My daughters, J and N, are 12 and 10 respectively. According to this article, they are considered millenials, born at the tail end of this cohort. So what’s being said there completely applies to them. And their electronic devices seem to be their lifeblood right now.
Not so much with texting, thank God. Only one of them has a cellphone, and she doesn’t even text friends that much. But they love to be on the computer and play Minecraft (a dated early 80’s-style virtual world game that makes absolutely no sense to me, but they love. At least they aren’t destroying things and mowing people down with video semi-automatics). They can research stuff that I can’t even begin to find and making their way through the internet like it’s a garden path. Sometimes they know how software works better than I or, even worse, my IT guy husband. Now that’s humbling.
They are forever changing their iPod wallpapers with pictures that are age-appropriate but of unknown origin. They hop onto Drawcast and Instagram to create works of art and communicate with friends and followers (yes, I monitor that constantly). And if I want their undivided attention, I have to confiscate their Nintendo DS game system.
If given the choice, they don’t really want to listen to local radio. They’ll just turn on their iTunes-downloaded music. They won’t have to wait for a broadcast or even record a program. They can simply go to Hulu or even YouTube.
So how are advertisers going to make them part with their dollars? Certainly not with long-standing forms of traditional advertising – newspapers, magazines, radio and network TV.
Yet that’s what a lot of the baby boomer marketers and ad pros still want to do. As much kerfuffle there is about pouring more marketing dollars into social media and web marketing, it’s still not targeted to these 9 to 30 year olds. And even though companies prominently display Facebook, Twitter and other follow icons, do they really know how best to work them?
One of my precious girls said it best when we were talking about how much screen time they have and encouraging them to read more, like our local newspaper.
“We won’t have to worry about that. Newspapers will be gone, Mom.”
So sad, but likely so true.