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·         Kanye West

·         Floyd Mayweather Jr

·         Katie Price

·         Ronaldinho

·         My brother, Andy


All born between 1977 and 1983, which means they fit in to a newly announced micro-demographic called ‘Xennials’, a ‘segment’ that has garnered some attention recently (from the Daily Mail no less). The Xennials are old enough to have lived a childhood without the internet but young enough to have had a career which has been entirely online.

Our Head of Content asked me to write a blog about this segment and if they need any special consideration. My response: grouping people together based on age is not a marketing segment, if you think it is then you are an idiot. I’m fairly confident this was just a test to see if I was paying attention, but if not then I will need to have a serious word.

While it is tempting and conversationally easy to group people based on the year in which they were born (Millennials, Gen X, baby boomers etc) it isn’t helpful from a marketing perspective. Take the five names listed above – they are all Xennials, but there is much more that differentiates them than unites them.

I got asked by a large retailer recently how I would market food to Millennials, what processes I would go through to create the campaign etc. My answer was that “you can take a group of Millennials to a restaurant but they won’t all order the same thing” – as with any other group you need to invest the time to understand what makes them different as individuals before coming up with campaign activity that is relevant to them and their own specific tastes.

What is true is that each demographic grows up in a changing world and is faced with dealing with different technologies, politics and societal pressures – and these broad demographic terms are perhaps useful in reminding us of that, but in terms of being a ‘marketing segment’ they’re useless.