Millennials: We ARE What’s Next

By: Kevin McAtamney

Time to step up to the plate and let everyone come to us! Generation Y, the individuals ranging from the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s, otherwise known as millennials, have become the next group that companies must serenade for their continuing business. Lazy, careless, living at home with their parents accommodated with an extremely short attention span are just a few characteristics that we have been described as. How can companies keep up with our unorthodox and inconsistent ways and at the same time, keep their profit margins high? We have proven to be much different than the previous generations before us and corporations are starting to re-establish new branding/marketing techniques to capture the little attention span that we have left………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………sorry, I was checking how many “likes” my selfie got. What are companies doing today to adjust to this new demographic that will most definitely reconfigure how corporations connect with this type of consumer?

Marketers Are Sizing Up the Millennials is an article written by Dionne Searcey that describes the challenges that corporations are facing in today’s world dealing with this new consumer generation. The age of the Baby Boomers is over and it’s time to make room for the group of people that by the year 2020 will make up one-third of the adult population. Millennials already represent $1.3 trillion, that’s right, with a T, in consumer spending out of the total $11 trillion already present in the market place. That is undoubtedly catching the attention of the large retail companies in various industries. They have found that they ultimately need to readjust their entire branding strategy to catch our eye in different and unique ways that they have never dealt with before.

For example, General Mills made the decision to completely reposition its Totino’s frozen pizza brand to better attract these pesky millennials. With a spicy flavoring and all black packaging combined with a zombie themed marketing campaign on YouTube, the original happy-go-lucky caricature, Chef Rose Totino that had always represented the brand, could not ship up and instead, shipped out. Pepsi Co. has already adapted to this big change in the market by creating the drink Kickstart, a Mountain Dew flavored energy drink with very little fruit juice and the ingredient that us millennials are most obsessed with, caffeine. General Mills and Pepsi Co. had the ability to successfully reposition these two products differently in their industries while at the same time adapting to the newer generation that has the greater market share. Only time will tell if they will be profitable in the long run.

Many people see this market as a negative impact to their future profits but those that see it as an opportunity, have the upper-hand. It’s a challenge to take on the likes and dislikes of a new generation but companies have done it before and will continue and continue to adapt to this adversity.

At first, the Baby Boomer generation embraced consumer crazes like the Frisbee and utilized self-expression with all that they did. At the time, this confused marketers and challenged them to reposition themselves in a way to connect with this rebellious, entitled group of individuals. Sounds familiar…Adapting to new consumers is what makes marketing companies great at what they do. I’m proud of our short attention spans, our major obsessions with social media and the immediate reaction to reach for our phone and take a video the second something……(strange)(different)(simple)?..ANYTHING happens! This is what makes us, us. So go ahead, attempt to solve our rubix cube like personalities and figure out what we like most or what we are willing to spend our parents’ money on.

My generation has always been a challenge in many different ways according to everyone and their mother but figuring us out is what makes this challenge unique. As the researchers in the article have stated, “No one truly understand millennials…not even millennials.”

11 thoughts on “Millennials: We ARE What’s Next

  1. Chris Lantagne February 6, 2015 / 5:13 pm

    For companies to view our generation as people being unmotivated, careless, having no money or being lazy I think is a lousy excuse for why they can’t reach us. It’s our generation who has dealt with huge amounts of debt and no jobs. An experience like that is a huge motivation to us because if we can get through it we can get through anything. Older people never went through that experience and I just feel as though they’ll never understand just how hard it is. There’s many ways you can reach millennials. A prime example is a new market that has emerged last year in 2014. The entry-level luxury sedan market has taken off and it’s main consumer is millennials. The new Mercedes-Benz CLA is a new flashy 4-door coupe that is geared for the young professional/tech type. The new Audi A3 and BMW 2-series are the direct competitors. 50% of CLA buyers are millennials. There are ways to market to millennials and take advantage of the growth. Some companies see the light and others don’t.


