial Mania

“Millennials are changing everything."

Markets, Media, and Politics are in Transition

Media and society appear to have forgotten that generational change is the norm, not the exception. From 1890 – 1945, beginning with the “Gilded Age,” the United States faced many challenges in terms the rise and fall of the economy, national affairs, and society in general, all of which significantly changed the culture and society of America. During the 1950s Golden Age, the United States was the world’s strongest military power, the economy was booming, and the fruits of this prosperity–new cars, suburban houses and other consumer goods–were available to more people than ever before. Music, movies, and “The Age of Television” contributed to these changes.

The 1950s were also an era of great conflict. For example, the nascent civil rights movement and the crusade against communism at home and abroad exposed the underlying divisions in American society. Baby boomers were impacted by the ways in which society changed after the post war years and by Vietnam. Ideas about gender, family, and sexuality underwent a great change. Concepts such parenthood, aging, retirement, labor, and so on were redefined. Even when they were old, baby boomers preferred to be active and involved.

Technology and media have contributed to the rapid changes in millennials and subsequent generations. Financial constraints have pushed many millennials to delay homeownership and marriage, causing a transformation the face of the traditional American family.

Millennials have taken to spending their money online or on experiences, causing retailers to shift strategies or shut down. The millennials' penchant for social media and convenience has created new industries and many startups. Diverse, indebted, and depressed, millennials, like their counterparts of the 1960’s, are speaking up about everything from mental health and money to social issues, pushing their concerns to the front of the conversation.

Millennials' likelihood of living at home with parents or living with a roommate to share housing costs. Beyond that, some millennials are also moving back home to take care of their parents, reported Clare Ansberry of The Wall Street Journal. Gallup called millennials "the job-hopping generation" — they generally don't plan to stay with their employer for more than a few years, Business Insider's Rachel Premack reported. Again, not dissimilar to the 1960’s. Younger millennials (and Gen Z) are the strongest job market in a generation,

Millennials also want flexibility and to work remotely. It's fueled the gig economy; a 2018 Deloitte report stated that nearly half of self-employed Americans by 2020 will be millennials.

Half of millennials are participating in the gig economy by developing side hustles, reported The New York Post in 2017.

Many publications, marketing messaging, and advertising adopt an "Us verses Millennials" tone. All clients, customers, and voters are most importantly - Individuals, with their own perspective of wants, needs, and priorities.

Three key ways to attract millennials and customers of any demographic:

-First, reach out. Social media has many outlets. Local groups are being formed. Reach out, visit, and join their online and physical groups.

-Don’t preach or lecture, LISTEN. You will find their issues, perceptions, wants and needs are at least similar. Some issues are complex, personal, and emotional. Focus on areas of agreements.

-Be inclusive. Every employee, client, member, contributor and customer requires the feeling of being included and welcomed.

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