Note to Millennials: You’re not worth it

Bob Hoffman, the self-proclaimed ‘ad contrarian’ says marketers are making a huge mistake in their obsession to outspend and out-think one another in connecting with the white hot Millennial target audience.

Speaking at a conference called “Shift 2016”, Hoffman said the following: “People over 50 years of age are responsible for 50 percent of all the spending in the U.S., and yet marketers allocate only 10 percent of their budgets to reaching this well-heeled group.”

He went on to say, “In the U.S., people aged 75 to dead buy six times more cars as people aged 16 to 24.” Hoffman said the reason brands of all types are laser-focused on reaching Millennials is because, well, all of their competitors are doing the same exact thing (think: Lemmings).

Hoffman is right and wrong. While he’s correct in saying we Boomers (and the last vestiges of the Greatest Generation) have far more disposable income, we’re also moving on to that great shopping mall in the sky (witness yesterday’s death of Frank Sinatra, Jr., at the relatively young age of 72).

So, it would be short-sighted, if not suicidal, for marketers to re-apportion their efforts to focus on the crowd.

That’s a win-lose, quarter-to-quarter strategy. So, while you may post record profits for the next five years or so, you’ll be left holding the bag down the road if you ignore next generation spenders.

And that, my friends, is the challenge we’re helping virtually every client try to figure out: How does one appeal to the deep-pocketed, 45-year-old mother of two in Jacksonville while simultaneously appearing authentic and personalized enough to appeal to her 21-year-old son about to graduate from Florida State?

It’s a delicate balancing act to be sure. But, I’d dismiss Hoffman’s comments as being borderline irrelevant (with the sole exception being Big Pharma, which markets more new drugs for more newly discovered 50-plus ailments than NJ Transit racks up daily delays).

So, fear not Millennials. We 50-plus, lemming-like marketers don’t think you’re worthless. We just don’t want to alienate Grandpa Ed while we’re finding genuine ways in which to become part of your consideration set.

And a tip of the hat to Michael “Lounge Lizard” Dresner for the idea for this post.

2 thoughts on “Note to Millennials: You’re not worth it

  1. The pre-historic species, advertsaurus does have the tendency to succumb to herd mentality. Perhaps marketers should take a look into their audience’s mindset instead of limiting their judgment to that age old crutch… age. Don’t examine the generational differences without examining the similarities. You may discover that different ages can actually care about, even love a brand for the same reasons.