Why embrace the millennials?

Often times, we find that many business owners do not include millennials in their target market. They see the 20-35 year old range as not being interested in their product. Many of them don’t WANT to sell to millennials at all.

Our question is…why not?

Millennials currently make up 25{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of the population. They also make up 50{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of the consumer market. They spent over $200 billion annually.

This is a group that makes up the majority of the market. Why would you not want to sell to them?

Millennials also now make up more than 50{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of the work place, out numbering the baby boomers and generation Xers alike. However, employers seem hesitant to embrace millennials as employees.

They hesitate because millennials today have a bad reputation. Millennials are labeled as lazy, self-obsessed, and rude. In a recent pop-psychology book, author and Time editor Jeffery Kluger states“We’ve become accustomed to preeners and posers who don’t have anything to offer except themselves and their need to be on the public stage.” Some businesses and employers bring millennials into the fold reluctantly at best, believing that this generation has nothing to offer.

This is a mistake.

Let’s look at the facts.

Consider the following statistics taken from studies by IBM and Netspeed.

Millennials are called selfish, but the fact is:
25{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} millennials want to have a positive impact on their organization. (Compared to 21{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of GenX and 23{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of Boomers)

Some think millennials are disloyal job-hoppers, but the fact is:
80{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of millennials desire no more than 4 jobs in their careers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people in their 20s today stay in jobs just as long as they did in the 1980s.

Millennials are seen as know-it-alls or unteachable, but the fact is:
71{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of millennials leave their positions because their employer is not investing in their skill development.

Millennials are labeled as irresponsible, but the fact is:
91{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of millennials aspire to be leaders.

 

Millennials are also the most highly educated individuals in the population. As we can see, they want to be involved and they want to make a difference.

They also are going to be your biggest fans! Millennials are most likely to tell their friends and leave reviews.

To state that this generation has nothing to offer is a foolish claim.

In order to thrive, businesses need to embrace millennials, both as customers and employees.

embrace the millennials

Businesses that Thrive Embrace The Millennials

 

How do we embrace the millennials as customers?

embrace the millennials

Business owners shy away from selling to millennials because it seems difficult. They can’t get a millennial’s attention. Is it better to text? They seem so distracted. Do they even care?

Why is it so difficult to sell to a millennial?

Some blame it on the sheer number of brands and advertisements they see every day. How could I possibly break through all of that?

Some blame it on their apathy. Who has the time to try to motivate these people to buy?

Some blame it on their need for flashy packaging or popular opinion. Where am I doing to get the money for new branding?

However, the reason business owners has trouble capturing the millennial customer is actually much simpler than that.

Millennials don’t trust you.

Millennials are the most skeptical generation yet. According to a study done by the Journal of Psychological Science in 2012, 84{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of high school seniors believe that most people CANNOT be trusted.

Did you catch that?

84{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of our 18-20 year olds DON’T TRUST ANYONE. And this is before they lose their first job or get cheated on by their college girlfriend. I expect this number only increases as they get older.

Why is this generation so skeptical at such a young age?

 

We think it has to do with a few things…

  • Disappointing product experience. Millennials do not trust easily because they have either been burned in the past, or have known someone who has been burned.
  • The economic crash of 2008. These people saw big companies hand out pink slips to their parents, grandparents, and friends. These were companies that were supposed to be loyal to their loved ones. So millennials do not expect that these companies are going to be loyal to them.
  • Millennials are well informed. They grew up in the age of the internet and Wikileaks. Uncovering government conspiracies, big corporate scandals, Ponzi schemes and tell-all books are part of their formative years. They know that transparency only goes so far and what’s going on today is just a book that has yet to be written.
  • The loss of promised government programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Quite simply, millennials grew up in an age of broken promises.

 

With any customer, rapport must be built before the sale can take place. Building rapport means building a relationship with someone you know, like, and trust. This is a barrier that exists in all sales situations.

With millennials, this trust barrier is a little higher.

So how can you overcome this obstacle?

