I’d Fit Right In with These 26-Year Olds

The Wall Street Journal had a story today about 26-year olds, the biggest single age cohort today in the U.S. at 4.8 million.

The focus of the story was on the new approaches to marketing that companies must use with this age group. Companies are placing a particular emphasis on education when marketing to 26-year olds, offering classes and videos that some executives thought might be too basic, but apparently not.

For example:

  • The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has started offering gardening lessons for young homeowners that cover basic tips—really, really basic—like making sure sunlight can reach plants.
  • Companies are hosting classes and online tutorials to teach such basic skills as how to mow the lawn, use a tape measure, mop a floor, hammer a nail and pick a paint color.
  • P&G, the maker of Swiffer, found millennials clean their homes differently from older generations and are more likely to clean as needed. As a result, Swiffer advertisements this year highlight how its mops and dusters help “in the moment.”
  • J.C. Penney Co. says the group is willing to hire others for projects. The retailer has pushed into home services,  finding that millennials are much more of a ‘Do-It-for-Me’ type of customer than a ‘Do-It-Yourself’ customer.”
  • Home Depot company introduced a series of online workshops, including videos on how to use a tape measure and how to hide cords, that were so basic some executives worried they were condescending. As it turned out, they weren’t. Even the vice president of marketing, initially concerned about some of the proposed video lessons, learned a new tape-measure trick: Attach the end of the tape to a nail and hold a pencil against the tape measure’s base to draw a perfect circle. More lessons are coming, including how to hang Christmas lights.
  • Briggs & Stratton collaborated with Toro Co. to introduce the Mow N’ Stow foldable mower, which doesn’t require users to know how to prime, choke or change the oil of its engine.
  • Scotts discovered that millennials aren’t trying to achieve the lushest lawn or biggest flowers, as their elders are, executives say. They want to get something out of gardening, like vegetables and herbs. The company has also been more careful about what ingredients it puts into its products.

When I look at the list of what companies are doing to market to 26-year olds, it seems like they should be doing the same for me.

I don’t know how to pick the right paint color; I’ve never heard of the trick of using a tape measure to draw a circle, I tend to clean on demand, I’m quite willing to call someone to do a repair as opposed to trying it myself, I’ve never changed the oil on my lawnmower, and I’ve owned one for over 30 years (it’s a moot point now, since I now own an electric lawn mower), I’ve switched from hanging Christmas lights to just putting one of those colored laser lights on my house, and I’ve never been concerned about having the lushest lawn or biggest flowers (or for that matter with growing vegetables or herbs).

So I guess that makes me a 26-year old trapped inside a 60 year old body.

Maybe ignorance (and laziness) is the secret to staying young.

P.S. And talk about lazy, that’s not even my house in the picture at the top

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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