5 surprising facts about millennials from MTV's Danniele Paponetti

Turn on MTV right now and you’ll notice the programming is just a little bit different than what the cable station launched with in 1980. And there’s a good reason for that. The target audience is completely different now too.

Generation X has moved on from MTV and has been replaced by the Millennial Generation. That’s why the company launched MTV Insights, where its research team strives to better understand this new audience, including what interests and motivates them. We recently spoke to MTV’s Director of Ad Sales Research, Danniele Paponetti, and she shared some surprising facts with us that she has learned through her research. *If you haven't read our first post based on our discussion with Danniele, read it here!

  1. Millennials don’t understand and don’t really see hierarchy in the world around them. Danniele says technology has democratized their relationships with everyone, from parents to teachers to companies. In MTV’s recent Generation Innovation Study, Danniele says they found that Millennials don’t look at brands as things they necessarily have to deal with. Millennials have this mindset that anything is possible and aren’t afraid to say, “Maybe we don’t have do it that way.” For the most part they believe that almost anything is possible and that change can come from inside.
  2. Millennials value access over ownership. In today’s world, this generation doesn’t feel compelled to own things like a car or music, Danniele says. What’s important to them is being able to access these things. For example, take the Zipcar! Millennials love those things because if they don’t want the hassle of owning a car, they just hop into one of these when they need to get somewhere.
  3. Danniele says that the idea that Millennials feel a sense of entitlement is a misconception. She defends this generation because life was supposed to be a certain way for them but it hasn’t exactly panned out in large part due to the Recession. Many Millennials have been told from a young age that they will be more successful and educated than their parents’ generation. So, they’ve taken on the world with that point of view. While some may see that as a negative, Danniele says that for the most part, it just shows that they are driven, motivated and want to pursue change.  
  4. Technology allows brands to have unique one-on-one conversations with consumers and when it comes to Millennials, marketers should take advantage of it, Danniele says. Why? Millennials expect interaction, especially in the form of feedback from companies. For example, when they comment on your Facebook page or send you a direct tweet, they expect a prompt response.
  5. Millennials feel like their moment is now. Danniele says that it’s their window in time to innovate because the institutions around them have failed them. Further, digital is erasing boundaries for entry when it comes to starting and creating a business. You can work from home, advertise on Facebook and sell your product on Etsy. Danniele does admit that this drive and initiative isn’t true of all Millennials, but because many see their peers participating in this phenomenon, they’re more likely to consider this as a realistic option. Everyone wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg.

Thanks again to Danniele and MTV!

Which fact surprised you the most? What do you think is a big misconception about Millennials?

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