Social media and pop culture seem to have influence over the perception we have about any generation. However, millennials, or those 18 to 34 years old, seem like they are part of a misunderstood generation, accused of being narcissistic for taking one-too-many selfies and lazy for not having jobs.
In an effort to better understand millennials and find out their needs and wants, a recent article on AdWeek has organized this generation, some 80 million young adults, into 12 categories, which are briefed in this article. The data analysis of 4 million young adults by Exponential, a digital advertising network, was presented during Advertising Week in New York this year.
While the research is fascinating, keep in mind that these personality types do not portray all millennials. These types are just an idea of the kind of prospects you might encounter, how to relate to them and what stages in life they might be in. Maybe some millennials present a kaleidoscope of these traits in their own personalities, but if you’re patient and listen to your client or prospect’s needs, you should be able to understand and serve them better.
1. Boss babes
If you have watched “Scandal,” the TV show, then you know we’re talking about an Olivia Pope-type of millennial, played by Kerry Washington. She’s fierce, ambitious, assertive and focused on her career. She has a high purchase power and professional influence. She might also not be interested in dating.
(Photo: Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in ABC’s “Scandal.” AP Photo/ABC, Eric McCandless)
Beer and sports with a hint of “nerd” and a dash of “fist-pumping,” “brogrammers” (“bros” + programmers) are the latest version of Revenge of the Nerds, if the nerds actually were jocks or vice versa, at some point. For example, Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel is an illustration of who brogrammers are.
(Photo: Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
See also: Why should you focus on millennials?
3. The underemployed
You might have read their résumés at one point or another. Some might have even applied for an entry-level position, even though their education and/or experience would place them at a higher level or higher earning position. But they’re desperate and need to pay off their student loans or just want to have a job to become more financially independent from their parents. The article chose Hannah Horvath, the character from HBO’s “Girls” played by Lena Dunham, as the illustration of this type of millennial.
These millennials might also still have roommates to be able to afford rent in the most desirable cities for young people.
(Photo: Lena Dunham from HBO’s “GIRLS.” Dan Steinberg/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)
4. The shut-out
If educated millennials are having a hard time finding their way in this economic market, the “shut-outs” are worse off. These are unemployed millennials with impractical degrees or no college education. For example, from TV’s “New Girl,” Nick Miller is a law school dropout, who is stuck in limbo. According to the article, many can’t afford college and it would take them 10 to 15 years to recover the lost ground, “and that’s if they started today. Each month of unemployment creates a wider gap in their resume, and many economists fear they have the makings of a permanent underclass,” the article states.
(Photo: Actor Jake Johnson who plays Nick Miller on the television series “New Girl.” Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP)
5. The nostalgics
And of course by “nostalgics” they just mean “hipsters” or those who fetishize blue-collar traditions or have returned to their childhood pastimes for comfort, according to the article. A great illustration is basically every character in “Portlandia.” It’s kind of cool to “rediscover” the “old” or “vintage” (like when I found my mom’s 1970’s “Saturday Night Fever” LPs) and that’s exactly what these hipsters do: seek comfort in nostalgia.
(Photo: In this undated file publicity image released by IFC, Fred Armisen, left, and Carrie Brownstein appear in a scene from the IFC series “Portlandia.” Armisen’s famous quip on the show that Portland is “a city where young people go to retire,” led Portland State University researchers to investigate the reality behind the comment. AP Photo/IFC, Scott Green, File)
6. Travel enthusiasts
Not very affluent, world-trotting adventurers are trying to satisfy their insatiable wanderlust. Travel enthusiasts use their smartphone with tons of travel apps to get the best deals and do self-guided tours. They feel like a citizen of a borderless global culture and have a sense of travel safety. The article says Canadian travel vlogger (video blogger) Nadine Sykora is an example of this type of millennial.
7. Culinary explorers
What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten? Of course you can’t talk about millennials without talking about “foodies” or a person interested in food and beverages who seeks new food experiences as a hobby.
Chef and food stylist Camille Becerra is the illustration of this type of millennial. Culinary explorers thrive on exotic and authentic cuisine experiences and are usually more affluent than travel enthusiasts, but have less time to leave town.
(Photo: Instagram screenshot)
8. The exuberants
Maybe this type of millennial is the one that most people claim to “know” or have heard about. The exuberants are characterized by being defined by the image they project on social media. They’re constantly updating their many profiles to maintain that public image with selfies. They blog about everything. They are also socially competitive and driven to try new things because of the fear of missing out (FOMO). Although Kim Kardashian comes to mind, the article says that a great example of this type of millennial is Aziz Ansari’s character, Tom Haverford, in the TV show “Parks & Recreation.”
(Photo: Aziz Ansari arrives at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
9. The collectors
They might look like “passive” social media users, but in reality, these types of millennials are absorbing everything on the web like a sponge, but rarely create any social media content themselves. They are “digital listeners” and are illustrated by the weird, yet highly intelligent and silly, like Abed Nadir, a character from the TV show “Community” (played by Danny Pudi). They are typically introverted and like to discover experiences posted by exuberants, maybe living vicariously through them, because they either lack the time or the resources to enjoy that experience in person.
Interestingly enough, the research found that most millennials are actually collectors.
(Photo: Danny Pudi with a puppet of his character courtesy of Samsung Galaxy, taken during the Paley Center for Media’s PaleyFest, honoring “Community,” at the Saban Theatre, Tuesday March 5, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Parry/Invision/AP)
10. The quarter-life crisis millennial
Have you ever been to the coffee section of your grocery store? There are so many choices: bean types, regions or countries, different roasts, bean blends and flavored coffee … Paralyzed by so many options, this type of millennial wouldn’t be able to pick one coffee from the store, if picking coffee from a shelf were a life choice, of course.
The quarter-life crisis millennials are plagued by severe student loan debt, “helicopter-parent” upbringing, a chronic inability to choose anything from lifestyle purchases to career opportunities, and a tendency to pursue a wide range of religions and spiritual identities, according to the article. The somewhat exaggerated example of this millennial is cartoon character Cheryl from “Archer.”
11. Millennial Marthas
The Martha Stewarts of the new millennium, these are millennials who make everything crafty and stylish, no skill or sweat required, at least to onlookers. While they produce a lot of social media content, like exuberants, they are focused on their expertise areas. “Millennials bookmark to privately gather and filter inspiring ideas, which they can use to help define their identities, then use social media to share this image. From an outsider perspective, this makes their image appear authentic and effortless,” the research found. An example of this millennial is YouTube personality Bethany Mota.
12. Millennial moms
Forty-six percent of millennial women born between 1980 and 1995 are moms. Millennial moms are usually all over Facebook and very active on other social media networks. The research found that they have a high purchasing power, 71 percent of them work, while they feel socially pressured to “have it all,” they are also very focused on health and are interested in DIY, fitness, home and décor.
And what about millennial dads? “What may be unnerving is that there’s no expectation for millennial dads – no consensus on what he should do and even little sense of men changing in a significant way as they become parents,” the research found.
You can read the full article here.