Thinking Like A Millennial

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We Millennials aren’t the lazy, narcissistic or the entitled fools the world seems to think we are. We are active and progressive thinkers, looking to make a real difference in the world. In 2017 in Australia we will become the biggest portion of our population and you better make sure you’re keeping up and embrace us because we are your customers and most likely the biggest portion of them.

I was born in 1985 and I am a proud Millennial. 1985 was a really progressive time in history the World was advancing rapidly. Michael Jackson’s thriller went to number 1. Music and pop-culture were changing and was used as a voice of liberation. Computers and mobile phones were picking up in consumer popularity and this interesting thing called the internet had begun its journey into our lives and by 1995 it has been funnily commercialised.

Sure, Millennials think and act differently to previous generations. But what new generation hasn’t disrupted their predecessors? Nothing is new, it’s just a different way.

In today’s blog you will learn:

  • What defines a Millennial Mind
  • Why it’s difficult for Millennials to conform to traditional thinking
  • How marketers can relate to Millennial thinking

There is a reason why they think and act the way they do. It’s not because they’re selfish or entitled. But privileged to have learnt from many amazing generations before who have fought for and have created opportunities for them like never experienced before. We have the chance to learn from our forefathers but then prefer to come up with our own ways of doing things – and rightfully so! These out of the box thinkers are the ones driving the future of our entire job market which means every marketer and CEO needs to either hire one as their assistant and be open to their ‘wacky’ ideas or start thinking like one to evolve traditional patterns of thinking. 

In order to understand how Millennials think it’s important to distinguish what sets them apart from the generations before.

First, you need to understand what millennials aren’t:

  • They aren’t slow decision-makers
  • They don’t sit back and wait for opportunities
  • They aren’t nearly as patient as other generations
  • They aren’t greedy, they love to contribute. It’s up to us to create opportunities that enable them to do this or they will do it for us (contrary to popular belief)
  • They definitely aren’t stupid, they seek education online, from friends, mentors and through experiences
  • They aren’t shallow
  • They don’t prioritise brand
  • They aren’t desktop native
  • They aren’t stuck in their thoughts

And Secondly what they are:

  • They are afraid of commitment (mostly commercially, they want flexible options keeping businesses accountable to doing their best)
  • They don’t want to be seen as children.
  • They are born after 1980
  • They appreciate the freedom to think, speak and act independently
  • They want to be respected
  • They are the first generation of human beings to be raised with daily use of technology
  • They are hardworking, motivated and highly capable of doing things well
  • They are sticklers for quality and good service
  • They are educated and opinionated
  • They appreciate being trusted to use their best judgement
  • They will often say yes to impulsive decisions just to find out what will happen
  • They are more experienced at their age than we were at that age because everything starts for them much earlier

The way Millennials think is truly unique and often shows a strong contrast to our predecessors. For this reason, it’s often hard for them to conform to traditional ways of thinking.

Why it’s difficult for Millennials to conform?

I think the real struggle comes from a little bit of jealousy of Gen X being able to do things to advance technology or society without the social backlash Millennials are facing. Why should they get to break all the rules and not suffer from any of the consequences? The perception of Millennials is they make impulsive decisions based on their immediate wants and needs without considering the impact it may have on other people, or on their future. They do things because they want to, and to them, that’s all that really matters. The truth is Millennials seem a lot more random, they know they don’t have the follow the playbook of life like previous generations. Millennials are highly conscious and as consumers will make purchase decisions based on future impact to themselves and their impact on society. They are conformist, just in the way they want to be, not in the way they’re told to be in the Playbook of life.

They were taught by Gen X and Baby Boomers that things were done a certain way for a reason; because if they did it the way they wanted to, it would be selfish and could possibly have negative repercussions for themselves or for someone else. They followed rules because we believed they were created for a reason, and because they didn’t want to suffer the same consequences as the person for whom the rule was made for.

[Tweet “Millennials grandparents found great comfort in consistency and certainty, and to a degree, so do they.”]

They like to know we can rely on a system to bring them the desired result. It’s safe and often guaranteed. They don’t necessarily find enjoyment in not having a plan of action, working during our time off, or taking unnecessary risks for the thrill of living in the moment.

How do we relate (Gen X, Marketers and Baby Boomers)?

Thinking like a millennial sounds easy. They are all online sharing their thoughts 24/7 so we can just check Facebook or watch tv and we will understand how they think, right? Wrong. The large majority of Millennials are completely different than the kinds most often depicted on tv, or online. It’s not fair to try and squash them all into the same bubble, there’s just too many of them. To relate to a Millennial you need to consider the world through the lens of their beliefs and values. If you’re able to embody a Millennial mindset then you can tap into a large consumer market.

Step 1. Define your Millennial Buyer Persona and tie a solution to their problem. If you want a working example… Check out Domino’s Pizza. They provide solutions to Millennial Pizza problems every day.


Problem: “I’m so hungry and I can’t be bothered waiting to know when my Pizza will arrive, an hour is too long! WHERE IS MY PIZZA MOFO!?”

Solution: Driver Tracker App – Allowing Pizza lovers to find out exactly where their Pizza is at, providing peace of mind and a fun distraction from your hungry tummy.

In marketing bridging the gap between the generations is critical! Millennials are the most active consumer market so if you don’t understand how they think then you are missing out on a HUGE opportunity. Like the generations before them, they’re entirely unique and marketers cannot assume they will react and engage with traditional forms of marketing. If you can master the Millennial way of thinking, then you master Millennial marketing!

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