Tag Archives: Millennials

I’m Not Defending the Millennial Generation Any More

OregonTrailRutsPhilKonstantin.jpg

The above is a picture of the actual Oregon Trail ruts in Wyoming.  Picture from here.

Quite a while ago I wrote a post about “Who are the Millennials? Generally, I was trying to defend the amazing generalization that the media had been painting about people born during a huge 20 year timeframe.

I’ve never agreed with the lumping that many years into one Generation particularly if you look at the rapid change in technology over that time frame.  In my post I tried to hold on to the Millennial status and make an argument that the generation behind us should be the “Wired” generation.  Those that were born from 1986-2000.

Then this week I read this post “The Oregon Trail Generation: Life Before and After Mainstream Tech.” She’s basically saying the same thing I was however what I really like is that he is shedding the Millennial title and adopting a new one.  We are naming ourselves as a Generation and I LOVE it!  Who in my small range of a “micro Generation” doesn’t remember sitting down to computer lab and agonizing over the decisions to take extra food or another wagon axel before setting out to conquer the Green and Black dot matrix American West!

Our age range of the micro Generation is very similar. This excerpt from my post…

“Millennials are people who came of age during the 2000 millennial change so anywhere between 14-22 years of age on January 1st, 2000. We are old enough to remember a time pre Internet but young enough to not remember a time before computers. This may seem trivial but we are the last generation that can say that the Internet did not exist in our lifetime. We did not grow up with the instant access to information via cell phones and mobile technology although we adapted quickly enough when it came along. The generations behind us may never know the weight of 5 volumes of the encyclopedia britannica while trying to write notes on index cards.”

Then her post…

“We used pay-phones; we showed up at each other’s houses without warning; we often spoke to our friends’ parents before we got to speak to them; and we had to wait at least an hour to see any photos we’d taken.  But for the group of kids just a little younger than us, the whole world changed, and that’s not an exaggeration.  In fact, it’s possible that you had a completely different childhood experience than a sibling just 5 years your junior, which is pretty mind-blowing.”

So here we are, the micro generation.  The generation with roots in the glorious American heyday of the pre-9/11 era and the reality of growing into adults during the post-9/11 wars and recessions.

Will marketer’s care about our 6-8 year generation as they court the much larger Gen X or now the Millennial Generation behind us?  Maybe the generation I’ve been trying so hard to defend is not actually my generation at all.  From here on out my allegiance is Oregon Trail Generation!  I definitely relate to all of this generation’s generalizations!

Who are the Millennials? A Millennial’s Perspective

I’m amazed at the number of articles I’ve seen lately that are talking about Millennials as if they are doing a documentary for the discovery channel. Any second I expect to hear someone with a British accent say “as we observe the Millennials in their native habitats we discover their social patterns.” At worst we seem to be brushed off as “those kids.” I’d like to think at 30 and with a baby of my own that I have transcended above the “kid” stage.

However marketers seem obsessed with finding out what makes us tick as a generation. So I had to ask myself who are we? If we don’t define ourselves the world does it for us. Currently I’m not thrilled with the picture others have been painting so I’m going to try to outline what I see looking from the inside out. Let me state before I get up on my soapbox, that I am not trying to be the voice of the generation or anything. I just want to share my point of view and if you can’t do that on your own blog then where can you share it?

I’ve heard Millennials currently defined as those who were born during the 80s and 90s. I disagree with the extreme range here. Here’s my take…

Millennials are people who came of age during the 2000 millennial change so anywhere between 14-22 years of age on January 1st, 2000. We are old enough to remember a time pre Internet but young enough to not remember a time before computers. This may seem trivial but we are the last generation that can say that the Internet did not exist in our lifetime. We did not grow up with the instant access to information via cell phones and mobile technology although we adapted quickly enough when it came along. The generations behind us may never know the weight of 5 volumes of the encyclopedia britannica while trying to write notes on index cards. I hope they realize how lucky we are. Sad but I digress…

We’ve grown up with TV, radio, and now the Internet, all trying to be the vehicles of marketers trying to sell us something. Through this over exposure to advertisements we’ve developed a highly tuned BS radar. I generally tune out all commercials, channel surf, or multi task during commercials. I very rarely even notice online ads unless they are pop ups and then i only notice them long enough to find where the X is to close it. If your ad is good (and I mean REALLY good) I may give it a bit of my attention but the ones I generally pay attention to are ads that one of my friends have mentioned. I absolutely can’t stand low budget commercials and will actually avoid doing business at the places that air them. Key learning for marketing here? You’re better off not making a commercial than making a crappy one.

