Stereotypes! Everybody loves them! Especially when it comes to negatively describing large swaths of people with nothing more in common than the fact that they were born within 15-20 years of each other. Seriously, go to Google and type in “Millennials are”, “Gen X is” and “Baby Boomers are”. What comes up? Screenshot that. Tweet it @BrokawInc with the hashtag #GoogleDoesNotDefineMe. We’ll select a winner to receive a prize that I have absolutely no authority to give.
Are you back? Good. I can hear those sweet, sweet Tweet notifications pouring in.
Want to escape from all this negativity? May I recommend podcasts?
Podcasts are booming. If you’re a lazy Millennial and didn’t click the link, a 2016 study by Edison Research & Triton Digital estimated 36% of the population had listened to a podcast in 2016, approximately 98 million people. These people are primarily younger (A18-34 are 35% more likely to be listeners), affluent (33% more likely to make $100K+ / yr.) and educated (38% more likely to have an advanced college degree).
How does this tie back to generational stereotypes? The rise of podcasts represents some of the very best qualities of the Millennial generation (and counters some of the most common complaints).
CNN Money reported that Millennials are the most diverse generation currently in the workforce. I don’t think there is any medium that represents this diversity better than podcasts. Podcasting’s low barrier of entry allows people of diverse backgrounds, interests and opinions to have a platform and connect with others who share the same interests. In a world where most radio programming is still controlled by a select few media organizations, podcasting provides a welcome escape.
For better or for worse, Millennials are more likely to choose passion over pay. Podcasting allows people to truly explore their passions and find an audience. There is a podcast about almost anything. If you’re a news junkie who takes breaks for humorous ultimate frisbee updates and geeky music production discussions, your day may look a little bit like mine. Want to get a better grasp on how shipping containers shifted the world economy? There’s a podcast for that too.
Podcasting puts passion on display in an unfiltered way, and that’s where the draw is for many Millennial listeners.
Despite setbacks like student loan debt, Millennials are very entrepreneurial. This ingenuity is easily expressed through podcasting. Up and coming media companies like Crooked Media are building their brands entirely around podcasts. Regardless of your political leanings, they have been able to spin their hit podcast Keepin’ it 1600 into a variety of programming, while achieving rising celebrity status within the political arena for founders and hosts Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett.
This rise of podcasts should serve as a wake up call to marketers all too eager to define generations in generic terms. Tapping into consumer passions and diversity, in an authentic way, is both the challenge and opportunity in modern marketing, and the brands that can connect with and leverage this influence are ultimately going to succeed.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some catching up to do on the mysterious happenings of a sleepy, little town called Night Vale.
Time to press play on the weekend, everybody!
-Your Pod Loving Friends at Brokaw.