Baby Boomer, Gen X, Millennials – each label stands for an age group which, in theory, has similar wants, needs and goals. But a new study commissioned by MTV shows that there’s a big difference between the upper and lower age brackets that fall into the Millennial category. Keeping with the theme: older (or first wave) Millennials are like Harry Potter but younger (age 13-17) Millennials are more like Katniss of The Hunger Games.
At first glance, these seem like cutesy pop culture references designed to capture the search engine spiders. But when you dig in deep, you’ll see that the comparisons fit – sadly.
The study, “The New Millennials Will Keep Calm and Carry On” leads us to these two points.
The Harry Potter Crowd:
Today’s twenty-somethings represent the Millennials that came of age in the economic boom of the 90s/early 2000s, a time of “Yes We Can” and the belief that college, working hard and playing by the rules would guarantee future success. Raised by idealistic Boomer parents, older Millennials were told they were special and gifted, with a magic wand capable of changing the world.
The Katniss Crowd:
Today’s tweens and teens have known a very different youth. They’ve come of age during the Great Recession, seeing college graduates struggling with huge student loan debt and living through a cascade of social-media amplified tragedies – from Hurricane Sandy to the Sandy Hook School shooting. While this reality is having a profound impact on Young Millennials’ world view, they still exhibit the optimism of their older counterparts, and instead of giving up are prepping, planning and specializing to achieve the future they want for themselves.
Over 60% of young Millennials said they are worried about the negative impact of today’s economy on their future. They say they’re worse off than their parents’ generation and they worry about getting a good education.
As the mother of a Millennial, here are the responses that bring tears to my eyes.
Half are afraid of violence at school but to make it through they’ve adopted a “Keep Calm and Carry On” mentality while remaining in “fast exit” mode. One third of those surveyed said they “plot out escape plans when in public places, because of events like Sandy Hook.”
Stress and Tech
80% of young Millennials feel the need to unplug at times. They grew up in a world that is constantly connected with mobile phones, texting, social media and cameras in their pockets.
57% said that when technology becomes to much, they like to work with their hands and 82% said they concentrate on doing only one thing at a time. (A good lesson for all the adults reading this post.)
They’ve also become experts at self-filtering. More than 75% said they try to avoid cruel or violent videos. 70% said they turn to YouTube to learn how to do things and they like being the expert on a subject (the guy who posts all of those old comic book covers or the girl who does Victorian nail design videos.)
Keeping Calm While They Carry On
The best thing the marketer can do to reach this crowd, is to understand that they come from a different place than those just a few years their senior. They’re more cautious. They’re not buying into the “you can do anything” view of the world. And they’re happy to put the phone on mute while they create things with their own two hands.
Most of all, you need to understand that these teens and tweens like to hide in plain sight. So you may not see them, but they see you.
Do you have an approach that works with the young Millennials? Tell us about it in the comment section below.