This article is part of our content series with Brandwatch, one of the most powerful social media monitoring and analytics tool used by pioneering brands and agencies all over the world, and a Global Supporting Sponsor of Social Media Week.


Millennial. As a marketer, it’s a term I see every single day. In fact, I started to get so sick of it; I made use of the Millennial-to-Snake-People Chrome plugin, which is about as hilarious as it sounds.

I often hear brands state that they are trying to target Millennial, as if that’s some grand strategy designed to reach a whole new group of consumers.

The hype is huge, and everyone from insurance firms to wine manufacturers wants a piece of the action.



The broad range of Millennial

But what does Millennial actually mean? We’re talking about a twenty year age range encompassing over 75 million Americans. While in Nigeria, millennials account for about 60 percent of her National population and a substantial segment of the workforce.

In 2016, a Millennial could be anything from a 16 year old schoolgirl still living with their parents, to a home-owning family man in their mid 30s.

As a Millennial myself, I join many of the others in not really associating with the demographic as much as Generation X did with their label.

Many people feel as though it’s too broad – there’s a huge amount of diversity among Millennial.

I know why brands are asking the questions though. “We need to target Millennial”, I hear.

It’s why we see all the emojis and selfies in the marketing of many brands today, as if that’s somehow going to make me buy more sandwiches. And old people want to eat sandwiches too, remember.



It might come from a place of fear.

Getting left behind is just about the scariest thing that can happen to a brand. Perhaps it’s this fear that has helped create an environment where being the first on Periscope or Peach has become an imperative for any brand wanting to reach Millennial.

Desperately chasing the youth zeitgeist has become the guiding policy of many a marketing force.

It’s even spawned a whole new outlook on marketing.

It seems less about measuring sales or even Net Promoter Score, but about social engagement and likes. It’s given rise to comments like this, from Katie Elfering, a CEB consumer strategist and resident expert on Millennial at Forbes:

“Beyond just being innovative and useful, the brands that give Millennial a reason to engage, whether that’s branded content like what Intel has produced, or creating an experience that they couldn’t have without the brand, like many of Red Bull’s events, have figured out how to connect to this generation in a meaningful way. These brands know how to provide what matters most to Millennial in a way that is additive to their lives and entertaining, which in turn compels them to share their experiences with their friends.”

There’s nothing wrong with that, but to mistake it for targeting is foolhardy. Re-read the quote, but with people in their 40s in mind. It still applies.




…to be continued

Joel Windels

VP Inbound Marketing, Brandwatch

Joel Windels is VP, Inbound Marketing at Brandwatch, one of the top ten fastest growing companies in the UK. Brandwatch’s technology has been built to listen to conversations happening across the web, and allows the world’s leading brands to make sense of them. Before joining Brandwatch in 2011, Joel worked in marketing in the videogames sector, working with publishers like Sony, EA and Disney.

SOURCE: Social Media Week 2016

 , , ,