State Farm Embraces Non-Linear Lifestyle of Millennials

Posted by: Laura Fromm

Millennial parents are changing the definition of traditional families. Young adults aged 18 to 34 no longer follow a linear path from graduation to marriage before starting a family. It’s not uncommon to see a young person have children before marriage or to merge two families into one. For brands, this also changes the way they market to this age group. Instead of basing a messaging strategy on typical demographics as we did in the past, the best brands today are focusing more specifically on need state targeting.

Rather than targeting a person based on their presumed needs correlating to their age and assumed stage in life, need state targeting is a concept that appeals to an audience based on their particular consumer needs at any given point in time. A 30-year-old today may be working hard to become financially stable and establish a career despite the fact that, based on the average demographic data, their age dictates that they should be focusing on raising a family.

“When we are thinking about messaging to millennials, we have to remind ourselves that their lifestyles are no longer linear,” said Patty Morris, Director of Brand Content at State Farm. Major milestones are not being reached in a prescribed order as they did in year’s past and its important for brands to recognize the changing lifestyles of millennials.

State Farm understands this dynamically changing nuclear family, and got it right in it’s insurance commercial “At Last”. The spot features a wedding in which the wife and groom are on the older end of the millennial generation and already have children of their own. Blended families such as the one in this commercial are becoming common in today’s society as many millennials are checking life milestone boxes out of order.

“We asked ourselves, what are the relevant points in life that happen regardless of age or demography and came to the result that State Farm has solutions for your life, not just your stuff,” Morris said.

Unlike baby boomers, State Farm reminds us that millennials today no longer value traditional schemas. Millennials are more likely than previous generations to delay marriage. Fifty years ago, the average groom was 23 and the bride was just over 20 years old, however that age keeps climbing. Recent data reveals that the average age for a man getting married is 29 years while women are around 26.5.

Aside from marriage, other schemas are changing for millennials as well. These same millennials are more likely to continue renting homes well into parenthood, and consider parenthood a shared partnership. Women want their husbands portrayed properly in the media and rank a brand higher if the advertisement shows an engaged father. With 40 percent of women being the sole or primary source of income for the family, dad is no longer always the breadwinner. This is up from only 11 percent of women being the main source of income in 1960. Some of this increase is attributed to single mothers, but almost four in ten (37%) comes from married women.

Millennials preferences are continuously changing, and it is important that the way brands target this age group does too. Need state targeting, as State Farm has emulated, is important for today’s brands to adopt in order to capture the non-linear lifestyle of todays millennials.

About Laura Fromm

Laura recently graduated summa cum laude from Tulane University's A.B. Freeman School of Business. Laura has experience working on social strategies for clients ranging from Blue Bunny to On the Border. Her experience at Yelp...See Laura's full bio.