New research shows that there are big differences between coastal dwellers and those in the Heartland, when it comes to this all-important demographic
While much has been written about Millennials under the assumption that they are all cut from the same (trendy) cloth, that assumption may not be entirely accurate, particularly when understanding the group from a geographical perspective.
Advertising Age wrote last week about the important cultural differences between Millennials who live in the “new Heartland” of the country – made up of the Southwest, Midwest and parts of the Southeast – compared to their coastal counterparts. In fact, the publication went so far as to describe this particular group as “both the most powerful and most disconnected consumer buying segment.”
Understanding the cultural nuances that exist between professional Millennials in that region versus those on the coasts — and how these nuances affect their buying decisions — is one of the most critical marketing challenges currently facing brands. They represent a diverse cultural group, united by a shared set of core values that include faith (not religion), community and family.
For instance, a recent study by Prince Market Research, commissioned by New Heartland Group, shows Heartland Millennial women are more disconnected from advertising than other groups. They tend to marry younger and have children sooner, pushing them into the role of household lead decision-maker earlier than their coastal counterparts.
There’s also a clear divergence in lifestyle decisions. Heartland Millennials tend to be more focused on getting married, buying a home and building a family much earlier in life. The biggest priority for coastal Millennials, on the other hand, is to make a satisfying job choice, and they more often seek graduate degrees than Heartland Millennials. Brands can benefit from this intelligence, since each lifestyle path brings with it different products and services that sync with their stage in life.
Almost half of heartland Millennials rank faith (not necessarily religion) as one of their top-three core values, whereas less than a third of coastal Millennials feel that way, according to the Prince study. In fact this represents the biggest difference in values between the two geographic groups.
While most brands haven’t done a particularly good job in distinguishing and addressing the geographic and cultural differences of Millennials, the good news is that those who do understand and address the nuances of this powerful segment still have an opportunity to build relationships with consumers that can last for generations.