Look at those crazy Millennials in that picture. When they're not styling their hair or being ironic they are always on their phones sharing their entire life with the world digitally. This is how marketers generically perceive this generation*.
*The exact time frame of the Millennial generation (also known as Generation Y and Echo Boomers) varies depending on who you ask. It is sometime between 1978 & 2000. Some divide that time frame into two different generations: Gen Y = born late 1970s to 1990 , Millennials = born 1990 - 2000. Dividing it makes more sense to me as the behaviors and attitudes of a 32 year old today (born 1978) are a lot different from those of a 10 year old today (born 2000).
Millennials are defined by 2 things:
- They are constantly online, either on the computer or their cell phone
- They share everything about themselves.
That's it. There's nothing else to them. You can sell and justify any business decision based on these two generalized attributes. At least that is the impression that I got this morning when I read a USA Today article about new menu items being rolled out by national restaurant chains including California Pizza Kitchen and Cheesecake Factory. The chains are adding small, cheaper, tapas-style items to their menu that are meant to be shared among friends. Their logic behind this new addition: Millennials like texting and sharing and stuff, they will like sharing food too (and then possibly Tweeting about how awesome it is?).
From the USA Today article:
Casual-dining chains are trying just about anything. They're particularly eager
to attract socially minded Millennials who are just as comfortable sharing a
plate of food as they are sharing social media.
"This is how the next generation is eating," says Bob Hartnett, CEO at Houlihan's, which just rolled out 23 small-plate items.
WHAT?! When did we start eating differently? I'm not saying these new menu items are a bad idea, they're not. I do, in fact, enjoy ordering a bunch of small plates and sharing among friends, but why is this being considered a Millennial only activity? When I'm out at a tapas-style restaurant I don't see only a 20 somethings sharing food, I see people of all ages and backgrounds be it friends, families, or coworkers. It appears to me that this is how EVERYONE is eating.
It is just as illogical to say that Millennials are eating differently, than it is to say Millennials are all over social media, when data has shown that Baby Boomers are the growing demographic in Facebook and Millennials have no use for Twitter. Face it, everyone is online all the time sharing info, and everyone likes to share food when they go out to eat. If you don't realize that when developing a marketing strategy, you're leaving out a large part of your target audience. We have progressed beyond, "kids these days and their crazy technologies." Either we are now all Millennials in some shape or form, or maybe, just maybe, there is more to the Millennial generation than the generic definition placed on them.
Where do you stand? What defines a Millennial to you? What additional attributes would you add?