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Going Deeper Than Stereotypes To Connect With Millennials

Updated: Jan 3, 2020

Written by: Megan McDowell

Tenielle Maris writes on how easy it is for marketers to stereotype millennials instead of putting in the time into understanding the diversity within this group.

The Most Researched Group in History

In a recent article by Tenielle Maris entitled, “Headspace: Going beyond the millennial stereotype,” the author looks at the influence this target audience is beginning to wield, and emplores the readers to go beyond the stereotypes and to try to understand the spectrum of needs and development this group has and will go through. Millennials have become the most researched audience in history. The reason they are studied so much is because they are different to every other population segment that has come before. They grew up with technology and the Internet, and influences that are more unique than any other segment in history. Companies that have sought to invest the time to connect with this group are seeing great results, but it doesn’t come easy. Even with trying to recruit members for MROC’s this segment is often the hardest to recruit, but the results they give are deep.

The trouble companies have been having is failing to understand that while millennials share the same period of birth roughly 1982-1999, they do not share all other interests, goals and life stages. Maris highlights some problematic thinking that companies have been having with this segment of the population. She writes, “we are making the assumption that this enormous and diverse group of people, spanning the globe, all have the same behavioural traits in common: whether we are talking to a 21-year-old student or a 34-year-old single mother, they both want the same thing, right?” I am sure every group has had their share of judgements and mass categorization of ideas.

Ipsos Marketing called marketing to a stereotype of the millennial as the “Millennial Trap” and described it as plain lazy. The article goes on to explain that it fails to understand the individual or segment, and tries to market a brand to a huge group of people with not a lot in common, beyond age and growing up with the Internet. Maris writes, “What you end up with is a campaign that ticks a few of the generic millennial boxes but lacks the sense of purpose needed to differentiate your brand from the next.” It’s the focused sense of purpose that wins customers. This is why we have found such success when conducting qualitative research for online communities with this particular segment. 

Be Specific with your Marketing

An example of who is trying to understand a segment within the broader context of millennials is Nike. They recently produced an 8 episode series on YouTube with the purpose of trying to inspire females to exercise. The episodes show diversity within this group, and they are witty. As Maris writes, “It wasn’t just the funny, branded content that connected with Nike’s audience; rather it was an authentic representation of a deep consumer insight: that each woman experiences their own personal and emotional fitness journey.”

We agree with what Maris is saying. Millennials are the new generation growing in influence in the marketplace and in life. Sure they have certain key influences the same, such as growing up with the Internet, and experiencing an economic recession but they also vary widely in regards to likes and dislikes, interests, hobbies, and politics. It is important that we go beyond the stereotypes and use research, and insights to continue our understanding of this demographic so that we can better connect. We believe that market research online communities are a great way to connect with this group.

If you would like to find out how our market research communities can help you please feel free to contact us.

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