Between November 2007 and May 2008, 611 people commented on 60 Minutes‘ website reacting to Morley Safer’s report, “The Millennials are Coming:”
The reactions couldn’t be more diverse to describe 25 percent of the U.S. population who are living and working and playing in society according to their rules — which is precisely what social media is all about.
Gone are the days when companies can operate in a vacuum. With the rise of technology, especially marked by the internet, digital media, and global telecommunications, companies are increasingly being forced to adapt to new ways of consumer engagement. And do you want to guess who the end users are?
Granted, Millennials are not using every product in every vertical today, but in time they will. And if they don’t like your business, they’ll buy from another. They’re also entrepreneurial geniuses and know how to run with things. Like the title says, get ready for the Millennials.
Who are the Millennials?
As Claire Raines wrote in 2002 in a master article about their characteristics:
Born between 1980 and 2000, they’re a generation nearly as large as the Baby Boom, and they’re charged with potential. They’re variously called the Internet Generation, Echo Boomers, the Boomlet, Nexters, Generation Y, the Nintendo Generation, the Digital Generation, and, in Canada, the Sunshine Generation. But several thousand of them sent suggestions about what they want to be called to Peter Jennings at abcnews.com, and “Millennials” was the clear winner.
Diane Thielfoldt and Devon Scheef, co-founders of The Learning Cafe, defined the Millennials in contrast to Generation X in the following table, as printed in the August 2004 edition of Law Practice Today:
Born 1977 – 1998
Rewrite the rules
Irrelevance of institutions
Friends = family
Casual, friendly work environment
Flexibility and freedom
A place to learn
Structured, supportive work environment
Be prepared for demands, high expectations
The Power of One
If intrinsicism could be mapped to a singular person, Rebecca Corliss is a shining example of that idea. One of the 75 million-plus members of the Millennial Generation, Rebecca wants to change the world — and I believe her.
Rebecca elaborates this notion in an email to me:
Our parents told us we can do anything if we put our mind to it. We’re told we’re special. We’re told we’re all unique individuals. We deserve the best.
With this upbringing, many millenials developed a sense of self-entitlement, which often transfers into ego-driven actions.
A recent graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication, she spearheaded the amazing public relations for Social Media for Social Change‘s first networking and fundraiser event last month (which may I add was an amazing event!).
At the recent New Marketing Summit, when Rebecca joined Ben Grossman, Emily Belyea, and Matt Peters to talk about what they and their peers believe and why everyone else should care, Rebecca coined the term viral cause messaging.
Think about that for a moment. If you have a great idea, you tell one person who tells two people who tells four people and so forth. But with the Millennials who are more digitally interconnected than anyone else, they each know thousands of people. With their collective support, a new product can be an overnight sensation.
As Matt Peters said, today’s marketing must be “on demand,” because kids use DVR and Tivo programming to fast forward through TV commercials, don’t care about most magazine advertisements, and can give a rat’s ass about direct mail.
If you’re a business and don’t get their attention in the flick of an eye, you’ve lost them and all of their friends.
Stay tuned to an upcoming article of mine when I’ll share with you some eye-opening factoids comparing Millennials to Baby Boomers — and how both population segments lack fundamental knowledge of technologies that my generation, Generation X, knows all too well.
Thoughts on the above?