My generation has been described as many things. Lazy, entitled, and self-absorbed aren’t exactly new monikers when it comes to describing the millennial generation, so I’m not surprised when I stumble upon articles bad-mouthing me and my peers on how millennials are ruining everything. I’ve come to expect it—anticipate it, even. But one accusation that I wasn’t prepared for was that we’re industry killers. According to major news outlets like Business Insider, New York Post, Forbes, and more, millennials are basically a generation of heartless, self-absorbed market murderers out for the blood of your favorite industry.
We’re getting into the spirit of it, though (like this Buzzfeed article outlining some of our recent kills with a tinge of satire). Seriously? You’re blaming outdated, failing industries on us? I’m going to quote Thorin McGee of Target Marketing, since I all but stood up and applauded when I read one of his recent articles about millennial “murder”: “If you think an emerging generation of consumers is killing your business, then you probably suck at business, and you had it coming.”
Are You Sure It’s Not Your Fault that Millennials Aren’t Buying?
Businesses that aren’t willing to adapt to consumer needs are not going to survive, regardless of the target market. Those complaining about millennials’ raging, sadistic compulsions to end major industries and crush economies should take a breath and think about who’s really coming off as entitled and lazy in this scenario.
It’s true that, in a era of commerce where the rules are constantly changing, some businesses are failing. But while it’s easy to pin it all on millennials, such accusations don’t hold much water when weighed against the hard facts of today’s economy. Seven in 10 students graduate with debt, owing an average of more than $30,000, and income levels have not increased enough to cover the rising cost of education. About half of all millennials can’t rely on money in their savings accounts for emergency expenses. So can you really blame us for not spending money on mediocrity or products that don’t fit our needs when better options are available?
Honestly, it’s a rough situation for everyone. I understand how my not purchasing a home impacts a slew of industries and negatively effects my local economy, but I can’t afford to get guacamole on my burrito, much less invest in real estate. Granted, homes are a big expense, but even pocket change becomes precious when you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Demonstrate Real Value to Millennials to Earn Loyalty
Millennials are careful with their money, and we’re cautious of where we invest it. A majority of us were going off to college or entering the workforce when the recession hit, and we saw just how quickly the economy can tank and fortunes can turn. We’re reluctant to trust banks and stocks, and we rarely invest in large purchases. We watched our parents suffer the economic downfall. Living with the stark truths that having an education won’t necessarily get you a job and that a 9-to-5 job might not be enough to keep you housed and fed are enough to make anyone wary.
Cut us some slack; we’re not trying to be vicious. We don’t have monthly meetings via Facebook Live where we vote on which American institution we want to destroy next. We just want a product that meets our needs and service that delivers on our expectations—does that really make us any more entitled or industry-killers than other generations?
Reaching millennials doesn’t have to be a horror story. Pick up a free compilation of our best blogs on marketing to millennials, featuring heavy hitters from IWCO Direct’s strategy and creative pros, right here.
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