1. Ownership is overrated.
Nice people share their toys. So do businesspeople. The sharing economy is in full swing, but it’s still in its infancy by market standards. That leaves the future wide open to new business ventures and a generation that values access over ownership.
While a few purchases have grown in necessity (re: 98% of millennials own a smartphone), the rent-stream-share trend plows on. Don’t think it’s limited to homes or cars, either. Just because the money going into your pocket is permanent doesn’t mean your product should be. Remember: millennials want to borrow. Don’t burden them.
Source: RSA, 2016
2. Um, where’s your app?
Your business is online. Great! So is everyone else’s. Folks aren’t impressed by whether they can click something anymore. They want to press it. They want mobile. With 9 out of 10 millennials connecting to the web via smartphones, handheld devices are the uncontested go-to. If you have the end but not the means, what’s the point?
Five years ago, apps might have given you a competitive advantage. Today, they’re borderline necessities. But if you’re among the few that won’t benefit from one or are strapped for cash, make sure that what you do have, works. Google’s Test My Site feature offers a free analysis of desktop and mobile site performance with specific fixes. Just plug in your URL.
3. Check Amazon!
“Brick and mortar is dead.” Wrong. Online is thriving. There’s a difference. “Millennials are entitled.” Also wrong. They have less disposable income, less employment prospects, and more student debt than their parents. In other words, the perfect storm for a generation of price-conscious consumers.
Armed with Amazon, Google, and the devices to access both anywhere, they know a bad deal when they see one. Retailers can’t rely on price ignorance. Consider instead higher-value rebates over instant discounts, “buy online, pickup in store” options, and enhanced loyalty programs to entice customers. Let Amazon’s innovation fuel yours.
4. Sorry, what were you saying?
If you feel you’ve been hearing this question more in recent years, you’re probably right. Human attention span is hovering just below that of a goldfish in the Netflix era. More telling is the speed of decline: -50% since 2000. Companies are struggling to adapt to millennials’ rabid consumption of modern entertainment.
The next big ad campaign you’re planning? Millennials couldn’t care less. They’ve installed ad-blockers, driven a stake through cable with streaming, and 99% say even the best advertisements don’t make them trust you. For all their optimism, they are a generation of skeptics. Don’t sell to them—talk with them. Be human, be quick.
5. Gone green.
If the rest of the population is a soft shade of lime, millennials are hunter green. You don’t need to convince them of sustainability. You need to show them yours. Your sales and marketing teams can’t bear this burden alone, either. Achieve product market fit so they can sell substance over slogans.
In line with their show-don’t-tell philosophy, millennials value a product’s inherent sustainability over sustainable manufacturing or corporate social responsibility. They want to feel green, not hear about it. Connect with them at the most fundamental level: the quality of your product.
Source: Greenhouse, 2014
6. Eating your peas is… kinda cool.
Millennials are expanding the definition of health. No longer is it just about weight or dodging the flu. Their belief in eating right, exercising regularly, and refraining from alcohol and cigarettes provides a more holistic view than previous generations.
Gen Y is putting their money where their mouths are. They’re spending on high tech, athletic apparel, and organic food in droves. From app-studded Apple Watches, to Nike trainers, to Whole Foods reusable bags, well-being is an investment. Find your health angle and flaunt it.
7. @trendycompany #hashtag #hashtag
Media is king, and millennials pay 18 hours of tribute per day. Print and TV may be in decline, but social media is booming. Consumers are glued to their Facebook, LinkedIn, and Snapchat feeds for breaking news, networking, and cat memes.
If your online accounts are generating a handful of leads, likes, and shares rather than bucketfuls, something’s off. Most companies adopt social media without committing to it. Be the outlier and develop a comprehensive online strategy as you would for any other business pillar. Don’t publish where you read. Publish where your consumers do.
Source: AWG Advertising, 2015
8. Brand? What brand?
Your brand. Believe it or not, millennials are the most brand-loyal people on the planet. They also happen to be the most discerning. Apply some of the preceding strategies to convince them. Continue to delight after the point of sale, and they’ll transcend from customers to promoters.
Engage, connect, and above all, be authentic. This is what separates today’s brands from tomorrow’s. Industry behemoths, your name will not save you. Startups, your product will not give you a name. You can bemoan the generational disruption or you can steer it.
We’ve equipped you with eight ways to win over millennials. Let’s close with one way to lose them. Treat them like their parents. Good luck.
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