Rethinking Millennials

And How To Market To Them

By John Hall - August 30, 2018

Recently, I weighed in on millennials - who they are, what they like, and why they are important to multifamily operators. In response to that article, I heard some of what the usual comments you hear from non-millennials. Millennials are entitled, self-absorbed slackers! Anti-capitalists who just want to buy more stuff! Social-justice warriors who refuse to move out of their parents’ houses!
I can’t help but notice that such complaints sound strikingly similar. In fact, they sound like the complaints that I heard about my generation (Gen X) when we were just coming of age!
As companies are hiring, working with, and marketing to the millennial generation, it’s important to separate stereotypes from statistics. To help with perspective, I thought it might be helpful to compare facts about millennials to facts about older generations.
1) Millennials like social media, but they actually spend less time using it than their older counterparts. (They also seem to be better at getting away from their smartphones when they need to!)
2) Millennials like their jobs, and have better attitudes about them. They are also moving in to management positions, and are bringing different philosophies with them.
3) Self-centered? Millennials happen to be pretty generous.
4) Millennials respect their elders, and place the highest priority on being good parents and spouses.
5) While “social justice warrior” is mostly used as a pejorative, Millennials are socially conscious, and they are willing to put their money where their mouths are.
6) Millennials have suffered more financially in their early lives, but still save their money and are hopeful for the future.
7) Of course they want to do well, but millennials are no more entitled than the generation before them. In fact, they are less so!
So be careful not to stereotype this generation, which is likely becoming more and more important to your business! You would be wise to focus on the choices that millennials make with regards to the things that you can actually impact. Offering the best of new technology, access to diverse transportation options, and environmentally friendly living is a smart way to reach out to most potential residents, and especially millennials!
If you focus on the stereotypes instead of the statistics, you risk limiting your marketing by trying to appeal to the things that don’t really matter.
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