How to engage millennials

Millennials are the largest generation in history – Goldman Sachs

As part of the large millennial cohort that is on the way to being one of the major shapers of culture today, I thought it was important to address marketing and millennials.

 Millennials represent a $2.45T spending power. Millennials represent a $2.45T spending power.

It’s important for companies to reach the largest generation in history as their discretionary income grows. Millennials represent a $2.45T spending power.

Millennials get a bad rap

Millennials receive quite a bad rap from employers, mostly complaining about how hard it is to keep them happy. These are the same companies that will need to sell to them as the millennial generation grows in buying power.

If you need more proof that Millennials get a bad rap: look here. And here. And here. And here.

On a personal note, I have been to networking events where entrepreneurs have specifically lamented millennials. Knowing that these people work and hire people my own age is disheartening since any evidence to held beliefs can be blocked by confirmation bias.

The wrong way to engage millennials

If you’re going to market to millennials and expect them to buy from you, maybe avoid saying they’re irresponsible because they buy too much avocado toast. And then needing selling luxury properties to the same group since Millennials will be the largest share of home buyers.

“One consistent finding for the last four years has been that buyers 36 years and younger (Millennials/Gen Yers) is the largest share of home buyers at 34 percent.”

— National Association of Realtors

(Not to mention you would have to go 15 years without avocado toast to save enough for a down payment on a $300,000 home.)

The right ways to engage millennials

Millennials respond well to purpose and feedback and will stick around for advancement opportunities.

Explain and have a company purpose

It’s one thing to have a mission or purpose and it’s another to live it. Greenwashing and other attempts to appear to have a purpose are not ways to reach consumers. Those types of tactics can’t last for long and serve as a way to lose customer trust.

Having a purpose at a company level helps for both purchasing and employing. Millennials want to understand what their larger service is to the environment, their team, and their company. Showing millennials how they fit into a company that ultimately gives back is part of what they are looking for.

Give feedback

Feedback can come from many places, but it shows a company’s interest in how that person or customer is doing. Social media is one space that companies can use to engage millennials. Whether it’s the internal company social channels or engaging on a one-to-one level, they want to feel like a valued part of the team.

Structured feedback is appreciated. Millennials want to know how they’re doing so that they can continue improving and delivering. It’s not about hand holding, it’s about knowing they’re on the right path to deliver the best results.

Path to advancement

It’s something Millennials will stick around for. They want to know that their efforts are going to be rewarded in the long-term. According to Gallup,

“An impressive 87% of millennials rate “professional or career growth and development opportunities” as important to them in a job — far more than the 69% of non-millennials who say the same.”

— Gallup

How are you connecting with millennials?

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