I have been banging on for a while about the fact that I feel generation marketing is bull. Over the past few years I have seen countless articles and thought leadership pieces about how best to speak to the Millennial audience and how they drastically differ from the other demographic brackets around them. But up until this point, I have struggled to find other people who share the same views. In fact, there seems to be only a small group of marketers who are ignoring the stereotypical targeting associated with generations, and striking a new line in audience targeting. It's just simply too easy to go with age groups because that's what we have always done.
That is, until now. I came across this article from contributing editor of Inc. this morning and it was everything I have been hoping for an more. Because not only has his view been changed, but it has been changed by actual data; data which proves that only 2% of an individual's attitude can be attributed by their generation.
The article and viewpoint expressed may be specifically aimed at those managing Millennials in the workplace, but the data speaks for itself. And as marketers we must sit up and take note. The data shows that ninety-eight percent of how we think, feel and behave has absolutely nothing to do with our age group. So what this indicates is that marketing to audiences based on their generation will not create any more impact than if we were to not segment audiences at all.
To market effectively we cannot be lazy any more. We make decisions based on personal interests rather than because of our age, so we need to invest time in segmenting our target audiences based on interests and motivations. Because, by taking the time to understand our target audiences better, we can ensure that we create optimum cut-through and actually start speaking to those who are ready to listen.
Millennial employees aren't one-size-fits-all. Accepting sweeping generalizations is dangerous because it allows us to think we're doing the right things, when, in fact, we're not. Instead, forget the fact one employee is a Millennial. Forget the fact another is Gen-Z. Age differences are only a small slice of what makes each individual different. To lead, you must first take the time to truly know the person and then adapt how you lead to the interests, needs, and goals of that individual. That's how you lead Millennial employees. That's how you lead every employee, because the age group doesn't matter. Where great leadership is concerned, what truly matters is knowing and adapting to the different needs, interests, and goals of each person on your team.