Home » MBJ FEATURE » TODD SMITH — Pay close attention to all segments of millennials

TODD SMITH — Pay close attention to all segments of millennials



Listen up, brand leaders: What you have been told about millennials is (mostly) wrong.

According to new research from Carat, based on 14,000 millennials aged 15-to-34, this age group doesn’t quite meet the stereotype of “hyper-connected optimistic digital extroverts.” In fact, the stereotype applies to only about 42 percent of millennials, or about 36 million people.

The other 49 million have been somewhat neglected under the assumption that they belong to the same monolithic group.

Carat’s U.S. CEO and Global President, Doug Ray said marketing to millennials as one big segment is like marketing to an entire country. He said that problem might lie in the rush to amass behavioral data on millennials, focusing on cookie-level data that expires and doesn’t tell you about the person’s identity or mobile use. Then when one group’s digital voice is more easily tracked and studied than others’, it can lead to misunderstanding, as with millennials.

Using attitudinal and behavioral data, Carat broke down the group of 85 million in the segments below, as described by Michelle Lynn, executive vice president and managing director of Dentsu Aegis Network.

“Behind every data point is people,”  Lynn said. “The whole reason I’m doing [the study] is so these people are recognized as individual people, not one big generation… People want to feel like they’re recognized and their needs are being met.”

Trend-Netters – 42 percent  of millennials

This is the millennial stereotype or “digital extroverts spreading trends and experiences,” according to Carat. The group is fashionable, pop culture-savvy and impulse-driven. Because they’re constantly using devices to review, endorse and share, their voices are easily heard and tracked, often making them the public face of their age group. They like brands that communicate luxury and status. This group is “current,” Lynn said, but not true trendsetters.

Alter-Natives – 23 percent of millennials

Skewing younger, this group represents the “non-conformist digital native” who tends to be more privacy-aware online, according to Carat. “They only want to share with select people, and only let us know what they wanted us to know. They feel comfortable online on their own terms,” Lynn said. She added that the group’s privacy concerns might be a reaction to witnessing over-sharing online. The group tends to live at home with parents, use older gadgets and prefer transparent brands.

Lifeprenuers – 19 percent  of millennials 

Ambitious and lifestyle-aware, this group likes to balance work, home and health by setting boundaries. They’re couponers who like reliable and practical brands. “This group is a little old world with a twist,” Lynn said. “Digital is one of many things in their world. These people are okay with stepping away from [technology].”

BetaBlazers – 16 percent  of millennials

These are trendsetters with an adventurous spirit. This group tends to be more “effortlessly worldly” than the “Trend-Netters,” Lynn said, and they read highbrow and niche publications that represent different points of view. On this segment’s brand preferences, Lynn said, “It’s not the most popular brand necessarily, but it’s the one they seek out. Everything is a little more exclusive. They’re really the ones that are about story-driven brands. That story is an indicator of quality.”

Esther Lem, chief marketing officer of Chegg, a textbook rental, homework help, online tutoring, scholarships and internship matching site, said she wasn’t surprised by the research showing that millennials don’t fit into a stereotype.

Chegg’s consumer base is between the ages 15-and-25, and Lem said she spends a lot of time talking to students and hearing about what they’re going through as they prepare for college and job-searching. Millennials have a lot on their minds; it’s becoming the norm to take six years to complete a four-year degree and many graduate with an average of $30,000 in debt. Job prospects after school could be better, too.

“They’re an optimistic bunch, still going through it and coming out of it,” Lem said, adding that the group doesn’t take anything for granted. “[A marketer] has to dig deep to understand the insights that drive them,” Ms. Lem said. “It isn’t relevant to me to talk to this big broad group.”

The Carat study, called “The Millennial Disconnect,” was done by Copernicus, a Dentsu Aegis Network company. The study used CSS — quantitative, self-reported attitudinal, motivational data and media receptivity data, Carat said. Then the data was integrated with behavioral data from Nielsen NPM and digital panels. Respondents were also pixel-tracked, allowing a more “three-dimensional view,” the company said. Copernicus did the segmentation.

Political Ad Spending to Hit $11.4 Billion in 2016

Political advertising is expected to reach a record $11.4 billion in 2016, up 20 percent from the previous presidential election year, according to a new report from Borrell Associates.

While the bulk of the spending will continue to go to TV, Borrell expects 2016 to be the first election year in which spending on digital advertising tops $1 billion.

Adding in 2015 spending, Borrell figures that political advertising in this election cycle will total $16.5 billion.

About half the total spending will back the national election, while the other half is on behalf of candidates and issues in local races.

During the 2015-16 election cycle $8.5 billion is expected to be spent on broadcast TV, with $5.5 billion coming from national races and $3.1 billion spent on state and local contests. Cable TV will see $1.5 billion in spending, with $737.8 million coming from national contest and $729.2 million going for local races. Online and digital spending will total. $1.1 billion, with $664.8 million going for national races and $423.8 million spent on local contests.

Borrell calculates that presidential candidates will spend about $120.8 million each. Candidates for the U.S. Senate will be spending $7.3 million each.

Filthy Mic | Subway Slices Ties With Image Wrecker Jared

Subway has severed its ties to longtime spokesman Jared Fogle after news reports surfaced that he was pleading guilty to possession of child pornography charges.

Fogle initially had his relationship suspended by Subway in early July after federal authorities raided his home. At the time, the federal agents did not specify why they investigated Fogle’s residence, but it came less than two months after Russell Taylor, executive director of the Fogle Foundation, a group that is dedicated to helping teach kids healthy lifestyle habits, was arrested on child pornography charges. Following those charges, Subway and Fogle said they had severed all ties with. Taylor.

After the federal raid, Subway distanced itself by saying that it had “suspended” its relationship with Jared, but that language left some wiggle room for the brand to reinstate it. The company also removed its Jared references from its website, including what became an unfortunately named game on its kids’ site called Jared’s Pants Dance.

Even without the Jared situation, tumult is afoot in the company’s marketing department. Longtime Chief Marketing Officer Tony Pace departed the company this summer.  Subway, and its healthy brand, is in a pickle. It and Jared get a Filthy Mic!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.


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