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This year’s college freshmen, born in 1999 or 2000, have hardly known a world without mobile banking or Justin Timberlake as a solo act.
Beloit College, a liberal arts university founded in 1848 in Wisconsin, released their Mindset List: Class of 2022 earlier this year. The Mindset List, first drafted in 1998, is meant to remind professors that they “aren’t just teaching courses, they’re also teaching students.” To successfully engage college students, both professors and marketers need to know what these students have lived through.
Here are our additions to the Mindset List:
- They never saw Dan Marino play in the NFL, as his last game was played on January 9, 2000.
- They don’t know Bill Gates as the CEO of Microsoft. He stepped down on January 13, 2000.
- They never downloaded music from Napster. Metallica sued Napster in 2000, which resulted in the movement against file-sharing programs.
- They never anxiously awaited the fate of Elian Gonzalez, who returned to his family in Cuba in June 2000 after an ethical and political debate about his future.
- They never knew a time without GPS. In May 2000, President Bill Clinton removed the restriction for accurate GPS access to be only for U.S. military.
- They never knew a time when Samuel L. Jackson didn’t have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He received his star on June 13, 2000.
- They never knew a time when civil unions were illegal across the country. Vermont legalized civil unions starting July 1, 2000.
- Harry Potter has always been in their lives. JK Rowling published the fourth book in series in 2000.
- They never knew a time without Coldplay. Their debut album was released on July 10, 2000.
- When they think of Olympics in the U.S., they think of Salt Lake City but not L.A., Atlanta or Lake Placid.
- Lance Armstrong has always been an athlete of questionable integrity. He was disqualified from the Tour de France in 2000.
- They never knew the phrase “now and forever” to be related to the Broadway musical Cats. The show’s first run closed in September 2000.
- HBO has always produced high-quality TV shows, not just movies. HBO released The Sopranos in 1999.
- They’ve always known a world with the International Space Station. The first crew arrived on November 2, 2000.
- They have always thought of Hillary Clinton as a politician and not a just politician’s wife. She was elected to U.S. Senate in 2000.
- They have never shopped at Montgomery Ward, which announced it was going out of business on December 28, 2000.
The class of 2022 has always known women as politicians and watched LGBT individuals form legal bonds. Plus, living in space never seemed too far out there with the inception of the International Space Station in 2000. Environmental factors have significantly impacted this generation, helping to shape their mindset on aspects like technology and equality. Understanding what young adults have experienced helps marketers grasp their perspectives and create relevant content for engagement.
To learn more about marketing to different generations, read “Generational Differences in Marketing: What to Know."
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