Millennials: The Most Stressed Out Generation and What it Means for Marketing

In 2012, the American Psychological Association released a study that found that the ability for Americans to manage stress and achieve healthy lifestyles varies by age.

They found that “younger Americans [Millennials] report experiencing the most stress and the least relief” and “report higher stress levels than older generations.”

Specifically, Millennials, like older Gen Xers, are most likely to say they are stressed by finances, job security, and work.  Not surprising consider the impact of the 2008 recession on youth unemployment around the world (youth unemployment is currently at 14.5%, double the national average).

How do Millennials manage stress?  Well according to this report, Millennials are more likely than other generations to listen to music, spend time with friends or family, eat, and shop!  They are much less likely to go to religious services than other generations.

This report, which I stumbled upon last week, rings true to what we’re seeing here in Canada.  My students at Carleton and Millennials we interview are stressed out about what to do with themselves when they graduate.  The idea that we are dreamers wanting to be the Chief Executive in a few years might be true, but that dream dies fast when the reality of the job market hits.

What does this “stressed out” generation mean for marketers?

Over at the blog, Steve Olenski writes that with this higher stress level, the importance of marketing efforts making a relationship is greater:

“But, what I will say is that any brand, advertiser, marketer, whatever that can create a relationship – and I mean a true honest-to-goodness relationship where Mr. and Mrs. Brand really understand a Millennial – well that can only be a good thing. It will surely resonate with this over-stressed crowd and maybe, just maybe, help sway them toward the brass ring: loyalty.”

Keeping in mind this, here are some tips for marketing to Millennials:

We want to be recognized – Successful Millennial marketing connects with Millennials and recognizes what they are going through.  Brands and organizations that recognize Millennials are struggling, insecure, but optimistic about the future will find more successful than others.

We want to be unique – Successful Millennial marketing does not treat all Millennials the same but understands them at their socio-economic or demographic level but also at their psychographic level asking showing how their product or service appeals to the different Millennial personalities.  A personal relationship through marketing can only be built if you understand the consumer well enough to really connect with them.

We want you to be online – If you are not online and make it easy for us to sort through the many competitive options and channels, you will never get us to buy your product or service.

We want a relationship with our brands – By following the first three tips, it will be easier for your brand to be build a strong emotional brand connection.  Tell us your brand story.  Tell us how it aligns with our own brand story.  Marry the two and you will be successful.

David Coletto is CEO of Abacus Data and leads its Public Affairs research practice. He has a PhD from the University of Calgary and is an adjunct professor at Carleton University.  He’s an avid road cyclist.

Contact David Coletto:

T: 613-232-2806 x. 248



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