Millennials are Lazy, Impatient & Entitled…Or ARE They?

I’m a Baby Boomer. So what do I know about Generation Y, this ever evasive and seemingly divisive group, also known as Millennials?

Well, I have three grown millennial generation kids for starters.  Kids that I have raised and watched join the workforce.  We have held court around the dinner table regarding all things “millennial” over the past decade.  Or so it seemed on many nights.

I also have access to Google…

Generation Y, or millennials, are people born between 1982 and 2002.

Some of the most common knocks on this generation include:

  • Millennials are lazy.
  • Millenials are entitled.
  • Millennials are impatient.
  • Millennials have no respect for their elders or authority.

These often heard complaints have led many marketers to discount them and their massive current and future buying, political, and social shaping influence.

Newsflash… these exact complaints are almost identical to what older generations have been saying about the generations that follow them since the dawn of time.  They just said it to a neighbor over the backyard fence or after PTA meetings instead of on their Facebook feeds to their 74 REAL friends and relatives, thereby adding a fun little viral element to the generational rant. (Just wait till my Mom discovers how to create her own memes.  God help us)

Remember these?:

 “Hey kids, get off my lawn!!"


“Pull your pants up, get a haircut and get a real job."

The facts are in.  And, while there may be some element of truth to these knocks on millennials, having worked in Hollywood for much of my career I can recall plenty of lazy, impatient, entitled jag-offs with no respect for authority sporting half a head of gray hair and $4,000 suits, so let’s call it a wash.  Let’s get down to the reasons why, as marketers, we shouldn’t discount or write off the millennials easily.

Millennials are globally concerned, diversity minded, tech savvy, multi-tasking team players.

They have access to information through technology like no other generation in history and they use it better, faster, and more fearlessly than the Silent Generation, Boomers or Gen-Xers. 

While other generations have largely been fine with front end marketing messages, fully controlled by the brand, to help inform their buying decisions, millennials “check under your product or service’s hood” to see if they are getting the best deal possible.  They also want to see if your brand allows them access to weigh in on their buying decision and to see if your brand “cares” about social issues or charities as much as they do.  Ignore these millennial “facts of life” regarding how millennials make buying decisions at your own marketing peril.

Millennials want entertainment that is interactive.  Social collisions.  Marketers in the casino, golf, and bowling arenas should be taking a hard look at how to tweak the experience to capture the most millennial buck possible.

(See Top Golf for a good example of an entertainment brand that has taken golf and brought a social collision element to their offering.  They are killing it! )

Need more reinforcement?

Here are some facts about millennials according to The Future Foundation’s Millennial Study and Pew Research that may help you make sure to give this generation the proper marketing attention moving forward.

  • Millennials will comprise more than one in three of adult Americans by 2020.
  • Millennials will make up as much as 75% of the U.S. workforce by 2025.
  • Millennials account for more than $1 trillion in U.S. consumer spending.
  • Constitute 27% of the U.S. population.
  • 63% of millennials want their employers to contribute to a social or ethical cause they feel is important.
  • 30% use four or more devices a day.
  • Millennials check their smart phones an average of 43 times daily.
  • 93% have purchased a product after hearing about it from a family member or friend.
  • 89% trust these recommendations more than claims by the brand.
  • 68% of millennials are completely unfazed by celebrity endorsements or star-studded ads.
  • 93% read reviews prior to making a buying decision.

Finally, from my own personal research…0.0% of this generation has ever trampled my lawn.

Darrin McAfeeComment