Character izing Mi l lennials

Once we determined the primary reasons to market to Millennials, we took a deeper dive. We wanted to know what resonates with them, how they think, and what drives their behavior. For this phase of our audience research we used three resources:

Pew Research Generation

University of Missouri’s Adzou findings

• VALS, an industry-standard framework that explains consumer behavior

Pew gave us insights into the differences among generations and how things like stage of life and outside events (like the COVID-19 pandemic) affect thinking and behavior.

Life Cycle Effect

According to Pew, the priorities and behaviors of each generation change with each life stage . This is called the “life cycle” effect. For example, Millennials are less likely to engage in political activity than Boomers are, but Boomers were the same way when they were in their 20s and 30s.

Period Effects and Cohort Effects

Generations are often profoundly affected by significant outside events and circumstances, such as wars, economic recessions and booms, and social movements. Events like 9/11 affect all generations at the same time. Pew calls such effects “period effects.” Sometimes those same events have a more specific impact on a particular generation of people, often those in their formative years. Those are called “cohort effects.”

The COVID-19 pandemic had a period and a cohort effect on our audience and, therefore, our campaign.

In March 2020, the nation went on lockdown as the novel coronavirus began to spread quickly. Schools and daycares closed. People started working from home. Backyards became entertainment venues. People needed safe, summer activities they could do at home, and gardening became a wildly popular pastime. In fact, the whole world has seen an increase in gardening during the pandemic. Millennials felt this period effect but may also have experienced a cohort effect, as the fear of their children contracting Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) due to COVID-19 exposure made staying home even more critical. And time will tell what COVID’s cohort effect will be on the childr en of Millennials.

The Adzou students conducted surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews with Millennials to help us understand how Millennials feel about our campaign topics: pollinator protection, pesticide safety, the


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