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The millennial lens needs focus

News, 19 November 2015

NEW YORK: Too many marketers continue to classify consumers into broad categories like millennials and as a result are failing to target audiences effectively and allocate their spending efficiently.

"People keep thinking millennials, millennials, millennials—but there are different types," Max Knight, vp/marketing services at ad tech firm Turn, told Adweek. "People keep saying this word, but it can't just be this big group."

Turn's own analysis highlighted four groups within the wider classification and suggested that the majority of millennials (57%) fell into the "struggling aspirationals" segment.

These consumers it described as green, healthy and fit. They are also "comparatively fiscally challenged", meaning that marketers might want to consider promotions and limited-time offers as ways of reaching them.

The next largest segmentation was "successful homeowners" (18%) and Turn advised that video advertising was an underutilised route to this group. "Marketers should align high-impact media with an audience that's ready to spend," it said.

"Active affluents" (17%) included many new parents with a love of the outdoors and leisure travel – so that mobile campaigns are likely to be a better way of reaching them.

The final, smallest group was "comfortable TV watchers" (8%) and here Turn thought it wise to delve deeper: "groups that display strong preferences may reveal unique interests markets can cater to more specifically".

A similar point about millennials was made by one of the many trend reports that appear at this time of year.

Hotwire PR based its recent effort on crowdsourced data from 400 communicators across 22 countries and declared 2016 would be the year marketers finally stopped targeting millennials as a single demographic, Instead, it said, they will develop an "age-agnostic" approach, focusing on certain mindsets and values.

"We may even forget about age in general – it's just a number – and focus marketing on what really motivates our audience: their passions and the life they choose to live," it added.

That may be a forlorn hope, however, as Turn's research also indicated that advertisers are spending 500% more on millennials than on all other age groups combined.

In particular, they are spending six times as much on video, 4.5 times as much on mobile and four times as much on both display and social.

Data sourced from Adweek, Hotwire PR; additional content by Warc staff