There is a nasty rumor going on that says millennials are takers, selfish and self-centered. This comes from the fact that most millennials aren’t as private about their personal lives as the older generation was. To them sharing a selfie on social media has very little to do about being a narcissist – on the contrary; it’s just about being social and fitting in. It’s nothing more than a world-wide photo booth like the kind you used to see at parties.
No matter what you really think, this generation (those born between 1980 and the year 2000) are fast becoming the largest voting and purchasing block in history – numbering more than 80 million. As they come into their own, it’s up to us to finally start marketing to this generation in a respectful way and in ways that speak to them and their values.
They Value Work-Life Balance
Millennials grew up with their parents working all the time, and for what seemed like nothing. Since the stock market and economy crashed at the end of 2007, millennials decided that they shouldn’t place all their eggs in one basket. They are demanding better treatment at work, and want fair and equitable treatment regardless of sex.
They Use Technology Differently
While you might get on the phone to deal with someone, millennials prefer not to play phone tag and will email, send a text, or direct message people on social media. They believe it’s far more efficient than making a phone call. This isn’t that they’re lazy either. It’s just that this is the technology they grew up with and what they’re used to doing. If you want them to move in a different direction, you’re going to have to be direct to them about it and teach them to do it.
They Are Well Educated
You can’t talk down to millennials; you must talk up to them. They are educated, they know where to find information instantly, and they actually do know what they’re talking about. They have enormous student loan debt but they knew that education was important. They’re really lifelong learners and love to consume digital information quickly.
They Like Instant Gratification
Don’t hand a millennial a huge manual without an index. They like to be able to find the information they need at the touch of a button and are used to doing that. They grew up being able to do that. When they researched a book report, they went to the internet – not the library where they might have to check out 60 books and spend hours combing through them. Now they can comb through 60 books through an online library and find the keywords they’re looking for within minutes. This is not laziness; it’s efficiency.
They’re Full of Confidence
This isn’t being a narcissist, but they may be a little cocky. Parents raised their children to feel good about themselves no matter their size, appearance or station in life. They expect to be treated well regardless, and this is not a bad thing. But it can be tricky to communicate with someone with such confidence without offending them at times.
Millennials are entering into their largest buying generation as you read this. It’s imperative to learn everything you can about them, and try not to judge their actions wrongly. Just as your generation changed things for the generation before, this new, smarter, and more efficient generation will for you too.