How Marketers Should Use Generational Markers To Stay Relevant

My name is Emily and I am a MillenniOLD. This is a term I’ve coined that best suits the late-20s/early-30s millennial. Why is it important to distinguish the difference?

Millennials Were Born From The Early 80s To The Early 2000s

WHAT? So when advertisers are looking to reach me and my peers, I am looped into the same group as high school teens. (Ouch.) I am 28 years old and couldn’t be more different in my digital and social life. I use Facebook. I love Facebook!

In fact, let me take you back to a simpler time. In 2004, when I was a freshman at Louisiana State University, a buddy of mine at Emory called with an announcement that would change my online/offline life forever! Forget MySpace and the ‘top 8'. was coming to my school. I had to wait another week for LSU to have a registered .edu email with the site, but then we were in! It was an easy way to keep up with old friends and post anything from the personal milestone to mundane thoughts. (“The student union is out of sushi! WTF.”)

It was our way to show personality, interests, and maybe brag, just a little. What can I say? Social networking taught me to master the ‘skinny arm’ in photos. The difference from our younger counterparts is that we evolved with Facebook. Every update, format change, and security adjustment, we adapted. Not to mention, they also have me by the balls, because I’ve never saved any of my photos to a personal computer or drive. Sometimes the ‘lazy millennial’ stereotype is painfully and personally true.

Parents Just Don’t Understand

Well, when it comes to Facebook, they do! That’s why you see the younger millennials moving on to other social platforms: Vine, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. I’m sure that soon enough there will be apps that will make your cell phones self-destruct in 60 seconds after sending a message. (Note to self: get patent.)

It’s all about leaving no trace behind for teens, contrary to the MillenniOLDs who want to leave all traces of any accomplishment for mass consumption. I know this, because I have annoyed myself (and others) with my posts about my wedding this year. But seriously, check out our wedding website on the I digress…

What Should You Know About Millennials And MillenniOLDs?

1) Know your millennial target. The platforms and patterns of social networking are ever changing. But when I work to create engaging content with a brand or agency, I always dig deep to learn exactly who is their target millennial.

2) Don’t dumb it down. It is so important to know exactly who your target is and play to the top of that audience’s intelligence and humor. This generation, whether Gen Y, Gen X, Gen-tle, Gennifer… should be respected for their likes and taste preferences. This can be seen by their social footprint; easily tracked by friends, family, advertisers, and Big Brother.

3) Be real. Authentic. Our MilleniOLD generation can smell it from a mile away, so call it out before we can! Want to advertise your brand? Build a world around it, rather than giving us a commercial that leaves us with the message to ‘be sure to drink your Ovaltine.”

So marketing professionals, please hear my plea: “Not all millennials are created equal!”


Author Bio: Emily Zawisza is a performing member of Four Day Weekend and Director of Corporate Sales.

Four Day Weekend’s new book, Happy Accidents: The Transformative Power of “Yes, And” at Work and in Life, will be published by Wiley in September 5, 2017. Happy Accidents teaches each reader how to facilitate a positive attitude and make the most of every opportunity by bringing the most valuable and productive skills from improvisation into your daily work and home life

Emily spent four glorious years at Louisiana State University, where she majored in changing her major and tailgating. Her victory lap and ultimate degree is from the University of North Texas, which brought her back to Fort Worth. She enrolled in Four Day Weekend’s training center and was immediately hooked. This motivated her to move to Chicago to continue her improv comedy education, where she was accepted into and graduated from the world famous Second City Conservatory and iO Training Center.

While nights were spent performing with various improv troupes, she built a career on the intersection of comedy and business.  From her jobs at Groupon, The Onion, The Second City, and Slate Magazine, the common thread has been how humor and intelligent wit can be powerful tools in communication and business.