QUIZ: Do you speak Millennial?

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How well do you know the millennial crowd in the outdoor industry? Drew Simmons, founder and president of Pale Morning Media, has put together a quiz to gauge if you're as cool as you think you are.

Drew Simmons

Drew Simmons may be technically aged out of the Millennial subset, but he rarely acts like it. Photo: Selfie

1. What are the Millennials?

a. A mountain range in New Hampshire with a series of high summits named after reality show “celebrities”.

b. An influential demographic comprised of more than 80 million Americans born from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s. The group will make up more than 50% of the US workforce by 2020, and 75% of it by 2030.

c. The opening band at the Outdoor Industry All-Star Jam. Not bad, but they do look at their phones a lot.

2. Match the description of Millennials to the media outlet:

I. Adventure Journal
II. The Onion
III. Outside Magazine
IV. Elevation Outdoors

a. "(Millenials are) turned off by the go-for-the-summit ethos that defines so many legacy brands. Many of them camp out mostly at festivals like Coachella or Burning Man. As such, they see the outdoors not as a proving ground to be attacked with ice axes and Gore-Tex, but as a playground to be enjoyed with portable sound systems and beer koozies."

b. "(Millienials are) tired of the generic. We crave things with a patina, the musty smell of something that’s well used because it’s beautiful and useful and lasting. Something classic. Something that has meaning. We’re tired of throwaway everything.”

c. “Since Millennials are lazy and unemployed, they spend 100-percent of their time drinking coffee, traveling the world and gazing out at the stars with their headlamps on.”

d. “The vast majority of the nation’s 80 million millennials—Americans born between 1982 and 2000—insist on maintaining unbroken verbal contact with their mothers and fathers from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed, requiring as many as 18 hours of reassurance and validation via telephone each day.”

3. Why you should be jealous of Outdoor Millennials?

a. As outdoor enthusiasts, they have come of age in a fully stocked world of beautiful woodcore early-rise flat-tail fat skis, avalanche beacons without that shrieking-whisper earphone thing, full-suspension-and-disc-braked 29ers and merino wool everything.

b. As an outdoor industry workforce, Millennials are showing up just as the Outdoor Industry is hitting full stride. The Outdoor Recreation Economy is a rising tide nationally, creating true opportunity and career potential in nearly every category and every geographic market.

c. As a generation, by sheer virtue of their size and their educational opportunities, the leaders of the Millennials will be the best of the best. Smart. Passionate. Talented. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

d. Tinder.

e. All of the above.

4. Why you should feel sorry for the Millennials?

a. As outdoor enthusiasts, true ‘firsts’ are near impossible to come by. (See also: The Grand Teton has been climbed. The Grand Teton has been skied. The Grand Teton has been skied five times in a day. The Grand Teton has been skied five times in a day wearing a silly fleece hat with droopy moose antlers.)

b. As the outdoor industry workforce, Millennials are entering a market which has hit a plateau. Competition is fierce for a shared consumer base in an ever-broadening marketplace. Innovation is rare. Gear may never get much better. And the whole “Winter is Coming" thing actually only applies to that HBO series with the dragons.

c. The acute whiplash from being told your generation is the “savior” and being pegged as a group of “narcissistic underachievers” must be exhausting.

d. Burt’s Tiki Lounge is closed.

5. Where do people think Outdoor Millennials spend most of their time during Outdoor Retailer?

a. High fiving each other inside bespoke, cedar-paneled and citrus enhanced IPA tasting rooms of Salt Lake City as they compare handcrafted vegan-oil-massaged leather ‘thank you’ belts they’ve received from their rooftop community garden Board of Directors.

b. Taking arty photos of motorcycle campsites casually accessorized with 12-pound plaid wool backpacks and $900 army tents.

c. Anywhere they can get a stainless steel keg cup.

6. Which of these Outdoor Retailer moments have never been heard of by Outdoor Millennials?

a. The OIWC Drag Show. One and done!

b. When Outdoor Retailer was hit by a tornado.

c. All of the above.

d. Mambosok.

e. Some of the above.

7. True or False:

a. Millennials are the future of the outdoor industry participant base, the future of the outdoor industry workforce and thus the future of the outdoor industry.

b. Generations have been bitching about the capabilities of next generation since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Or, at least since the 1960s.

c. Boomers and Gen-Xers are not great at size estimates. Anytime a lot of Millennials show up for something like Coachella, they think it’s all of them.

d. Since when did Outdoor become a real business anyway? Get over yourself. You should be happy to have a job and spend as much time in Utah as you do.

8. What do Millennials like most about the Outdoor experience in 2016?

a. Creative and engaging social media content. Memes! Contests! Instagram takeovers by @hikinghispter420!

b. Beards and plaid.

c. Summits, descents and the personal challenges overcome in a blue-sky outdoor setting.

d. The opportunity to get away from the Boomers and Slackers.

9. Which of these things do older generations enjoy asking Millennials? Mark all that apply.

a. How do you get your mustache to stay like that?

b. Are you going to hike in those jeans?

c. If you’re not going to eat that gluten, can I have it?

10. Which of these things do Millennials enjoy asking older generations? Mark all that apply.

a. What’s a fax?

b. Do you need help updating your iPhone?

c. What, exactly, is the situation that calls for zip off hiking pants?

11. What is the best way for an Outdoor Millennial to impress their Boomer boss? Mark all that apply.

a. Friend them on Facebook.

b. Get them talking about their new road bike.

c. Borrow some of their parents Patagonia stuff and wear it to the office.

12. What is the best way for an Outdoor Millennial to impress their Gen-X boss? Mark all that apply.

a. Pretend to like telemark skiing.

b. Tell them you don’t like social media either, but do it because it’s important for business.

c. Avoid making an ironic mustache comment (They’re serious about it).

13. What is the best way for the Outdoor Industry to engage and maximize the rising Outdoor Millennial demographic?

a. Provide free Venture Out Zone tattoos for the first 100 new ORSM attendees to find a hotel room within walking distance of the Salt Palace.

b. Fully pander to the Millennials. Our time is over.

c. Hold the line on Outdoor culture, stay true to the ideals of wild spaces, and be confident that new generations will be inspired by the same summits and rivers that inspired previous generations. Be in tune with modern design trends, emerging communication technology and the growth of the festival camping culture, but stay true to the core of Outdoor.

d. Wait … no …. Let’s do the pander thing.

Answers:

  1. b
  2. a=III, b=I, c=IV, d=II
  3. e
  4. Your call.
  5. Again, your call.
  6. d
  7. All true, my friend.
  8. I hope it’s C. But it’s probably D.
  9. a, b and c.
  10. a, b and c.
  11. a, b and c.
  12. a, b and c.
  13. Wouldn’t you like to know.

Scoring:

0-5 correct answers: Well, I guess the good news Is that despite your loose grasp on generational demographics, you have excellent commitment to reading material.

6-10 correct answers: Meh. Ask your intern to fill you in.

11-13 correct answers: You know your Outdoor Millennial!

During the week, Drew Simmons (@wickedoutdoorsy) is the founder and president of Pale Morning Media, a strategic public relations and creative communications agency specializing in the outdoor recreation industry. After hours, you can find him in the very Green Mountains of Vermont, hanging out with Millennials playing ultimate, fishing and skiing. 

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