What's the Fuss About Millennials?

I have nothing against Millennials (or any other generation for that matter) – both my daughters are part of that cohort.

But what gets up my nose is the fascination the business world has with this generation, often at the expense of the far more numerous and lucrative, older consumer. I recently spoke at a travel conference (see video) where the vast majority of attention was directed to the Millennial generation. Only when I laid out the facts about who is spending what on travel did the audience realise the relevance of my presence there. When will the business world wake up!?

A recent article from Boston Consulting “How Millennials Are Changing the Face of Marketing Forever“. The article explains “……. only now are the first Millennials reaching peak buying power. In the U.S., by 2030, Millennials will likely outnumber baby boomers 78 million to 56 million—and they are forming lifelong shopping preferences and habits now”.

Firstly, I don’t believe people of any age develop “lifelong shopping habits” any more. Brand loyalty and buying behaviour are as unpredictable as the weather. Secondly, if marketers can get excited about what this cohort might be doing in 2030, why can’t they be equally excited by what their older customers are doing now!?

As mentioned in my post yesterday regarding eHealth, the digital divide between seniors and the rest of the population is disappearing. As are so many other aspects of marketing. To this end, I question the sense of age (or generation) – based marketing strategies unless there is a clear need for it.

Why exclude any potential market, particularly a large and lucrative one as the older consumer?