599649731_f1ba273800Here’s where my work in College Access and parental involvement kicks in. I just finished reading ‘Millennial Muddle: How Stereotyping Students Became an Industry’. I couldn’t help but feel a little vindicated. The following quote really resonated with me:

“Over the last decade, commentators have tended to slap the Millennial label on white, affluent teenagers who accomplish great things as they grow up in the suburbs, who confront anxiety when applying into super-selective colleges, and who multitask with ease as their helicopter parents hover reassuringly above them. The label tends not to appear in renderings of teenagers who happen to be minorities, or poor, or who have never won a spelling bee. Nor does the term often refer to students from big cities and small towns that are nothing like Fairfax County, Va {Where ‘Millennial’ research was conducted}. Or who lack technological know-how. Or who struggle to complete high school. Or who never even consider college. Or who commit crimes. Or who suffer from too little parent support. Or who drop out of college. Aren’t they Millennials, too?’

Seriously. Marketing to a Millennial is like marketing to a Virgo. How many students – strike that – how many of YOUR students fit this profile? Should any more effort be applied to a stereotype than to an individual? What ever happened to just communicating with the best possible content for your audience in the best way for that audience? Personally, I feel lumping a generation into one name sake is the opposite of good marketing – do your research. Find out about your target audience. Specifically. I’m all for segmentation, and the few insights into ‘kids today’ but not all of these attributes apply to all – or most – of ‘our’ students.

What about yours?

2 Comments

  1. insidetimshead says:

    Amen! I’ve been railing, seemingly in vain, against the whole Millennial stereotyping/cottage industry for a long time. While researching my master’s thesis (on the stereotype development for so-called “Generation X”), I found Howe and Strauss already lining up their rosy picture of Millennials in a 1992 Atlantic Monthly article. When the very oldest members of the generation were, what, 10 years old? Talk about putting the presumptions before the horse. The Arts and Sciences Group did a presentation at SUNYCUAD a few years ago deflating the myth, but apparently couldn’t get mainstream media to listen.

    In other news, I’m also a Virgo, for what that’s worth.

  2. I tend not to read many articles about Millennials, but the “Millenial Muddle” article caught my attention. The article stated millenials are “people born between 1982 and 2004” Seriously?! You can not group people born in three different decades together. It’s like marketing to people in different countries. They look for different things. The millennial profile of “white, affluent teenagers who accomplish great things as they grow up in the suburbs, who confront anxiety when applying into super-selective colleges, and who multitask with ease as their helicopter parents hover reassuringly above them” is only a fraction of the people born between ’82 and ’04. Find what your audience has in common and leverage that.

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