At Last, A Millennial Segmentation

Millennials are the most diverse generation in history, yet there is a tendency to assume they are the same when it comes to their technology habits, political beliefs, shopping behavior, food preferences, media habits, and more.  Last week, I learned of the first publicly accessible “LOHAS”-type segmentation equivalent for Millennials. It was created by the Kansas City-based integrated marketing agency, Barkley USA, which sponsors the ShareLikeBuy Millennial marketing conference,  in partnership with Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Will this schema be applicable to all marketing?  Probably not, but it serves as a useful reminder that when discussing Millennials, a box of crayons is more useful than a broad brush.

The study was based on a survey of 4,000 Millennials (ages 16 to 34) and 1,000 non-Millennials (ages 35 to 74) in the United States. The research profiles six  discrete segments based on responses to questions about technology, cause marketing, media habits, and general outlook on life: Hip-ennial, Millennial Mom, Anti-Millennial, Gadget Guru, Clean and Green Millennial, and Old-School Millennial. (See below)

What I like about this segmentation is that it transcends any particular category, issue or dimension and it also acknowledges the importance of lifestage in shaping consumer behavior. A millennial mom is not interested in the same things as a Hip-ennial. Likewise, it acknowledges that while the generation as a whole is defined by its passion for causes, interest in the environment, and use of technology, they are not true of all Millennials, and even goes so far as to identity an ‘Anti-Millennial’ segment.

In my conversations with Millennials, many say that they do not identify with all of the characteristics ascribed to their generation. This segmentation helps to drill down a bit into that issue. For marketers, these segments help to put a face on some of the more prominent Millennial ‘archtypes’.  You wouldn’t address a Gadget Guru in the same way as an Anti-Millennial when talking about technology, and perhaps a few other related categories.

Any blanket segmentation has limitations and this one is not a replacement for a category-specific Millennial segmentation, particularly if your category doesn’t readily line up with the dimensions used to create these segments.  Nevertheless, this research is a step in the right direction and should provide terrific starting point for those wishing to drill down into this cohort for specific insights that get beyond the generalities.

To access the full report, visit the BCG web site.

To learn more about the study, visit the Barkley web site.

Millennial Segmentation, source: BCG and Barkley US