  2. Kevin McAtamney February 6, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    Allow me to play Devil’s Advocate. My dad came to this country from Ireland when he was 18 years old. His parents refused to help him financially to get through school and he had to complete without anyone else’s help. Living in New York, fresh off the boat, going to school during the day and working as a cook in a restaurant at night while being flat broke at the same time was not easy. Thankfully for my family, he was able to get a job with TIAA-CREF in the financial services industry after he graduated with a Master’s, mind you, while taking care of two kids under the age of 4. He has been at TIAA for 28 years and gained the experience of a been a financial advisor/regional director for 28 years. I agree with you in the sense that tough times help us adapt but from my experience, our generation has it much easier. Coming from the West Coast, dealing with priveleged sorority girls on a daily basis that all come from Northern California and have their tuition and sorority fees paid for upfront by their “daddys” has given me a pretty biased view. Millennials prove me wrong please.


    • David Collins February 7, 2015 / 2:02 am

      I agree with Kevin’s Devi’s Advocate. My mom is the oldest in her family, and grew up with an alcoholic father who actually said “it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as your brother gets into college.” Well, my mom preceded to work full time so should could take the T to Northeastern from Swampscott to get a degree. She did this for 5 years and eventually landed a great job with GE, which like Kevin’s dad, she’s had for over 25 years. I think the main difference is that the generation before us was purely focused on making their lives better by working hard and earning their keep. As they got older, their dream was to give their children a better life than they had. Millennials have a much bigger sense of entitlement. Because of their parents hard work, there’s a tendency to be born on third and think you hit a triple. To market to Millennials, you just have to do something that placates their ego, like a selfie stick, or makes their life easier. The simplest way is word of mouth through social media. If they can selfie it, they’ll market it.


    • Ryan MacLeod February 8, 2015 / 1:59 pm

      There’s really no doubting that our generation has large feelings of self entitlement compared to the generation that precedes ours. In our defense, though, that is what our parents and grandparents worked so hard for. So their children and grandchildren could have an easier life, and so they could help us afford the high costs of going to college and becoming the most educated generation in our nations history. Its apparent that today we have a large number of kids who are much more worried about likes on their Instagram page than finding a rewarding career. But I would have to agree with Chris that calling us “lazy” is simply a cop out on why companies are having a tough time reaching us. My feeling is that companies are having a difficult reaching us as consumers is because our generation is so scattered in terms of where we are at in the stages of our lives. I was lucky enough to have my daughter at the ripe age of 25 which was a blessing as much as it was a challenge. Right at that same time I bought a house, was paying my undergraduate student debt as well as paying for my masters degree, all while working full time. I have other friends who moved out of their parents house at 18 and haven’t been back since, and others who seem to have no intention on leaving the room they grew up in. I see plenty more disparities between us as millennials which to me seems like the most viable reason why these marketers and ad execs can’t reach us. Great article to read though, really makes you think of how we see ourselves and how others from older generations see us.


  3. Andrew Gerry February 8, 2015 / 8:56 pm

    This is a very interesting article that i think shows only part of the picture of how a ‘Millennial’ functions. To begin, we are one of the most educated generations to exist. This means that almost all of us go to college and a large portion of those go to graduate school. We also have been given the wonders of modern technology to help, or distract, us in our journey through life. While we did not have all of this tech while we were young, we have had it for the majority of our lives. This is something unique to us that has helped us be able to multitask in our ever- changing world. To be able to do this is huge today. We can be making plans with friends for the evening while we bang out a 10-page paper. It is simply how we function. This can help us in the highly competitive job market that we have today. Everyone is educated highly, everyone has the credentials for the job, but not everyone has the talent or drive to be successful. This is something ‘Baby Boomers’ did not experience. If the had a college degree, they were already ahead of the pack. No doubt they still had to work hard; we all do. Our world is just faster paced and all-around noisier.

