Iconosphere 2014: A Millennial marketing intervention
by Robert van Alstyne
Most anyone working in marketing today has Millennials on the brain — their sheer size and stupendous spending power make them a required focus of interest. But that hasn’t stopped the majority of marketers from misunderstanding this crucial consumer segment.
While you’d be hard-pressed to know it judging by their current position as underachieving pop-culture punching bags, Millenials are actually growing up. The youngest members of this generation are turning 19 in 2014 — old enough to cast ballots and fight in wars — yet too many marketers are still talking down to them. Sure, callow kidults make up a portion of the Millennial generation, but their relatively small numbers are unfortunately given outsized attention and inappropriate cultural significance.
As examined extensively in our Research Brief “Inside the Millennial Mind,” Millennials are scrambling traditional lifestage patterns when it comes to marriage, parenthood and home ownership — in part because of external economic forces and in part because of their own shifting social mores. While older generations are far too quick to equate unconventional lifestage progression with immaturity and a sense of entitlement, the reality is far more complex. Taking a close look at trending Millennial values underscores this discrepancy between public perception and Millennials’ true selves.
Our primed-for-maximum-thought-provocation Millennials presentation at this year’s Iconosphere will dive deep into what truly makes Millennials tick, deconstructing why current segmentation practices completely miss the mark and pointing toward a smarter path forward rooted in key core values that are resonant across this complex consumer spectrum and informed by the unique cultural ties that have defined their generation.