How well do you know Millennials?

January 30, 2019

Millennials are generally defined as those born between 1980 and 1996 (23-39 years old).

Most millennials, after being told they are the “dream future”, are struggling financially and emotionally. 

It is not very different in Malaysia with the high cost of homes, cars and loans.

Their life is harder than it was for their parents at the same age. 

According to a survey on Malaysian millennials by the Asian Institute of Finance last year, 38% have personal loans, 47% deep in credit card debt and only 28% confident in financial literacy.

Yet marketers bombard this demographic daily, thinking this is the pot at the end of the rainbow. 

As a result, they are the generation that has received the most marketing attention.

One marketer told me millennials hold the highest consumer market share currently. 

Really? We know millennials are 30% of the Malaysian population. Has the other 70% disappeared?

Almost 60%, or RM6.2 billion of Malaysian advertising expenditure (adex) is spent targeting to millennials.  

Is this because major media owners’ rate cards are fashioned that way or that it is the main subject of “in-depth” studies in proprietary media research by experts? 

Sivanathan Krishnan, CEO of homegrown media specialist Trapper Media Group, tells me, “70% of adex is spent building a new customer base which is the M40 and the millennials for fear of losing out on future customer segments.”

The M40, not the famed motorway connecting London and Birmingham, is our middle household income group with a median income of @RM6,275 (2016), and represents 40% of the population. 

We also know a shocking number of millennials go into debt just to keep up with their friends. 

Do we need to scare them into the FOMO syndrome? Or keep feeding their “instant gratification” frenzy?

My issue is not about millennials, but the fixation marketers have that this is where every campaign should be.

This herd marketing thinking is alarming (bliss to their rivals though). 

It’s convenient and easy, since “everybody is doing it”. 

Mark Twain framed this irony best: “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” 

Do marketers know that according to a Pew Research study (US) five years ago, only 20% of millennials trust other people. Let alone marketing messages?

All I am saying is: question everything. 

Let’s revisit some marketing assumptions. 

FOMO is Fear Of Missing Out (you’ve missed nothing)

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