Hunting Industry Wake-Up Call: Millennials are Here Now and Everything you Think is Wrong
Breaking down the myths of millennials and their value.
The visual that comes to most hunting marketers’ minds is that a bunch of millennials are sitting in their parents’ basement playing video games, eating junk food, spending their parents’ money and sitting on a degree that they never intend to use. Those that we think have jobs are lazy and entitled. They lack a strong work ethic and they never venture outdoors.
For some, the theories advance a bit. They can let go of the child image they have of their millennial offspring and apply more adult-like theories: millennials will never own homes, they will not have children at a young age and they will not save for retirement. They blow money (if only we actually believed the blow money part, then we could see the value of this generation).
Where do I even start? First off, with the myth that every generation born from the 1980s on will always play video games in their parents’ basement when they grow up. The myth continues that they will probably even do that over hunting, over outdoor activities, because they are just kids . . .
The reality is that millennials actually realize they are no longer kids. Believe it or not, they grew up, got responsibilities and only hope they could play video games. They also find value in escaping to the outdoors to get away from real life. They even go outside more often and do so with more intensity than other generations.
As for work ethic and entitlement, I cannot go far down this path without bursting a blood vessel. Here is why we all cannot see eye to eye. Millennials prefer a collaborative work environment rather than a competitive one (God forbid a true idea of community come through). They would rather make less money at a job they love rather than more at a job they hate. They believe business success should be measured in something more than profits alone because they do care about the world they have to live in. (Inc 2019.)
As a company that employees mostly millennials (and as a millennial myself) I often find work place ethics funny with other generations. We all work in home offices, with flexible schedules, and travel when we want (as long as the work gets done). We are a far more efficient operation than counterparts from other generations we work closely with. The funny part of all this is when we work with more traditional operations, people say things like, “Well, I need people in the office so I know what they are doing,” or “I need to tell them what to do and how to do it and that’s easier to do in the office.”
My response will always be the same. “Why didn’t you hire someone you trusted to do the right thing and who was capable of the work?” That comes down to the famous Steve Jobs quote: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
Millennials have lived through a shit economy. When other generations were handed a boom out of the gate, we were handed the Great Recession. That type of stall cripples generations. Baby boomers have held onto jobs longer than ever and can you guess why? The economy. That has left little room for advancement and a new generation fed up with the disaster that awaits them.
Despite that millennials are in fact the largest work force in America, and even further, they have and spend more money than any other generation. Seems all these stereotypes are crumbling (Goldman Sachs 2019).
Millennials do not have kids like their parents because for the most part, we realize how fiscally irresponsible it can be (Rooster 2017). Women cross it off because in 2019 both household members need to work to pay bills,and pregnancy equates to awkward work situations that cannot be gambled with, not to mention foregoing a career.
Millennials read more than any other previous generation and prefer print over digital. They are also saving mom-and-pop book stores which experienced a decline with past generations (Forbes 2017).
Nearly half of all millennials do not watch cable television at all (AdAge 2017). Even though they prefer streaming services and non-traditional outlets, they watch far less TV than previous generations. People 55 and older watch an average of 2932 minutes of TV a week, versus 1267 minutes for millennials ages 25 to 29 (Statista 2016).
What does all this mean for marketing hunting to millennials?
Print is not dying — it’s growing. Unless you are not reaching millennials, that is. Cable is not the place to capture a millennial audience. They have more free time to go hunting because they do not have as many kids. They also have more money to spend on hunting than any other generation.
I saved one final gold nugget to ponder: “Millennials spend more time outside and more money on outdoor products than the average outdoor consumer, making them a valuable long-term target market for the industry” (Outdoor Industry Association 2014).
Sleep on that uncomfortable little factoid before you draft your next Hunting Industry marketing plan . . .
Inc. 2019. 29 Facts That Might Make You See Millennials Differently (Infographic). Accessed at:https://www.inc.com/gordon-tredgold/29-facts-that-might-make-you-see-millennials-differently-infographic.html
Goldman Sachs. 2019. Millennials Coming of Age. Accessed at:
Rooster. 2017. 9 Brutally real reasons why millennials refuse to have kids. Accessed at: https://therooster.com/blog/10-brutally-real-reasons-why-millennials-refuse-have-kids
Forbes. 2017. Millennials: A Generation Of Page-Turners. Accessed at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilhowe/2017/01/16/millennials-a-generation-of-page-turners/#6811ca471978
AdAge. 2017. Nearly Half of Millennials and Gen Xers Don’t Watch Any Traditional TV. Accessed at: https://adage.com/article/media/half-young-consumers-watching-content-traditional-tv-study/310564/
Statista. 2016. Average weekly time spent watching TV in the United States as of 4th quarter 2016, by age (in minutes). Accessed at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/786143/weekly-tv-watching-time-by-age/
Outdoor Industry Association. 2014. Millennial Outdoor Consumers. Accessed at: https://outdoorindustry.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/cv-infographic-millennial-outdoor-consumers.pdf