    The biggest problem I have with this article is that the author attempts to group ‘Millennial’s’ into one single archetype. With the introduction of the Internet, you are no longer bound to just your generation, country, language, group of friends, or for that matter anything. Anyone can now go out into the world and embrace many very different parts of it; all from their laptops, phones, or tablets. Being a ‘Millennial’ really only applies to the context of where they are in today’s world rather then a true definition of who they are. I guess you could say that the true definition of a ‘ Millennial’ is: whatever they want it to be! Entrepreneurship is at an all time high, creative projects are taking place on various formats, and we are trying to change the world around us and make it our own creative place.


  4. Joe Greco February 9, 2015 / 8:45 pm

    It is very true and also important that companies adapt to the times when it comes to their Marketing strategies. For example updating logos, reaching out to social media, email, etc; I strongly agree with that aspect of your article because companies that have been around for a while will not be able to survive if they do not adapt to the 21st century’s way of marketing. A very good amount of companies have adapted to modern times and have been able to reach the ‘Millennials’ in various ways,making it easy for us “lazy” kids to find products that suite us.
    The main issue I found in your article is that I feel as though you stereotyped the Millennial generation as all “Lazy, careless, living at home with their parents accommodated with an extremely short attention span”, I simply disagree with that. Although this generation isn’t as hardworking as maybe the baby boomer generation was, various new technologies have afford us the right to be a little lazier. These new technologies we have all grown accustom to simply makes it much easier to do the tasks we have to accomplish weather it’s job related, school related, or socially related.


  5. Kevin McAtamney February 10, 2015 / 4:13 pm

    I think you guys have made great points. For the past four years, I have had a biased opinion about Millennials. I have attempted to stray away from the “lazy, carelessness” characteristics I had been grouped into. Maybe it was the people I had surrounded myself with but I do believe there was a percentage of us that fit that category real well. Just like I’m sure some Baby Boomers didn’t fit that “crazed, free spirit” category and worked hard to get us where we are now.


  6. Michael Scuderi April 27, 2015 / 11:52 pm

    I think that this generation is going to have to step up at some point in the 21st century. Because its true we are the next being thing we are the people that will be running the world some day. When I say run the world I mean these people are going to be running our business and governments one day. I think our generation is lazy and is totally consumed by technology and seems distracted to what is really important in this life. In short I think us Millennials have to stop what we are doing a take a breath of fresh air. Although my generation has its fair share of short comings I also know that we are still very young and still have much to learn and hopefully a lot more to contribute.


  7. mcdonaldb2013 April 28, 2015 / 1:14 pm

    While some companies have found out how to market towards millenials, the reality is that our attention spans are at an all time low. Not only is it hard to determine how to capture our attention initially but for a company to hold on to our attention is remarkable. I think that while this is certainly a challenge for companies, its creates an interesting level of competition. It pushes marketing strategies to new levels and forces companies to become extremely creative in their advertising campaigns.


  8. Charlie O'Connor May 7, 2015 / 9:28 pm

    I completely agree with Kevin here, many of us have been grouped into this “Lazy, careless” demographic based on the year we were born. I also understand his biased opinion about those of our generation who are spoiled and feel entitled to everything. It’s pretty humiliating that we have been all lumped together but I don’t blame the older generation for doing this. We seem to want everything fast, which is just a bi-product of the technological generation we grew up in. I believe in working hard for what you want while maintaining the mindset of “low man on the totem pole”, our superiors will recognize our hard work in due time and one day we’ll be complaining about the generations to come after us. If you think about it, it’s kind of scary what they might be like…


  9. Megan Lac May 6, 2016 / 3:02 pm

    I find it interesting how people believe millennials are lazy and don’t want to do anything when essentially we are the future of the world. Whether people like it or not we are the ones who are going to be running businesses in the near future. Companies need to start marketing to us and including us in their business practices. If they don’t they are losing out of a huge market opportunity.


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