Move Over Baby Boomers, Start Marketing To Millennials

marketing to millenials

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it and join the dance.” – Alan Watts

Last week, I learned an astonishing fact. It was a clarifying moment and a stark wake-up call to a surge of change that is about to challenge marketing’s entire way of being.

In 2014, the workplace is comprised of 50% baby boomers, 25% millennials and 25% other.

In one year, the workplace will completely flip to 50% millennials, 25% baby boomers and 25% other.


To state the obvious: the impact on business, marketing and our world will be epic. It’s time to hunker down, get smarter and prepare for this seismic shift.

How Is This Possible and Who’s Who?

Baby boomers, at 80 million strong, have enjoyed the spotlight for many years. The sheer size of this generation has justified the focus and attention. The millennial generation is sized at 71 million, a number adequate to eclipse the baby boomers.

Let’s start with some basic definitions:

Generation                 Born                 Coming of Age           Size 

Baby Boomers             1946-1965             1968-1988              80 million
Gen X                             1965-1980            1987–2002            41 million
Millennials ( Gen Y)         1980 – 2000         2002-2022             71 million


Marketing To Millennials

In a nut shell, millennials are individuals who are hyper-connected digitally, value community and transparency, demand responsiveness, crave flexibility and thrive in casual, non-hierarchical environments.

Here are five “F’s” that describe millennials and things they most value:

Fast: As children who grew up texting and connecting via social media, immediate responsiveness is critical. Millennials are a sophisticated bunch, and their grasp and engagement with social media and digital platforms is astonishing – they are tech-savvy whiz kids!

Operating in the age of immediacy and showing full transparency on-line (of their personal identity comprised of their personal and professional lives) is a stand-out hallmark of the millennial generation.

Flat: Millennials, while multi-dimensional, abhor hierarchy. They rail against the traditional corporate models of titles, levels and rigid structures. It’s not about authority, it’s about credibility. Companies that value creativity, reward results and operate with very flat organizations is the model that millennials understand and support.

Flexibility: The 9-5 , Monday through Friday work week is too stiff and strict for millennials. Eighty percent of millennials believe they should make their own work schedule. Forcing compliance into a cookie-cutter schedule will not be possible for companies trying to engage and employ millennials.

They will work when they want to work and manage to outcomes vs. hours. Money – not the prime motivator for millennials – will not likely change this perspective. Their view is that they would rather have no job than one that they hate.

Faraway: In addition, offices may become less popular as millennials become the majority. Remote workers and working from home or coffee shops is a millennial’s preference. The rise of the remote worker is here. Extend this thinking into “business casual” at the office every day all day.

The twist? Millennials view business casual as jeans and are content to work in them – no matter the profession or company – 100% of the time.

Friends: Getting likes and digital recognition among friends is a highly sought after event for millennials. My new friend Rob Fuggetta, CEO of Zuberance shared the PBS special, “Generation Like”, which explains this in a startling way. Co-workers are also important sources of friendships as 88% of millenials expect them to be friends.

The power of peer-to-peer reviews, comments and behaviors is now the key driver to brands and businesses.

Millennials, as consumers, are our new marketers.

What Does This Mean for Marketing?

This transformation is the most enormous one in our lifetime. Learning how to connect, collaborate and communicate with millennials is the single most important skill to develop… Right Now!


Right now the best way to connect and Get Help from our Authors is by Leaving A Comment. Don’t be Shy, We are here to help :)


Sandra Zoratti

Sandra Zoratti is an award-winning business leader/CMO, author, accomplished speaker and was honored with the Business Marketing Association’s 2012 Marketer of the year. She built and launched the data-driven marketing practice, "Precision Marketing" from the ground up and published her book on the topic in June 2012. Sandra has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration.

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  1. Steve Wright July 26, 2014 Reply

    It’s so cool of you to share such wise advice. ☺ Steve

  2. Author
    Sandra Zoratti July 27, 2014 Reply

    Steve, Appreciate your comment and glad you found the post interesting.

  3. Ryan Biddulph July 27, 2014 Reply

    Great looking blog JP!

    All the best with it 😉


  4. lori mcnee August 2, 2014 Reply

    This is so interesting and hard to believe! Times flies..
    I am now wondering how this will further impact the art market. Probably more online sales. But then, I’ll be curious to see what will be the price points of the Millennial online art buyer? Thanks for this info John and Sandra.

    • Good to see you here Lori. Sandra did a great job on this.

      I think it’s about awareness that there is another HUGE demographic that you now have to focus on and learn how to connect with.

  5. Author
    Sandra Zoratti August 5, 2014 Reply

    Lori, thank you for your comments and yes, it will be an interesting tale to see unfolding. Fortunately, we can do a lot of “iterative” marketing today, so that will help us figure the right path forward. thanks again.

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