This is the age of the Millennial.
Born between 1980 and mid-2000s, Millennials are an ever growing presence in society, especially in the workforce. With the first wave of this generation now in their early to mid-thirties, they are a section of the demographic that will not be ignored. According to Forbes, Millennials in the United States alone make up a fourth of the population and have around $200 billion in annual buying power. Hubspot calls them the ‘most lucrative market’; the short version is: if you’re not focussed on the Millennial Generation then you’re going to get left behind.
The world is moving a lot faster than it was twenty years ago; there’s no escaping the connectivity we enjoy (or hate) these days. With social media platforms keeping everyone connected to everything all the time, and every new gadget being integrated into ‘the Cloud’, Millennials maintain connections in a way that we’ve never seen before. It’s become a way of life.
A White House report actually sites a source saying that “Millennials are more connected to technology than previous generations and a quarter of Millennials believe that their relationship to technology is what makes their generation unique.”
How does this affect businesses? Well, for starters, outbound and interruptive marketing tactics are out: this generation wants to be connected to their brands in a way that allows them to decide for themselves just how trustworthy a product or company may be.
Think about this for a moment.
A survey conducted in 2014 suggests that Millennials actually distrust marketing and advertising campaigns and are more likely to trust the word of information from social media and their closest friends. This fact indicates that we, as businesses looking to tap into this market, need to reexamine how we market ourselves and our products.
We need to move fast. We need to get onboard with the Millennial way of life and join in. This means byte-size chunks of information that we can “swipe” in and out of our lives: no more long emails! It also means changing your customer service approach from a human-centric one to a hybridization with technology.
With the advent of technology, marketing – and sales! – need to adapt. Marketing and sales representatives now play a crucial role in customer service relations. More often than not, the one in charge of social media will be answering many customer service questions. The digital customer service element is becoming more and more prominent. Millennials are more likely to use technology to do product or brand research, ask questions, and spread the word (good or bad!) than they are to come into a store to do so in person.
Does this mean we should abandon our sales consultants on the floor? Absolutely not. What about retraining our social media management team to be better more customer service orientated? Well, that’s not a bad idea regardless. In fact, your entire team should know how to deal with your customers. This is a customer-centric world now, with the Millennials at the heart of it!
The important thing to understand here is that Millennials have different expectations in terms of customer service. The rule of thumb when it comes to marketing (and selling) to Millennials:
- They don’t like waiting days for a response.
- If your content isn’t authentic, they’ll walk.
- They will Google your product and brand before they make a decision.
- They want an interpersonal connection with your company/product/brand.
- Once you’ve earned their loyalty, they’re likely to stay with you.
In conclusion, we’re going to need a multichannel approach to deliver a great customer service experience. Your front line is no longer just the sales consultants on the floor, or the receptionists at the desk, it’s also the people sitting behind your social media platforms generating content and allowing for Millennials to connect to your brand on a personal level.
Utilizing Social Media as Part of Millennial Decision Making Process, Leah Swartz, Millennial Marketing
All Grown Up and Here to Stay: The Next Generation and the Small Screen Valentina Perez, Harvard Political Review