Since World War II we’ve seen the ‘Baby Boomers’ (those born directly after the War until the mid 1960s), ‘Generation X’ (a generational group born between the 1960s until the early 1980s) and finally the ‘Millennials’ (born between the 1980s and early 2000’s) followed by ‘Generation Z’. Generation Z are still growing up and some may not yet even be a glint in the milkman’s eye.
But we’re not concerned with those young ones just now. As one of the biggest generations that the world has seen enters its prime spending years, it is the Millennials that market researchers are really focused on.
So how are these guys different from those that preceded them? There are lots of common characteristics present in the Millennial generation. They are passionate about their principles – ethics and politics are important to them, as is the morality of the organisation that they work for. They care about causes, the environment and the effect that they are having on others and the communities where they live.
Millennials are generally hard working and they believe in themselves and the power that their generation can have on others, and are happy to work collaboratively to achieve change. They also care about themselves – they try to live as healthily as possible as wellness is very important to them. Millennials are also very sociable animals. They are connected through various media – and are online pretty much every waking moment. But that has only been possible through the advent of technology, which is the single thing that sets this generation apart from its predecessors.
The impact of technology on the Millennials is immeasurable. They are the first truly digital generation; they grew up with rapidly advancing technology and are always keen to experience new technological advancements in their infancy. Their reliance on technology coupled with their increasing spending power (set to overtake that of the Baby Boomers in the coming few years) means that the market research industry has had to throw out the rulebook and start again.
As a generation, Millennials are sceptical of more traditional market research methods, meaning that qualitative market research is becoming more and more digital. Market research online communities is where qualitative market research has been heading with gusto for some years now, and it’s probably just at the start of a long journey along this path. Many market research jobs, whether in qual or quant, call for knowledge of online communities and doesn’t seem that things are going to change any time soon. Though the market researcher shouldn’t repine that the older methods are seeing change – there are numerous benefits to be had from using online communities versus traditional methods. For example, it’s easier for market researchers to run focus groups and surveys online, and the online communities also allow quicker response times to trends and news.
The world evolves, and, to cater for that, so does market research and market research jobs. When the generation who are being born at the moment enter into their prime spending years, we can only imagine what advancements the world will have made. But we’re sure that market researchers will be there adapting and ensuring that they are there obtaining the data they need. Who knows, the next generations might be smaller than the Millennials & Generation Z – there are fewer milkmen around these days you know….