Hi, this is a 1960 Baby Boomer reaching out.
I know we’re different, really different, in a lot of ways. Age is definitely part of it, after all I am 56, and at the young spectrum of my cohort known as the Baby Boomers–people who are between 52 t0 70 years old.
You, on the other hand, have a cohort of 19 to 35 year olds, and are referred to often as Generation Y or Millennials.
One thing we both share is that we are large populations, and therefore we influence a lot of key societal values from politics, to consumerism, to religious beliefs. This year, however, your numbers overtook ours—meaning your influence in society is beginning to ascend and ours is beginning to wane.
So how will that change things? If I want to communicate with you and understand you what do I need to know?
It’s a question that isn’t just one I’m asking a lot of people are asking it. In particular advertisers and institutions want answers.
After all, you are heading into the years where what you buy, how you vote, and how you behave generally will have a lot of impact on all of us.
Our differences some say may lead to age warfare, but I don’t believe that. Although commercials like this Toyota one do seek to emphasize our differences.
I don’t believe that our differences are going to separate us, instead all the research I’m finding on you says we may be the first inter-generational group that can really talk to one another, and that is because of who you are and what you value.
- The most educated of any generation that’s gone before.
- The most culturally diverse.of any generation that’s gone before.
- If a woman, considerably more educated than your male counterparts, and more likely to be a professional.
- A digital first native. A plugged in and cross platform generation that seeks out and embraces on-line communities and all the latest trends in technology.
- All that digital means your brain is rewired to multi-task and to expect quick results, making you a little bit impatient when things don’t happen fast or provide the intrinsic rewards you want.
- You equate self-fulfillment with self-acceptance, creativity, and self-expression
- You are happiest when you’re being positive and having fun.
- You aren’t necessarily getting the same fast ride to wealth and prosperity your parents had. You live at home longer, marry later, and worry more about your financial future.
- That said, Canadian millennials actually are economically better off than their American counterparts due to our public university education system, our maternity and paternity leave, and the fact that your parents did not go through the housing market meltdown which triggered the financial crises of 2008 in the USA.
- You are liberal and Inclusive. You’re supportive of diversity and equality in race, gender, and sexual orientation.
- You don’t put much store in traditional hierarchies, and see other age groups as more your equals then your betters. That results in you viewing your parents often as friends and support.
- You think family is important.
- You don’t put much store in religion.
- You value authenticity, transparency, and sincerity in institutions and individuals.
- You also value information which you consume more of than any generation before.
- You value work and want status and good jobs, but you don’t want to sacrifice your personal life to get those things, which actually leads to quite a bit of stress. Once working, you are busier than your baby boomer parents were!
- You lean toward supporting local initiatives in community and consider communities important whether on-line or off.
What’s interesting is that age isn’t likely to divide us in terms of your willingness to engage with me. So what do I have to do to catch your attention?
First I need to find you on-line where you do the majority of your interacting. That doesn’t just mean finding you on Facebook or YouTube, although your still there, despite the gurus who claimed that you would abandon these channels to your parents. What I need to understand though, is that you are going to be on-line on cross platform channels. Mobile is really big so any message I want to reach you better be mobile responsive. I need to keep trolling for the latest apps and trends on-line because you are doing that and are constantly updating to thinks like Kik or Snapchat.
When I do find you on-line most likely I’ll find you gathered around a like-minded communities. I can talk to you as long as I get that whatever content I deliver has to:
- Be authentic not deceptive
- Be entertaining and emotionally rewarding
- Be funny when appropriate
- Be relevant and evolving
- Be inclusive of others and open minded—no judgement
- Be Local as in leverage all the tools (video, giffs, text) to reach you
- Help you discover new things
- Inform you
- Inspire you and help you be creative
Did I miss anything? Let me know.