SYZYGY, a full service-digital agency, partially owned by WPP, released the results of a new survey that found adult Millennials are 16% more narcissistic than other generations and remain narcissistic as they age. Given that Millennials now represent the core mainstream adult consumer, spending some $200 billion each year in the U.S., marketers are searching for a solution to break through and meet Millennial expectations and experiences, which are defined by digital connectivity.
The findings support the emergence of ‘EgoTech,’ a concept that describes technology that flatters the ego. This includes personalized digital media and on-demand apps that play to the needs of Millennials for special treatment and self-sufficiency. Instead of appealing to generational values, evidence-led millennial marketing can focus on generational traits – shared personality characteristics shaped by parenting and culture.
“Based on the psychology of narcissism, we identified seven specific EgoTech opportunities for connecting with Millennials through adulthood,” said Dr. Paul Marsden, author of the study and social psychologist and digital strategist at SYZYGY. “The insight that Millennials retain their trademark trait of elevated narcissism into adulthood presents marketers with a clear opportunity; but EgoTech is not just for millennials. As a nation, we are all becoming more narcissistic as the cult of the self exerts itself digitally. Against a backdrop of personal digital technology, celebrity culture, easy credit and new parenting styles, EgoTech will have universal and compelling appeal.”
The nationwide survey was conducted in the summer of 2016 among 2,568 adult Millennials (average age 28) in all 50 U.S. states and an equally sized sample of non-Millennial adults. Participants completed a psychological test called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI-16) online and outlined their digital habits. The study found:
Digital Habits: A high level of emotional attachment to their smartphone is a sign of adult Millennial narcissism, including use of multiple on-demand apps (e.g. Uber), and continued high use of social media.
Social Media and Selfies: The more a person uses social media, and/or the more selfies they post, they more narcissistic they are likely to be.
The Selfie-stick: Ownership of a selfie-stick is also indicative of elevated narcissism – owners of the sticks are on average 34% more narcissistic than non-owners.
Smartphones Over Breakfast: The majority (58%) of Millennials would rather give up breakfast for a month than be without their smartphone. And those who can’t give up their phone are 13% more narcissistic than the others.
Pete Krainik, president and founder of The CMO Club concluded, “Chief Marketing Officers who gain a deep understanding of the characteristics of elevated narcissism, and have an appreciation for the expanding purchasing power of Millennials, can guide their teams to create more effective digital marketing strategies and consumer experiences.”