The Truth About Why Millennials Don't Trust Your Company

Millennials are a lot like math.

We're all guided by a set basic, foundational principles.

Yet everyday traditional marketers and Generation X executives ask advanced algebra or calculus level questions (i.e., "How do I attract a younger membership or customer base?"). But imagine trying to understand those answers when your addition and subtraction is flawed?

Picture a self-obsessed person who's always on the go. Someone who's a digital, mobile, social, purpose driven rule breaker. They don't fit the mold and want their voice heard. If you wear a suit to work and are over the age of 30, you probably have a pretty good idea as to who I'm talking about: millennials.

Presidents, vice presidents, marketers and advertisers a like have been trying to wrap their minds around this population segment for almost a decade now. But in the process of trying to understand, stereotypes like these made the rounds. Somewhere along the line they stuck and now, they're accepted as fact. Everybody is scrambling to get a piece of the action.

And here's where the math gets flawed..

Can an entire generation of 85,000,000 young adults really be boiled down to these few simple precepts? Of course not. It's too black and white of a view. And when you're dealing with an audience as vast as ours, there's bound to be a grey area. And as you'll see, it's a big one..

According to a new study by Carat, a digital and diversified media solutions agency, the classic stereotype only applies to 42% of millennials. But what about the other 58 percent? Here's the break down, as per their survey results of over 14,000 millennials, on the huge chunk of millennials you're targeting wrong:

Trend-netters | 42% of Millennials
You know this group. It's the stereotypical millennial who's in tune to all things fashion, culture and mobile. They check the same sites, shop the same places and are relatively predictable. Because the data on this segment is so boundless, it's become the biggest focus - and also the most competitive.

Alter-natives | 23% of Millennials
Now here's where things get interesting. Remember our previous group? The group people commonly associate with all millennials? Well this segment, the "alter-natives", are the polar opposite. Introverted, private and non-conformist, they're highly complex. Since they're under the radar, the key here is understanding.

LYF-preneurs | 19% of Millennials
This group is most traditional of the all the groups. Ambitious and social, they share a lot with Generation X. Work/life balance is a big concern and disconnecting for face-to-face interaction is very important. The most important things when targeting this segment is respecting their boundaries.

BetaBlazers | 16% of Millennials
When Paul Van Doren started the legendary Vans sneaker company, this was the segment of the population he and his partners targeted. It was for a very specific reason: because they're the trendsetters.

To BetaBlazers, authenticity and purpose is a driving force. Learning is apart of who they are, and they rarely trust what's on the surface without digging deep first. Typical boilerplate corporate communication will put you on the fast track to no trust. When approaching this group, being genuine is everything. But here's the kicker..

The most important part of this data actually has nothing to do with the data itself. It has to do with the people behind it. It's crucial that when targeting millennials, or anybody for that matter, you remember that behind every percentage point is a person. It's the human element that will set you apart and decide whether you're just "registering an impression" or truly engaging with someone. So ditch the poor millennial stereotypes and dig deeper.