Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What a Millennial Once Said To Me

An article from Reed Dillon

 What a Millennial Once Said To Me

In January 2014 I was walking through Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with a 20-something millennial co-worker. We were there to help support my company’s participation in the International Builders Show.  While we were walking and taking in the sites we the subject turned to websites. The conversation went something like this:

Me: So what websites do you visit regularly?
Millennial: I usually don’t go to websites of businesses.
Me: Really, why?
Millennial: I don’t go to those websites because I know when I get there I there will be just a lot of fluff about them and how great they are. I don’t have time for that, If I want to find out about a business that I might want to buy from I just go to Facebook and see what other people are saying about them. That is when I decide whether I possibly want to buy from them.

That simple little exchange was a wakeup call to me. It revealed to me that Millennials really do fundamentally think, discern and interact with products and businesses very differently than myself. They depend on social media for the delivery and exchange of ideas and information. They like relational and personalized experiences. They like to engage in the free exchange of information.

Beware, potential customers are checking you out all the time and you don’t even know it. Just think, a millennial might be seriously thinking about patronizing your business and in all probability you will not hear from or have any direct contact with that customer prior to them already making their mind up that they do or do not want to do business with you. In your first conversation it will be obvious that they already know a lot about you and it is likely that all the information acquired by them will be from third party sources other than your website.

Millennials are the next great buying generation whose numbers will actually eclipse those of the baby boomers. I believe it important to know how they think and engage with products and businesses in order to create marketing strategies that address and their needs. Below is a list of a few things that I have learned and observed:

1.     Social Responsibility: Millennials are socially aware and dispel the notion that making money runs contrary to simultaneously doing good. What a company does beyond making money for a cause is seen as responsible. The perception of a company’s ethical and moral attitude can be and is often the deciding factor when it comes to whether the millennial with do business with that particular company. Example: Subaru’s “Share the Love Event” where they donate $250 of your car sale to the charity of your choice.
2.     Honesty: Millennials have super sensitive BS detectors. They can smell if something is not kosher from a mile off. To Millennials honesty is really the best policy. Be transparent in presenting information and processes. If a mistake is made own up to it. In the end they will respect you for it.
3.     Technology: Millennials are much more tech savvy and dependent of technology than previous generations. Seldom will you see a Millennial pick up a phone and call you if they are interested in your product. Instead they will let technology do the walking and check you out socially and research you independently. If you do hear from them it will usually be in the form of an email asking already well researched questions.
4.     Immediacy: Millennials want it now not later. Delivery systems must be fast and content should be to the point. Beating around the bush is a big turn off for them and they will abandon contact.
5.     Independent Thinkers: Millennials tend to not like strict rules. They respond to flexibility. Instead hard and fast rules consider guidelines and options that are dependent on their own personal judgments.
6.     Transactional versus Relation based selling: Transactional selling is focused on the one time short term purchase. Relational selling focuses on the return sale and the future relationship. Millennials are definitely more respond to Relational selling than the latter and will be adverse to the one time hard sell.
7.     Loyalty: Millennials can be very loyal to your brand once they trust you and they see that you have delivered and performed to their standards and ideals. Do not discount the fact that this millennial although young now, might well be a customer for life.

I welcome hearing your thoughts regarding Millennial buying decisions and how they may be different  than previous generations. Feel free to post your questions and thoughts in the comments section below.

ABOUT Reed Dillon - After nearly two decades of experience heading the marketing departments of some of the industry’s leading modular manufacturers and earning numerous national awards, Reed Dillon is the owner of Creative Brand Content - a marketing consulting company. You can contact Reed at rkdillon@embarqmail.com or by phone at 540-488-2978.  

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