July 9, 2015

Three Ways to Effectively Engage and Attract Millennial Customers

HandsNowadays, for companies and sales teams to more successfully engage, attract, and develop new customer relationships, it’s important they’re aware of this interesting fact shared by J. Walker Smith, Ph.D., and Ann Clurman, coauthors of the book, Rocking the Ages: “Generationally determined lifestyles and social values exercise as much influence on buying and purchasing as more commonly understood demographic factors like income, education, and gender do — maybe even more.”

How millennials (aka: Gen. Y), Generation X, and baby boomers each prefer to be engaged with is different. And it’s critical that companies, and their salespeople, educate themselves on these preferences, as doing so can greatly improve the results of their sales and marketing efforts.

However, in this article, the focus is on the millennial generation. Not only is this the newest generation of adult consumers, but it is also the most unique. Plus, aside from being consumers, millennials are starting to move into key decision-making roles in the workplace. This means they are also becoming the next generation of clients that companies, and salespeople, need to build relationships with.

This is a big deal! Why? For starters, millennials are the largest generation in U.S. history; even bigger than the boomers. Plus, by 2025, 75 percent of the U.S. workforce is going to be comprised of millennials.

As a result, not only are companies busy learning how to effectively recruit and retain millennials as employees, they’re also scrambling to figure out how to land them as “adult” customers.

There are many ways to attract, engage, and build brand-loyalty with this unique generation. Here’s an example of three to be aware of:

1. They Respect Giving Back

Millennials are the firTextingst generation who were largely required to volunteer in their communities as part of their high school graduation requirements. Therefore, they are wired to “support causes,” and countless studies show they are attracted and loyal to brands who share that same philosophy. They respect that a company needs to make money to grow and survive, but they want to see that the company also gives back. And this is true whether you’re trying to attract them as a consumer to your brand or as a client in the business world.

2. Peer Recommendations Mean Everything

Millennials are an extremely close-knit generation and value peer recommendations, often from strangers, more than flashy marketing campaigns. As a matter of fact, research reveals they rank “peers” as their most valued sources of information.

The key takeaway? To attract them, companies should include millennial testimonials and imagery in their sales and marketing materials, as well as include millennial-created content in their social media efforts.

3. They Require (and Demand) Guidance

Although they are confident and perceive themselves as “individuals,” much research shows that millennials tend to struggle with decision-making. Remember, this is the generation raised by helicopter parents, and many of those parents continue to “hover” over their millennial kids well into their adulthood. So, if marketing efforts and sales teams focus more on being positioned as “trusted advisors” than they do on “sales speak” (focused solely on making a sale), they will fare much better with landing millennial customers.

With $1.5 billion in annual consumer spending power, and being a generation 85 million strong, it’s easy to see why companies ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations are focusing on millennials as consumers — and as their next generation of clients in business. 

Lisa Orrell, CPC, is globally recognized as The Generations Relations & Leadership Expert. She’s an in-demand corporate and college speaker, thought leader, media guest, and the award-winning author of four popular books: “Millennials Incorporated”; “Millennials into Leadership”; and “Boomers into Business”. Her latest book, “Your Employee Brand is in Your Hands: How Any Employee Can Create and Promote Their Own Personal Leadership Brand for Massive Career Success!,” is receiving 5-star ratings on Amazon. Visit Lisa’s website to see her seminar, workshop, and keynote topics, client list, and background info: TheOrrellGroup.com.
http://www.theorrellgroup.com/