SYDNEY: Millennials aren’t hitting traditional life milestones at the usual ages, and this means marketers need to rethink the concept of life-stage marketing, according to BuzzFeed and Publicis research.

Their study found that 74% of 18-to-24-year-olds define themselves as ‘kidults’ – half adult, half kid – and a further 64% of people aged 25 to 34 and 58% of people over the age of 35 agree with the sentiment.

According to Edwin Wong, VP of research and insights at BuzzFeed, this means that marketers need to rethink life-stage marketing.

He told delegates at the recent Mumbrella360 conference that it is not a given that everyone will follow a linear pathway of graduating from high school, going to college, graduating from college, getting their first job, moving into their first place, finding a partner, buying a house, then having kids.

“This notion of growing up is a mess. We need to really think about how content is the key identifier to group people together,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: BuzzFeed: Brands need to rethink millennials and life-stage marketing.)

The research also found that the post-millennial generation does not believe marriage is permanent and question whether it will even be possible to support themselves with a traditional nine-to-five job.

“As marketers, we would assume, ‘Oh, I’m going to go after a 25-to-34-year-old mum. We’ll call her Jane’. And the question I would have is, why aren’t we talking to 45-year-old Dan who could be a dad having a kid for the first time?” Wong said.

“They’re both different in terms of what they look like, but going through the same ‘life stage’. We are all in this mess together no matter what age you are.”

The opportunity for marketers is to help consumers “to adult” as people of all ages experience a life skills competency gap. But there needs to be a consideration of the tone used when addressing these topics.

“If it comes to my money, I want something that is serious and I want it from an expert. Whereas, when it comes to my stuff, it could be funny, it could be a story, I actually don’t care,” said Wong.

He then pointed out a number of examples where this has been done to great effect: “With retail brands, we’ve worked with some of them to give consumers a break when it comes to adulting and put a little humour in it,” he said.

Sourced from WARC