Another key point in the life of Millennials is that we experienced 9/11 at a critical point in our lives. I don’t know how everyone else reacted but that day is the moment where I realized that the world was no longer the safe place that we thought it was and war became a constant in our lives. This taught me that life is short and not guaranteed therefore what we spend our time and money on should matter.

Therefore I place the Millennial generation currently between the ages of 27-34. It’s a tight range, I know. Any older and we’re knocking on the door of Gen X. Any younger and you are into what I have heard termed the “wired” generation due to their exposure to technology at such a young age. Some call them the younger Millennials. I disagree. There are extreme differences in the generations created by technology which have been further magnified by the Great Recession. This generation was the hardest hit by the sinking economy right when they were ready to enter the job market. The Millennials were hit as well but there is a tenacity and willingness to contribute that will, I believe, eventually prevail through entrepreneurship and hard work. ( yes we DO know what that is)

It has been said we will not accumulate the wealth of previous generations. Maybe that is a good thing because we will be more selective about how we spend what wealth we do have. Bringing this back to wine, and after all, that’s what this blog is supposed to be about, most of my friends that are also Millennials seek out quality over quantity. We’d rather drink nicer wine less often than have something to drink every evening. We’d rather try something new, have a new experience, than repeat what we have already tried. Most of all we want an authentic story. Don’t sell us BS; tell us the truth then let us decide if we want to know more. We can always “Google” it if we’re interested so make sure we can find you and your product when we need to.

The Debate about Wine Competitions and Millennials

I’ve seen a few interesting blog posts the last few days.  The first was by Steve Heimhoff (http://www.steveheimoff.com/index.php/2010/05/05/this-ones-too-easy/#comments) regarding the news that a Millennial Wine Competition has been formed for this June.  Steve does not appear to be in support of the competition. The second was a response from Leah Hennessy defending the competition (http://millennier.com/2010/05/06/an-open-letter-to-mr-steve-heimoff-regarding-his-millennial-wine-competition-post/).

For the record, I am a judge in this competition.  As a Millennial professional in the wine industry, I am very excited to be involved.  I feel that we as a generation tend to trend towards different tastes than previous generations however this is not unusual, nor is it limited to wine.  According to recent surveys (whose sites I can’t find at the moment…sorry to the documentation police) our generation in France is trending away from wine as a social drink primarily because wine is seen as an older generation’s drink.  In the US the opposite trend has been seen as Leah sited in her blog.  This competition has been designed to try and discover what that taste is.  It of course will be the combined tastes of the panel of judges however it is valid in the fact that this is the first competition of its kind.  On this point I think Steve was a bit harsh, but he is entitled to his opinion.  Goodness knows if one doesn’t stir up a little controversy, then who would read a blog in the first place.

I do agree with what I feel was the underlying point of Steve’s post.  I took this to be that there are too many wine competitions in general. This point was absolutely right.  The more competitions there are the less and less the awards given actually mean.  I do not think that this applies to this particular competition because it is trying to delve down into a specific target audience as opposed to every county fair wine competition in the country.  There are very reputable wine competitions.  The problem is that the vast majority of consumers don’t know how to tell the really highly coveted medals from the rest.  A winery isn’t going to tell you if it entered the prestigious international competitions or the one down the street.  They typically will tell you that their wine is award winning.

As a winemaker, I must say it feels good to win ANY awards. It justifies in your mind the fact that you are doing a good job and this has been certified by an independent authority.   When I won my first Gold medal it felt AWESOME and I really didn’t care what competition gave it to me.  However, let’s face it; the competitions exist so that you can claim your wine has won awards to try and differentiate it from the winery down the road.  Steve’s point is that when EVERYONE wins awards they all become meaningless because everyone has them.

Talking again about the Millennial Wine Competition, I’m excited and really interested to see what comes out of it.  If the same wines that always win the awards win these as well then we can think about lumping this competition in with all the others.  However, maybe we’ll see something really different, a trend that may buck the status quo.  That would be very interesting and exciting not just as a Millennial but as a winemaker and as someone trying to sell wine to my generation.  I say lets see what happens before we start combining this competition with all the others…

To check out the competition in question go to www.nextgenwinecomp.info