While most marketers recognize the importance of understanding the wants and needs of different generations, there is often confusion about what exactly defines each generation. In the case of Millennials, we can all agree that they have tremendous power over the future of marketing. At thinkLA's Entertainment Marketing Breakfast in Marina del Ray, California, Warren Wright, EVP of LifeCourse Associates, delivered the opening presentation on how Millennial sensibilities are radically changing things for entertainment marketers.
Each generation shares attitudes, behaviors, and traits. Gen-exers are known as survivors, or the forgotten generation, and Boomers are known for their rebellious attitude. Wright says Millennials are your trophy kids. They are educated, diverse, trust family and friends, and value fairness.
According to Wright, the majority of TV networks are seeing a decline in their 18 to 34 audience, so a shift is already in progress. Here are the Millennial trends you should keep in mind.
Millennials trust and value their friends and family like no other generation. When in need of answers, Boomers prefer to go to an expert and Gen-exers do a cost-benefit analysis, while Millennials are likely to ask their friends, or even crowdsource.
First life/second life blend
When asked if they agreed with the statement, "Sometimes I think life is like a video game," 52 percent of Millennials said yes. Today, this age group is spending the most hours per day in front of screens, so with developments like Oculus Rift continuing to arrive, this trend is sure to be instrumental.
The maker movement
Whether its online or in the real world of 3D printing an other tech innovations, Millennials love to create. And 30 percent of their media time is spent with user-generated content (UGC). With Disney buying Maker Studios and Microsoft launching Project Spark, this trend is already effecting huge change in the entertainment world. According to Wright, all you have to do is create a platform, and people will start creating. Then come opportunities to monetize that content.
The "Barney" effect
Growing up with a big purple dinosaur who preached kindness and fairness, Millennials, while often sheltered, have a refreshing sense of equality and justice. Seventy-two percent agreed that the government should make a serious effort to reduce the income gap in America, and two times as many Millennials as Boomers support same-sex marriage. So while many criticize the "me, me, me" generation, Wright reminded attendees that they will stand up for fairness and respect. Brands should take note that it is important to them that the companies they buy products from have a positive impact on society. Millennials also expect brands to listen to their feedback and engage them in interactive, two-way conversation.
To close, Wright suggested remembering this three-word mantra: Participate, create, and share. He also revealed a couple of industry predictions. From his organization's perspective, the education revolution is coming in the next five years or so. The post-industrial education system hasn't changed much since the 1950s, but LifeCourse Associates believes the entertainment business will transform it. After all, it's the business that knows how to capture attention. And be on the lookout for the next great tech innovator coming out of the Millennial generation, as Wright says she will be neither male nor Caucasian.