The Management Series

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Nov 2017

A Millennial Crib Sheet

It seems we talk ad nauseum about millennials as a crucial market segment. But do we really understand what makes millennials tick?

Keith Niedermeier, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school, thinks he does. He has been teaching marketing to millennials since the generation began entering college 18 years ago and shared his insights into this very different generational group on Wharton’s Marketing Matters radio show.

Millennials, he says, are defined by multiple influences, including digital technology, the financial crisis, skepticism and having a popular culture far more fragmented than the past. Niedermeier discusses the specific marketing challenge each characteristic poses.

The changing shape of popular culture, for example, doesn’t give marketers the easy-to-find pegs of music or television that past generations offered.

“I could tell you 10 albums that everyone my age had. That’s absolutely not true…of this generation,” Niedermeier says. “From a marketing perspective, that becomes a huge challenge because there’s not one band or one pop star or one television show that everyone connects with.”

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