What Every Business Ought To Know About Millennials

Millennials are not only coming, they’ve arrived and are here to stay. In the next few years, they will be dominating the consumer market, outpacing Baby Boomers in spending power (Forbes). Today’s businesses can no longer afford to be complacent or out of touch with these “youngsters.”

“Millennials are already transforming the companies they work for and the merchants they do business with, and they will be shaping the marketplace for decades to come” (MarketingProfs).

In a recent survey, we asked Accredited Businesses what BBB could do to connect better with Millennials. Many responses were to the tune of

“I don’t have a clue.”

“No idea. I don’t think there’s any way to connect to the young ones.”

“I’m old. I’m still trying to figure them out.”

“I don’t know what drives the younger crowd.”

“I wish I knew, then I could retire early.”

For years, businesses and corporations have struggled to crack the Millennial code. Even big corporations like Disney and Merrill Lynch have hired consultants to help them understand this younger generation.In today’s consumer market, business success and longevity depend on brands who create experiences that accommodate their customers’ unique buying behaviors and experiences.

You don’t need a team of experts in order to understand Millennials. You just need to be where they are, online and on social media, connecting with them personally. Don’t go the one-size-fits-all, one-way communication route with this crowd. This may work for Baby Boomers, but it won’t with Millennials. They won’t bite. Instead create “killer content” that is customized for them individually and is entertaining, inspiring, and useful.

Millennials also want to interact, not react. “Don’t talk, listen (and respond). Boomer generation marketing was reactive. Brands ran an ad campaign and measured how many consumers responded. Millennials don’t react; they interact. They are part of the branding process, from sharing a great YouTube ad to advising friends on purchase experiences, to giving positive and negative feedback directly to a brand” (Forbes). By using social media to project a positive brand image, businesses will be able to convert Millennials into brand advocates, positioning themselves for continued growth for years and generations to come.

How To Connect With Millennials: In Their Own Words
To get a more complete picture of who Millennials are, it’s best to hear it from them. In their own words, these Millennial marketing professionals answer the question, “How can businesses get my attention and keep it?”

1. Give it to me fast

“I don’t have the time or energy to read more than 2.5 sentences at a time. When I am on social media sites, if a brand fails to grab my attention fast, I’m gone. Give me what I need quickly and I’ll be more willing to make a purchase from you.” Amanda Osborne, Social Media Specialist, StreamPage

“I think it’s important to remember that Millennials want to digest everything as quickly and easily as possible. We want to read on the go on our mobile devices.” Rachel Sprung, Hubspot

2. Inspire me

“For me personally, it’s the combination of a personalized experience and an inspiring message that motivates my purchasing decisions and this is hard to do using traditional marketing channels. Those who take their online presence seriously have the best chance of engaging me and moving me towards a purchase.” Frank Isca, Weidert Group

“What really gets my attention is content that speaks directly to me…. With so much content on the web and so little time to pay attention to it, it’s more important than ever to use extremely targeted, high quality content to appeal to Millennials.” Ginny Soskey, Hubspot

3. Do something good for others

“If you want me to be a lifetime customer, connect with me on a deeper level. That lasting connection can spark from a range of activities. For example: the company is known for sponsoring a charitable cause; it’s an organization that promotes and partners with local businesses; or the brand’s marketing sticks out among competition with a fun event, video, app or campaign. If you want my business, be helpful and be human.” Jessica Donlon, PR 20/20

4. Be helpful

“If you’re a business who’s selling a product or service, it’s not about breaking down our walls. It’s about opening your doors and giving us various channels to willfully reach and connect with your brand. Using technologies like search and social to research and find what I’m actually looking for has been my only purchase method for as long as the technology has been available.”
Tom Discipio, Impact Branding & Design

“Excessive Marketing/Sales is a bandaid on a bigger problem. Make a product that is truly helpful, solves a real problem, and is a delight to users and you won’t have any trouble getting people to buy and talk about it.” David Wells, Inbound Now

5. Make it shareable

“The only way to get me to consume something is to reach me at the right time – most likely in one of those social channels – and teach me something, make me laugh, help me, or give me something I can share with my friends and peers that will make me look cool, smart or funny.” Shannon Johnson, Hubspot

“Show me something that will stick with me throughout the day – a funny video, a thought-provoking blog post, something I’ll want to post on my Facebook wall or go tell my friends about. Make it relevant to me and my needs and interests.” Sarah Goliger, Hubspot

6. Be honest

“I think Millennials value honest brands with substance. You don’t need the flashy ads and can save tons of money by having a valuable position in your industry and communicating it without frills. I am always on social media, I watch TV online, I shop online – I live online. If your brand is authentic and truly providing something awesome, I’ll find you on the web.”
Hannah Fleishman, Hubspot

7. Include consumer reviews.

“When I am looking into making a purchase, I look for a brand I can trust. For products I am interested in, I count on consumer reviews or recommendations from friends on my social media channels.” Adam Loose, Account Manager for StreamPage

Winning Their Hearts? Piece Of Cake

Trying to connect with Millennials doesn’t have to be a daunting task. They aren’t as hard to reach as you might think. Coming straight from a Millennial, all you have to do is “take the time to understand how we communicate and how you can solve our problems. From there, you’ll be better equipped to create value, instead of noise.”

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