By the year 2025, millennials, or “digital natives,” will make up 75% of the workforce. This adds a greater sense of urgency to an organization’s ability to successfully deliver digital communications. Though I’m not a millennial, I live with a few of them and I notice our differences.
At first I didn’t buy the idea that this generation is that much different than their predecessors. But as I pay attention to the way my 18-year-old son interacts with his friends, how he makes decisions about brands and how he recently responded to his insurance company’s email about repairing his car after a fender bender, I begin to see the light. While he rarely talks on the phone or uses email, he sends around 10,000 texts a month, and reads online product reviews. His behavior is solidly mobile first.
For a look at millennial trends and characteristics, check out this infographic. There are now more millennials than baby boomers and they have more than a trillion dollars in purchasing power! As the digital transformation takes hold, companies that recognize this trend will adapt their customer communications to appeal to this highly digital and technologically advanced group.
If your company has or is moving to digital, that’s a good plan. But reconsider your path if you hear your colleagues and leadership saying things like:
- We’re too busy or We don’t have budget to make any changes right now
- Oh, millennials don’t have any money, they’re teenagers.
- We already send PDFs, isn’t that enough?
Millennials want much more than PDFs. They want access to their brands 24/7. They have the highest adoption and usage of mobile devices of any generation and they navigate seamlessly between devices and channels, which means they expect consistent content experiences and branding across those channels.
Millennials use social media like no other generation before. They like, follow, tweet, and share on all channels—actions that can make or break a brand. They engage with brands more deeply through social networks, with 52% saying they, at least occasionally, use their mobile devices on social media to indicate that they like a brand, compared with 33% of baby boomers. Also, 39% post product reviews, 35% share links about products on LinkedIn, and 32% say they follow brands on Twitter. In each case, the percentage of millennials who reported these activities exceeded that of boomers by 150% to 250%.
Millennials identify with brands more personally and emotionally than older generations. Fifty percent of U.S. millennials ages 18 to 24 and 38% of those ages 25 to 34 agree that brands “say something about who I am, my values, and where I fit in.”
Keeping the message relevant
To sustain millennial loyalty, companies need a strong digital presence to engage this audience as individuals with omni-channel communication preferences.. That means providing anytime, anywhere access (millennials hate delays), rewarded with targeted promotions and offers.
Companies should strive for messages that speak authentically to the attitudes, beliefs, preferences, and personalities of their audience because this group moves away from seeing brands as “badges” or status symbols and instead thinks of brands as “mirrors” that reflect their values and beliefs.
View the infographic “Are you prepared to engage the digital natives?”