11 Reasons Why Millennial Employees Are the Key to Reaching Millennial Consumers
If you’re struggling to reach Millennial consumers, you may want to pay attention to who’s on your payroll – Millennial employees are better suited to understanding their piers.
By Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide
There’s a good reason why companies should pay attention to millennials in the marketplace and on their payroll: It’s a matter of numbers.
This generation was born between 1981 and 1996 and includes 71 million children born to baby boomers. The Pew Research Center predicts that millennials will outnumber baby boomers this year.
Millennials grew up in the digital era, and only the oldest of them (now almost 40) remember life without the internet. They watched their parents face financial challenges, then many reached young adulthood during the Great Recession and struggled themselves. Most with college degrees are facing significant student debt. These factors and others have combined to instill a particular mindset that makes Millennials different from any previous generation.
To better understand and tap into the sizeable millennial market, a good place to start is to hire millennial employees — or get to know the ones you already have.
What Millennial Employers Bring to the Table
Most Millennials don’t mind shaking things up at the office (or anywhere else). However, they value quality of experience and crave structure, which can present both challenges and opportunities for their managers.
Some traits common to most millennial workers include:
- A disruptive mindset. This has become a pervasive buzzword phrase used in business and economic spheres to characterize millennials. It describes a person, product or company that challenges the core beliefs of an industry. Millennials are innovative thinkers who challenge accepted practices at the office and elsewhere, questioning how things could be done more efficiently. Tap into these insights by asking your millennial employees what they think of new products, business practices, and other proposed changes.
- Regard for quality of experience. Millennials understand the customer experience (especially online) and have witnessed how one bad online review can tank a startup’s chances of succeeding in a target market. Let millennials voice their opinions on improving user experience and take their ideas seriously.
- Digital savvy. Millennials grew up with cell phones and tablets in a completely connected world; most used computers at home and school as early as pre-K. If your company is struggling to connect with the “tech geek mindset,” ask your millennial employees first. They can help keep older employees and supervisors up to date on new trends and devices that can increase efficiency or update an organization’s image.
- Gadget love. Innovative thinkers are always ready to try a new device that expands their options at home, at work, or at play. Here is a sampling of the type of gadgetry that millennials love. Consider gifting new or existing employees with one of these goodies to earn a ton of goodwill.
- Openness and comfort. Elements like open floor plans, flexible seating, and natural light in a workplace can result in a more fun and conducive work environment, which millennials will definitely appreciate. Consider modernizing your office floor plan for an office-wide boost in morale, collaboration, and productivity.
How to Reach Millennials Online
Inc. magazine has listed the top digital companies influencing Millennials in areas across the spectrum, from video content to commerce. For great potential partnering on projects with a feel-good element that can also promote your brand, consider these directions:
- Say it with video. To meet millennials on their own turf, target the sites they flock to, like The Dodo, Seeker, NowThis and Thrillist. Parent company Group Nine Media is now a powerful player in social video, with an engaged audience that has consumed 1 billion minutes of videos across all brands. The company has managed to reach a whopping 81 percent of Americans ages 20-29.
- Be honest. The audience is 56 percent female and 42 percent male for the website Mic. Via live reporting and an unapologetic delivery style, this site has become a millennial magnet. If you ask your younger employees about this platform, they will likely gush about its transparency in reporting and honest storytelling. You can potentially reach up to 40 million viewers and more than a quarter of the 21-34 demographic. To succeed on this platform, share your knowledge in a fresh, progressive, enlivening manner.
- Make it easy. Amazon’s one-click ordering appeals to everyone who ever wanted ordering stuff to be easier. That’s why it’s important for a digitally savvy group with high expectations like millennials to feel as if something is easy to get to or do.
- Invite shares and likes. When millennials love a product, they want to share and like it, so make this process easy for them. Even if you get a complaint, it’s best to find out firsthand. Provide a place for comments, so you get an opportunity to fix the problem before a customer’s dissatisfaction goes viral. Also, this generation typically clicks past anything that seems like purposeful marketing, so advertising has to be entertaining to earn their tweets and shares.
- Get personal. Millennials expect hyper-personalized user experiences available on all their devices. This requires a lot of data to develop a deep understanding of the millennials’ experience and expectations.
- Reward loyalty. Everyone loves to save, and millennials especially love point systems and loyalty programs. These programs connect them to a larger community as well as save them money. Provide discounts and referral offers when they can get a friend to sign up.
To older generations, the preferences and patterns of the millennial generation can seem mysterious. All the more reason to consult the experts right at your fingertips: Ask your millennial employees about their likes and dislikes in the realms of content, commerce, and marketing strategy —they’ll likely have plenty of definite opinions to offer — and you’ll gain insight that can propel your business to the next level.