By Laura Gayle, BusinessWomanGuide.org
Is your company proactively reaching out to millennial (Generation Y) customers? If not, it should be. This generation represents one-fourth of the world’s population, meaning that millennials, in general (and millennial women in particular), wield some strong purchasing power.
If you run a business, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that Gen Y responds quite differently than other demographic groups to marketing and sales campaigns. If you want to connect with this valuable audience, start in-house by connecting to millennials yourself: Hire them to fill open positions and listen to their ideas on marketing, employee and customer experience, and personal beliefs.
1. Millennials understand what other millennials want
Generally, many millennials don’t like to be aggressively marketed to. Advertisements don’t impress them the way they’ve done for previous generations because authenticity is important to millennials, and they’ll tune out traditional advertising techniques that feel insincere or false. Another cogent factor is that millennials largely don’t value possessions — they value experiences.
Marketers need to realize that a value proposition aimed at this generation must touch on values and experiences. And who’s best at identifying these values and experiences? Other millennials, that’s who. They instinctively understand that marketing works best through influence and conversations, not old-school advertising techniques. Sincere engagement is key, and millennial employees can become go-to experts to determine the best marketing strategies for millennial consumers.
2. Millennials are digital natives
During the childhood of Gen Y, the internet and related technologies began to reshape society. Millennials are the first lifelong digitally savvy generation. They have “smart,” tech-filled apartments and they spend a great proportion of time streaming on their phones or interacting on social media. Companies will have a far easier time reaching millennials and building their brand loyalty with carefully curated content and highly personalized digital communication.
Since other millennials understand what their generational counterparts want (because they seek the same things), they instinctively know how to successfully reach this important demographic by integrating technology into every possible aspect and employing non-traditional marketing tactics. There are several examples of companies who have secured the brand loyalty of millennials through the implementation of digital methods.
3. Millennials are catalysts for easing consumer pain points
Most millennials have grown up in the age of Amazon and Google, where information or items can be obtained instantaneously – or at least quickly – with a minimum of effort. They were early adopters of mobile technology once it emerged as a dominating factor, and they quickly came to expect to get what they need with the same ease on any device.
Hailing from this background, millennials value a streamlined and efficient buying process. As artificial intelligence and IoT (internet of things) continue to make strides in business and society, it’ll be important for businesses to understand and keep current with evolving technology. Millennials are the best employees to ensure this, since necessary process improvements come to mind practically every time they pick up their phones.
4. Millennials can build a great rapport with their peers
Being digital-centric, millennials fully understand how to connect and communicate with customers of their generation. They understand that companies wanting to establish a rapport with millennial customers must fully embrace digital innovations and non-traditional uses of media.
Phone calls, print, and TV ads will be ignored as a waste of resources; marketers will need to become masters of email, text, and social media to book appointments and/or entice these consumers to patronize their businesses. They’ll also need to be aware of the latest social media platforms and apps, as preferences for these change with increasing speed.
Millennial employees are the best people to introduce these changes because they’ll naturally transition to the latest methods of communication at the same pace as a good portion of the company’s consumer base.
5. Millennials know how to maintain a strong web presence
Static websites no longer cut it. Even consistently updated websites today need to constantly evolve to keep up with millennial preferences. Overly wordy pages of information will be skimmed over – or, more likely, totally ignored. Chances are, millennials will bounce to competitors’ sites that feature compelling images, informative videos, and chatbot options for two-way communication with businesses. They want their information quickly and don’t want to spend a whole lot of time clicking through intricate websites, especially since most of them will be using mobile devices to surf the web or make purchases. Hiring millennials to take charge of a company’s web presence is a smart strategy because they’ll know what types of imagery, including video, to display. They’ll also know how to design responsive, mobile-friendly pages and understand what features businesses do and don’t need to include on their websites and apps.
6. Millennials don’t judge and carry a positive energy
Millennials are a pretty non-judgmental generation. Since they’ve often been given a bad rap with labels like “lazy,” “narcissistic,” and “entitled,” they generally dislike broad generalizations and strive not to apply them in the workplace. The positive and upbeat outlook they possess will appeal to millennial consumers, translating to brand recognition and loyalty.
Additionally, Gen Y questions the status quo, and that’s not a bad thing. Looking at things in different ways means there is a lesser opportunity for groupthink, which can wreak unexpected havoc when a lack of diverse perspectives exists.
7. Millennials can choose the right marketing channels
Newspaper, TV, and radio ads? Forget these. Millennials read their news online and scroll through Twitter for trending topics. They stream or download their shows, movies, and music. In essence, millennials find traditional advertising intrusive. By hiring then, companies can more quickly and effectively identify the right marketing channels to reach the millennial demographic.
Millennials became the largest generation in the workforce in 2016. Many of them are already entering or moving toward managerial positions. If you fail to find ways to attract this group of workers as applicants, your competitors will get busy snatching up the top talent, leaving your company in the proverbial dust. The companies who actively pursue hiring millennial talent will be the winners, since they’ll have the tools – and forward-looking perspective – they need to attract this powerful consumer demographic.