A Researcher’s Perspective on What “Millennial” Really Means


The term “Millennials,” describing today’s youngest generation to reach adulthood, is thrown around a lot. When you think of Millennials, do you think of privileged hipsters with a knack for tech? If so, let’s take a step back. It’s time to admit that the Millennial has become a caricature. This might produce some great entertainment (like this SNL skit), but it’s not helpful to those trying to glean real information about generational groups. We’ve got to understand that Millennials are not a clique of hip, white 20-somethings with rich parents; they’re America’s largest and most diverse generation, and when it comes to analyzing them or any other age cohort they deserve a fair shake.

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Extend the Life Expectancy of Your Segmentation with Big Data

Editor’s Note: This is the final installment of a three-part series discussing how Big Data can be exploited to enrich market segmentations.

When clients request segmentation research, we often start the discussion by asking if segmentation is really what they need. Included in that discussion is consideration of how long the segmentation is expected to or should live in the organization. For some brands, the answer is short term (one to three years). For others, there is a desire for a solution to live on for five to 10 years, which feels like an eternity. How can this be accomplished, given the pace of change in the world today? As you may have guessed, Big Data has a role to play.

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Three Ways to Conduct Smarter Segmentation Research

One reason many segmentation studies are underutilized is that market researchers and their research partners fail to understand the many ways this rich information can be leveraged.

After a segmentation study, we tend to focus on putting individual members into specific buckets. Sounds logical, right? But, there are a number of ways to determine segment assignment, and, if pushed, these tools can provide us with even more information. The more we can get from a segmentation study, the more useful it can be across an organization.

Here are three ways your segmentation can make a greater impact in your organization:

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Successful Segmentation Starts with the End in Mind

“We did a segmentation study a couple of years ago, but it didn’t tell us anything.” 

It is not uncommon to hear this comment from clients. As a market research consultant, I believe there is an obligation to dig in further. Why did the past attempt(s) at segmentation not produce actionable insights? What is the end goal for this segmentation? How can this segmentation build upon and be integrated with existing data?

As advisors to our clients, our role in a segmentation engagement involves more than simply providing a new framework. We must begin with the recognition that all our clients currently have a segmentation scheme in place, even if the sales force only uses it implicitly. Understanding current and past segmentations, as well as how and by whom the segmentation will be used, is essential to the success of a new segmentation framework.

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