Sex, millennials and better B2B content marketing

Content marketers will be more effective if they understand what’s happening in the bedrooms of millennials

‘Millennials are not having sex’. That’s been the headline doing the rounds, based on academic research of tens of thousands of 20 to 24-year-olds.

So what’s behind this loss of sexual appetite and why is it of interest to content marketers?

The good news, especially if you are in your early twenties, is that millennials have not gone off sex altogether. However the research did find that 15% had not had a sexual partner for more than four years – double the degree of celibacy of Generation X that preceded them.

The millennial perspective

There’s been much debate about the reasons behind this decline in sexual activity.

Some suggest that an over-reliance on digital communication has left millennials ill equipped to deal with face-to-face social situations. Tinder may be able to match available people but once hooked up they lack the ability to flirt.

Others believe that skewed ideas about body image and attractiveness have caused the dip. This could be because expectations are too high, with potential lovers only willing to hook up with someone who looks as air-brushed or artificially enhanced as a cover model or even a porn star. Others may not have the courage to look for love (or sex) because they lack confidence in their own physical appearance, again judged against unrealistically high standards.

An obsession with health and personal safety is another reason being put forward. Have millennials been too cocooned in their digital worlds, devoid of real risk, while 24-hour news has heightened their fear by exaggerating the risks of sexual infection or some form of crime?

Marketing to millennials

All these reasons are likely to be playing a part in this cultural trend, and many more besides. What is so fascinating from a sociological and consequently marketing perspective is how significant and rapid the change in behaviour has been from the previous generation.

Consumer brands spend a lot of time thinking about their audiences from an age-based perspective. B2B businesses think about audience too and develop personas, but age is often less of a factor in such analysis.

A dangerously deceptive thought process can take place: that B2B is the serious side of commerce where audiences act more rationally and are less swayed by societal factors.

This may be true to a degree, of course we give more thought to renewing an IT contract than to buying a soft drink or T-shirt, but to ignore the differences in the generations that we are speaking to is a mistake.

The sex lives of 24-year-olds may not concern us – but the fact that they clearly think so differently to the generation that precedes them should. Imagine how differently they think the 30- and 40-somethings that are probably commissioning the content for them.

If you want to influence these people to engage with your brand you need to understand them – or, at the very least, understand quite how differently they may see the world.

The benefit that your content is aiming to provide must be of value to a range of audiences, including those for whom sex is not a priority.

So, next time you come to commission, try and think like a millennial, or even ask for their input. They may have some time on their hands.

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