It’s upsetting. It’s all these millennials.

This frustration is not caused by the actual folks born 1980 onward. But by the bunch of marketers, research analysts, gurus, etc. who have become extremely lazy at segmentation. There’s a lot of broad brush demographic segmentation everywhere; comparisons between Boomers and Millennials; how Millennials are want more out of food; Millennial trends that will shape business and more. Aside from the fact that it’s now becoming a tiring buzzword, this classification doesn’t really bring any worthy insights.

Try this test. True profiles:

  • SB: is mildly techno-phobic, but enjoys her expensive iPhone. Comes occasionally on Facebook, but prefers spending her well-earned dough on food experiences. No, does not Instagram about them.
  • BK: uses an entry level smart phone. Is not present on any social media, but uses WhatsApp like a pro. Banks, pays all utility bills, buys books and toys online. Doesn’t like to use the ATM to withdraw cash.
  • AB: a self-confessed superficial geek. Spends way too much time on FB. Doesn’t care for selfies or Instagram’s, but has a million pictures of her son. Buys online, offline, but almost always after tremendous research on social media.
  • BA: is quiet, chats only on IMs with her besties. Doesn’t care for brand of smart phones, spends her time in shorts and t-shirts. Is a gymnast who prefers reading in her spare time. Not into video games, not into taking pictures of her food.
  • PA: Geek, geek and geek. Fitness fanatic. Follows a paleo diet. Takes pictures of everything, including latest workouts, gourmet coffee beans, and first flush tea leaves. Apple fan boy like no other. Binge watches Netflix like it is going out of fashion.

Now tell me who was born when to classify them as a Baby boomer, Generation X, or a Millennial?

  • SB: born in 1980s; currently classified as a Millennial
  • BK: born in 1940s; currently classified as a Baby Boomer
  • AB: born in 1970s; currently classified as Generation X
  • BA: born in 1990s; currently classified as a Millennial
  • PA: born in 1960s; currently classified as a Baby Boomer

My point exactly.

I know, 5 stories don’t make for a high confidence statistical validity. But look around you and notice how the similarities are more behavioral and less age related. Here’s a situation that is very real: Companies are trying to understand how to attract and retain Millennial talent. Because, ostensibly the Millennials want the following:

  • Community perks: employee sports teams, philanthropic programs, paid time off for volunteering
  • Career development — more than a training program: partnering the employee to grow at his/her pace), mentoring
  • Focus on people and purpose: flexible scheduling, telecommuting, infant at work policies, respect, freedom to be creative
  • Transparency & communication

Duh!

Hey, I want all of the above. Have been wanting this since the day I started working. Who doesn’t want some or all of the above?

Again, my point exactly.

I’d like to see some genuine behavior based segmentation. Here’s some ideas:

  • Coffee loving, tech savvy, mildly narcissist working moms (with infants) who are craving “me time” but are unable to do so.
  • Pregnant women, still not into the whole mom bit, struggling to figure out what life will be like in a few months.
  • Working dads, who genuinely share more than half the domestic work load, and who’s only other genuine interest in life is rock and roll music but no longer have enough time to pursue this hobby

It doesn’t matter which decade they were born in, there’s insights here that marketers can use. There’s problems that they can help these consumers with. This is when the fun begins. Time we pulled up our socks and got the big data talk to do some bit o’ walk, isn’t it?

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