How do you win with the new millennial-generation customer and employee? You have to win over their friends and family first. The millennial-generation (born after 1980) is highly motivated by the key influencers in their lives who live within their circle of trust. There are several key areas of focus that will give marketers a competitive advantage with their millennial customers. An added bonus is that this approach may also help you connect with other age groups.
• Get to the point. This is a generation that is more comfortable with text messages and bullet points than they are with long sentences and details. • Get moving. They are also very visual, and therefore streaming video is a key way to “speak” to them. Photos (unless linked to an emotional connection) are seen as boring and ordinary. This generation thinks of YouTube the way previous generations think of Google. • Get personal. Millennials want a digital world that is personalized to their individual needs. The more you can make it unique to each millennial, the more you will connect with this generation. • Get feedback. Successful marketers have a panel of Millennial customers that they run things by prior to going to market. Everything—mailing materials, websites, new apps, electronic media and more—should be run by the panel prior to launch. • Get personal. Inundated with e-mails and spam, millennials will delete your e-mails faster than other generations as they sort through their in-box. It is critical that the e-mail subject line is compelling and starts with a question they care about. Millennial employees. Millennial customers also live in your organization every day. They are some of your key employees. Millennial-generation employees are key ambassadors to help recruit and retain top talent from their generation. However, millennials are more likely than older employees to see work as less central to their life. They want a life outside their job, which is to say, “They work to live.” The key leadership behaviors that emotionally connect with Millennials include providing more frequent feedback—which includes both praise and constructive criticism. It is also important for a leader to assume the role of a coach rather than a boss. (Remember, this is the generation where everyone got a trophy because they showed up!) Successful leaders of millennials often assign a mentor that is from the same generation to help provide insight and be a positive role model. It is critical to make the first day on the job memorable and also make the new millennial employees feel like they are an important part of your entire team. Celebrating birthdays (their favorite holiday) and anniversaries is a big team-builder. Get them away from their phone. One of the best things you can do as a leader is to coach millennials not to use technology (text messages and e-mails) to resolve sensitive issues in the workplace. These issues are best resolved with a face-to-face conversation or a live phone call. Millennials will often utilize technology to try to resolve sensitive issues, and it can negatively impact their career growth. Utilize their strengths. Successful leaders of millennials often put this generation in charge of the new, cutting-edge technologies—teaching and training others how to apply it to help their workload. Technology is a key enabler that is increasing the pace of change. Millennials see themselves as the technology generation and can help lead the way forward for your organization. They also respond exceptionally well to the higher mission of corporate social responsibility, which is a great tie-in to the sustainability message of investment recovery.