The truth about millennials: 4 myths debunked

The truth about millennials: 4 myths debunked.

4 millennial myths debunked + 3 useful facts revealed.

July 12, 2017

We hear a lot about the wonder of millennials in business, particularly on how they can transform our marketing and customer experience.

In this post, we look at what a millennial is and what all the hype is about. We debunk four common myths and give you three facts you can work with.

What is a millennial?

It depends on who you ask. Broadly speaking, millennials are anyone born between 1976 and 2004. They’re also known as Generation Y, Digital Natives, Generation Me, Generation Rent, Echo Boomers or even the subset: Xennials.

People say lots of things about millennials. Luckily, as this is probably the most studied generation of modern times, most of this is based on research.

The biggest myths about millennials.

We’re heading into dangerous waters here as we start to make some generalisations.

Myth #1 – Millennials are young.

Not necessarily. When people talk about hiring or marketing to millennials they general mean young people.

Did you know that today millennials are aged between 13 and 41? Click To Tweet

Did you know that today millennials are aged between 13 and 41? That’s probably the bulk of your workforce already.

Myth #2 – Millennials are more technology savvy.

As digital natives, millennials are big consumers of technology. Apps are their go-to aides for connecting with others, shopping, doing their banking and generally making life easier.

Millennials aren’t the only tech savvy people though. The baby boomers invented the internet, Generation X grew it, and the millennials, along with other generations, are living it.

In business, we need tech savvy people to help us to stay efficient and deliver the great buying experience that customers expect. This is easier to do in a start-up where you’re working from a clean slate and becomes more complex for established businesses with legacy systems to consider.

Ultimately, millennials can use tech, but can they build it? Click To Tweet

Ultimately, millennials can use tech, but can they build it? For me, this is a skillset that isn’t possessed by the average 13-41 year-old, if there is such a thing.

Myth #3 – Millennials are unique global citizens.

I think we’d all agree that the information age has shrunk the world, bringing us all closer. Young people have enjoyed backpacking across the world for years and millennials are taking this to a new level, digitally and in ‘real life’.

This increased global awareness comes with a sense of responsibility. We see this translating into action every day through recyclable packaging, reusable shopping bags and trend for buying locally.

Millennials expect companies to be responsible, both socially and environmentally. This is so important that they choose local or ethical suppliers over those with seemingly lower corporate citizenship credentials.

But, none of this is new.

In fact, most young people throughout modern times have identified with these values. The difference is that we’re now listening to younger people, so their ideas are becoming more mainstream.

Myth 4 – Millennials are entrepreneurs.

Millennials are leaving education at economically challenging times when jobs have been in short supply.

Some stay in education longer just to wait it out and increase their chances of finding work.

Those who do find work have less job security so take an entrepreneurial approach to their careers. They tend to move jobs frequently to build their experience and develop their skills so they become more marketable.

Other millennials take advantage of low barriers to starting up their own business. Cheap and easy access to technology, government support schemes, and a desire to be in control of how and when they work spur their businesses on.

None of this is unique. There’s actually a surge in the over 50s starting businesses, with 1 in 5 older people being self-employed, more than any other age group. And, check out this article on Olderpreneurs becoming the UK’s fastest growing start-up group.

1 in 5 older people are self-employed, more than any other age group. Click To Tweet

Three useful facts about millennials.

  1. Millennials are not a singular group.
  2. Some individuals from other generations love their smartphones, Fitbits, and selfies too. These aren’t just for young people.
  3. Just because someone is termed a ‘millennial’ it doesn’t mean they’re a young, tech conversant, entrepreneurial, environmentalist. It doesn’t mean they’re not either.

If you need any further clarification, hear a comedic perspective from Adam Conover here:

Should I recruit a millennial?

This is a question I often hear from business owners and I hope my post has answered your question. If not, feel free to read on.

The term ‘millennial’ is a swooping generalisation that covers a vast range of different people. In fact, ‘millennial’ doesn’t really tell us anything useful at all. I think we’ve mistakenly replaced the word ‘young’ with ‘millennial’ and it just causes confusion.

Here are some more useful ways to group people, whether it’s for your marketing or for your recruitment strategy:

  • Life stage
  • Career aspirations
  • Interests
  • Motivations
  • Ethics
  • Tech savviness

These are just a starting point. There are many more. If you need some guidance on sharpening up your personas, check out our post.

Let’s move away from using the term ‘millennial’. It’s unhelpful at the best of times. Click To Tweet

Let’s move away from using the term ‘millennial’. It’s unhelpful at the best of times.

Can we just talk about young go-getting graduates, tech-savvy teens, fun fashionistas, enthusiastic entrepreneurs seeking mentors, or family-focused fathers instead?

Other articles you may be interested in:

How to create B2B customer personas and why you need them.

How to write your marketing plan on just one page.

5 winning marketing tips for successful B2B start-ups.