The impact of the millennial generation is making headlines everywhere! As a sales manager, you may have read a blog or two on how to manage or even hire millennial talent. But now the headlines are about how millennials are impacting business, from a consumer’s point of view. If you have a hand in marketing or sales, you may be experiencing disruption within this loosely-defined generation as well.
Most commentators put a millennial between late teens and early twenties to late thirties. That’s why it's loosely defined. But what is clearly defined is how much they have to spend and how they choose to spend it. Millennials are coming of age—gaining ground in their jobs, starting families, and making first major purchases. What they are not doing are taking risks. They’ve seen all too well the impact risk-taking has had on preceding generations, including Generation X and, in some cases, Baby Boomers. So what does this mean for business?
Well, it means there are 3 expectations (or promises) a millennial expects:
1. I want to give my business to companies that are transparent.
There’s a lot of distrust amongst this generation, so marketers and businesses need to be willing and able to earn, establish, and maintain this highly discerning demographic. Flashy logos and grand gimmicks don’t fool this bunch. They are apt to search up, down, and all around a business to find out if that business can be trusted. Online reviews, ratings, and customer feedback tools are all deciding factors a millennial will use to make a decision on whether or not you can be trusted with their purchase decisions.
2. I want to support a business that stands for the greater good.
Millennials love a good social and environmental cause, so cause marketing done well can help win the heart, and the dollar, of a millennial. This generation has taken a step beyond giving by also demanding and communicating change. They often use social media and online video to raise awareness and make sure they are “heard." Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Millennials not only support giving and change, but they expect immediate results from their efforts and will support companies that do the same.
3. I want to share content with companies I believe in and if I don’t, I’ll share the negative comments too.
Many millennials use social media as a way of life. It’s not a supplemental form of entertainment, such as watching movies or listening to music. They post less “inspirational quotes," and more filtered photos of a family fun weekend. Social media for a millennial is a communication tool, or platform engaged in for all sorts of daily activities from looking up a new restaurant to asking their social network to recommend a plumber. When they do experience a service or a purchase gone wrong, they will take to social media and share their experience. They not only share the experience with hopes that their hashtag will be seen by a business owner or CEO, but they also do this as a way to alert fellow consumers.
Digital needs to be part of any business’s plan to attract, retain, and motivate Millennial consumers. What was originally thought of as a picky, hard-to-please demographic is now a discerning, civic-minded demographic ready to develop a loyalty to the right company or brand, and the best way to prove your Millennial worth needs to include Digital.