Posted in on September 1, 2010

Older Generations Puzzle over Today’s Youth (Redux)

While Creating Results spends its time focusing on Baby Boomers and beyond, marketer Carol Phillips focuses on Millennials.  After two “what’s the matter with kids these days” articles in high-profile publications, she mused about a Generational Culture Gap on her blog.

“Millennials have a way of driving older folks crazy … Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers find this generation puzzling, and rather than strive to understand the differences, instead are inclined to view them negatively.  It’s as if they were visiting a foreign country, and instead of trying to understand the culture, they respond with, ‘Eww, look at them, can you believe it??!’

… Millennials meet the definition of a subculture. Data and experience both show that Millennials look at many things — work, food, religion, politics, fashion and more —  differently.”

Phillips calls for all to suspend judgment and truly get to know their targets – good advice whether you’re marketing to a 50-something Baby Boomer or a 70-something senior or a 20-something Millennial. 

As a marketing  professional who specializes in the language, customs and drivers of Baby Boomers and other older generations, I’d venture pretty much every young cohort has a way of driving the older generations crazy.

* The “Silent Generation” (born roughly between 1925 and 1945) got its moniker from a Time cover story.  The reporter (from an older cohort) sure sounded frustrated with the kids of his day.  He bemoaned their lack of activism and reported that “the girls want a career – and marriage.”

* Baby Boomers (1946-1964) drove their elders crazy with their hairstyles, clothing, protests, drugs and more.  Heck, “Bye Bye Birdie” was all about a (musical) generational culture gap.

* Time_Magazine_Cover_Generation_XThe nickname for Gen X (born roughly between 1965 and 1945) was popularized by yet another magazine article.  At the time, the other name being used for this cohort of stand-for-nothing underachievers was the “Postponed Generation” because young adults kept moving back home.

Phillips wraps up her fine post by saying “It’s not better or worse, it’s just different.” 

In my view it’s not better or worse, but quite familiar!

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