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Millennials, A-Z

Matt Britton, author of YouthNation: Building Incredible Brands in a Youth-Driven Culture, believes many companies, CEOs, and CMOs, make negative, harmful business decisions because they are disconnected from the Millennial generation.

As the founder of MRY, a a digital and social media marketing services agency Matt grew from startup to acquisition by the Publicis Groupe in 2011, and the current CEO of Crowdtap, Britton knows a lot about business, marketing, advertising, trends, and Millennials. His mission? To share his Millennial knowledge with companies around the world.

Read on for Britton’s unique A-Z guide on the business and cultural trends Millennials are pushing forward – and why we all need to pay attention if we want to stay relevant and profitable in the business world.

A is for Access Over Ownership – “This generation is not interested in spending money to buy things,” Britton said. Citing the decline of home ownership and car ownership as examples of a changing American dream for Millennials, Britton believes experiences will continue to be more important than stuff for future Millennial purchasing.

B is for Barbell Economy – “If you’re in business, you don’t want to be in the middle,” Britton said. The companies that will dominate the future landscape will be either catering to one audience – the wealthy – or, offering great value (i.e. the Dollar Store, Vizio, Walmart).

C is for Cities – As more and more Millennials opt to stay in cities longer, Britton believes most traditional brick-and-mortar businesses will go away. The businesses that will thrive in the future? On-demand services that come to the consumer.

D is for D-I-F-T-Y: Did It For The Instagram – The philosophical question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it make a sound?” has been revamped for the Millennial generation. Now, the question is, “If you didn’t take a photo – did it actually happen?” Britton believes personal brands will continue to be dominated by experiences (i.e. climbing a mountain, taking a great vacation) and built photo by photo on social media in the future.

E is for Education – “Education is totally fucked in this country, because the things we’re teaching are not in touch with where this country is going,” Britton said. So, what does he think we need to be teaching at the college? Specialization in either art or science, and deep focus on a skill or trade. “If you want a career working your way up to middle management in the future, you’re screwed,” he said.

F is for Financial Aid – In the future, instead of attending a traditional 4-year college or university to prepare for the working world, Millennials will use cheaper online programs or training courses to get educated. Additionally, companies that offer lower cost education models or create innovative financial aid solutions will grow, as Millennials seek out options to learn – without incurring a mountain of student debt.

G is for Gentrification – When a traditional, Main Street retail business closes, what goes up in place, according to Britton? “A Chase, a Duane Reade, or a Starbucks. Why? You need those three things within the hour. But anything else, Amazon can deliver.” Britton sees the future of the retail economy moving mostly online, and more and more brick and mortar businesses closing as city borders continue to expand.

H is for Hardware – “You need to create the entire ecosystem to lock your customer in,” Britton said. He gives a company that makes not only a laundry machine, but laundry detergent, and the app to run the laundry machine, as an example of a business owning “all the hardware.”

I is for Artificial Intelligence – A.I. is going to revolutionize our current landscape by automating many problems for us in the future, Britton believes.

J is for Joe’s Pizza – “Right now, as a small business, you have the same opportunity to advertise to exactly the right customer, just the same as a massive business does,” Britton said. He uses the example of Joe’s Pizza (i.e. your local neighborhood pizza shop) having the ability to purchase an ad, targeted only at people 1 mile away, during the Super Bowl. “The future will be a democratization of opportunity.”

K is for The Kardashians – Britton believes America’s favorite reality television family will have a bigger impact on media than The Beatles. How could this happen? “When a Kardashian posts a makeup product on an Instagram post, the item sells out, websites break. Why? Because they have spent their whole careers  building an audience of people that really care about them. They have an army of young people that care about them and what they buy. People are the new brand – they will have the power.”

L is for Linkedin – “If you want to be seen in the business world, Linkedin is the new resume,” Britton said. He thinks the platform will continue to expand the possibilities for connection and collaboration in the future, and if you don’t have a profile to get one ASAP.

M is for Marriage – As Millennials continue to get married later in life, “the notion of a family will be totally different,” Britton said. “People are staying in cities, working later, and people who are 40 are acting 30. People have no interest in settling down.” Britton believes this shakeup in family life will also affect advertising choices, as businesses will begin to cater to older parents.

N is for Network Television – “I don’t think network TV will be here in 5 years,” Britton said. “Everything will be time-shifted (i.e. streamed), which will totally change advertising. Where will brands go in this fragmented new world? That’s the question I have for everyone here.”

Watch highlights from Matt's video at the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival:

Want to hear the rest of Matt Britton's "Millennial Trends A-Z" talk at the Propelify Innovation Festival? Sign up for a complimentary Propelify Insider membership and receive future access to our library of incredible content. You’ll hear and see talks from innovators, changemakers, and entrepreneurial geniuses like Al Gore, Divyank Turakhia, Arianna Huffington, Jason Fiefer, Marcus Weldon and more.