In the past, building trust started with advertising and traditional marketing. However, according to Forbes, only 1{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of millennials are influenced to trust a brand based on advertising. This strategy is no longer effective with the millennial market.

Instead, non-traditional marketing techniques must be used.

We covered the three main types of non-traditional marketing that are effective today in our last article Revolutionary Marketing Strategies. While these work well with all customers today, these are absolutely vital if you plan to bring millennials into your target market. Click this link to check out our last article.

 

How do we embrace the millennials as employees?

embrace the millennials

As the statistics today show, millennials are loyal, caring, and educated employees. However, sometimes it may not seem that way.

We worked with a client recently who has a volunteer staff of 17 millennials. He came to us, completely exhausted and frustrated, stating, “I just can’t get them to do anything they don’t want to do! If they don’t ‘have a passion’ or it’s not something that interests them, they won’t do it!”

Do any of you feel this frustration at times?

However, if we’re honest, some of the things being said about the millennial generation is pretty non-motivating. We would estimate about 80{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of the articles and books we read about connecting or working with millennials start something like this…

“Millennials may be the worst, but they make up about 50{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of the workforce so we have to deal with it.”

What if someone said that about you? How motivated would you feel to work hard for that person?

 

How do we motivate and embrace millennial employees?

 

Millennials Need to Be Appreciated

This doesn’t mean they all need a trophy for participation. Showing appreciation is as simple as valuing their thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Nothing is more motivating than to know that someone is listening to your ideas and value your presence, regardless of age.

What is the best way to show a millennial you value them?

  • Ask them their opinion on a project. Allow them to do a project using their own methods.
  • Invest in their development through mentorship and learning opportunities.
  • Say thank you. This could be as simple as a spoken word handwritten note.

Millennials Need to See the Big Picture

According to the Millennial Impact Report, the #1 reason why millennials take a job is “what the company specifically does, sells, or produces.” Millennials need to know the why. They need to see where their effort is going. They need to see the results.

Millennials are also concerned with the impact a company has on its community and the world. In fact, the causes a company is involved with is the 3rd most important factor for millennials when accepting a job. Here’s a quote from a millennial interviewed with the Millennial Impact report:

“A job is a place where I spend an obscene amount of time outside of my family life. It is important that the time I spend working is for a cause or a business that does some good in the world.”

So what’s the best way to show them the big picture?

  • Share the mission and the big picture of their day-to-day tasks.
  • Do a company wide service project or allow them other opportunities to give back through work.

Millennials Need a Strong Leader

To be a leader of any group of people, you have to have a certain amount of authority and gain a certain amount of respect. While you may not think millennials respect superiors, Millennials want to see experience and authority. Older professionals are in the perfect place to be an effective leader who can inspire engagement and motivation in young professionals.

What is the best way to lead millennials?

  • Treat your millennial employees fairly. And let me tell you, if they aren’t being treated fairly, they will find out. If they feel taken advantage of or mistreated, they will definitely not feel motivated to work very hard. And, if they find another opportunity, they very well may leave.
  • Give them responsibility. Delegating responsibility to young employees allows them to take ownership and to experience the consequences, good or bad, of the decisions they make at work.
  • Provide them with training, education, and professional development. Remember the IBM study statistic which stated that 71{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of millennials leave their positions because their employer is NOT investing in their skill development. Millennials want the opportunity to move forward in their careers. They need this opportunity to be truly motivated at work.

 

Millennials have a lot to offer, both as customers and employees. The best way to connect with these individuals is through authentic interactions and patient nurturing of trust and relationships.

Motivating millennials is not as difficult as the internet would have us believe. If we appreciate them, show them the big picture, and provide effective leadership, young professionals can become our greatest assets.

“When we listen to young people, and when we acknowledge them as fully human, they respond in kind —by listening and acknowledging us in return. In my work, I have seen again and again that young people want to contribute. We just need to let them.” John Green

 

Did you enjoy this article? Check out the other articles in the series!

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