Saturday, July 09, 2011

Me & My Kids

I'm a Boomer, and they are Gen Y.

From Mediapost:

Don't Forget Their Similarities As You Learn Their Differences

It's easy to get swept up in the many ways Generation Y is unmistakably different than Generation X and Baby Boomers. But, what can be difficult is remembering that in spite of those differences, Millennials are also undeniably similar to Gen Xers and Boomers.

Yes, you read right.

In some ways Millennials are like the Baby Boomers marketers know so well.

Take their life goals, for instance. Our recent research showed four things consistently ranked in the top five life goals for Gen Yers, Xers and Boomers:

  • Having a good relationship with my family
  • Having excellent physical/mental health
  • Having a happy marriage
  • Having close friends

The actual ranking varied a little, but the consistency is plain. Additionally, Millennials, too, embody the American dream. In fact, they're so traditional that goals like having children, having a regular 8-to-5 job and owning a home are actually more important to them than older generations.

Yes, they may text on a phone faster than you type on a keyboard, but Millennials are actually, well ... normal.

Before the shock sets in fully, keep reading. The normalcy continues.

Generation Y doesn't just have the same goals, they share the same mindfulness about achieving and being satisfied about those goals. Millennials are often thought to be wide-eyed, happy-go-lucky youngsters blissfully unaware of how they are fumbling through life as an adult. But in reality, Millennials are quite aware of where they are falling short.

When comparing the importance Millennials place on a goal relative to the satisfaction they feel with that aspect of their life, Millennials say they fall quite short on four of their top five goals -- family, health, marriage and career success. These social butterflies even think their friendships aren't quite where they should be either.

Essentially, it boils down to this -- despite their appetite for technology and fun, people and relationships still matter the most to Millennials, just like for Xers and Boomers.

I said it earlier, but it's worth repeating.

Millennials are normal.

So, what does that mean for marketers?

Honing in on similarities can enable messaging to transcend generational boundaries and focusing on differences will allow you to target Millennials specifically.

Sharalyn Hartwell is the executive director of Magid Generational Strategies at Frank N. Magid Associates.

And Yes, that's me with the pink ears from about 11 years ago!

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