Villing & Company

What Do Millennials Know That The Rest Of Us Don't?

With the exception of some important baseball stats, I'm generally not a numbers kind of guy. The science of sociology isn't exactly my thing either, although it is an important tool for anyone in marketing communications. But yesterday, some sociological statistics definitely grabbed my attention. Let's see how you react to these numbers posted in USA Today:

How Millennials see themselves in the workplace and how they're seen

How Millennials describe themselves How HR professionals describe them
65% PEOPLE-SAVVY 14%
35% TECH-SAVVY 86%
82% LOYAL TO EMPLOYERS 1%
14% FUN-LOVING 39%
86% HARD WORKING 11%

While the story in which these numbers were featured focused on employee recruitment and retention, statistics of this kind should have relevance to marketers. Much has been written about the role of Millennials as consumers. So this obvious disconnect between how they see themselves and how others see them has profound ramifications.

One might suspect that there also would be discrepancies between the views other demographic segments have about themselves and those others may have about them, but I seriously doubt that the divide would be this great. If the above statistics are valid, how does one effectively market products or services to young adults born after 1980?

I'm reminded of the classic ad campaign for Rolling Stone that always featured the dual headline, PERCEPTION/REALITY. What is the reality here? Should we market to Millennials based on how they see themselves or how others see them? And which of these views is closer to reality?

If anyone has any thoughts on how marketers should interpret this data, I'd love to hear from you. Please use our contact form to send me an email.

Until then, I'll just use the line of a former creative director here at Villing & Company who loved the expression, "It's a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."

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