Invasion of the young professionals

The millennial influx

by Hannah Sheffield, IMI marketing coordinator

As the new year begins, many of us are ready to roll out new marketing strategies. We're keeping some old ideas and tossing others to make way for new ones. Before you get too far down the road, however, here's some compelling information about the way one generation is changing the way we all do business.  

Not long ago young professionals only held entry-level positions in order to gain experience that would eventually help them achieve C-Level status. Not anymore. Millennial professionals are increasingly holding more influence in the workplace and as consumers. 

Today, millennial consumers are not only a huge target market for almost every business, but in most workplaces, they have become decision influencers over the decision makers. In other words, C-Level executives in the company may have the final say, but they look to the millennials on the team for guidance on which way to go.

Not convinced? Look at these stats:

  • In 2018, millennial consumers are expected to hold about $3.39 trillion in annual buying power in the U.S. (Oracle). 
  • Research done by the firm EY found that 87 percent of millennial workers took on management positions in the last five years, as opposed to the combined 57 percent of Gen X and Baby Boomers being promoted. 

Here are some tips to relating and appealing to the young professionals invading businesses—likely including yours—from every angle:

Connecting with the millennial consumer

Keep in mind that individuals in the “millennial” category are just that—individuals. They don’t want to be grouped into binding categories. That said, as a group, millennials tend to appreciate authenticity, honesty, and transparency. All of these values should be kept in mind when creating a strategy to target your millennial customers. 

The characteristics of millennials should guide your strategy creation. Gaining contact information for this market segment would be ideal; however, you have to earn the trust of the consumer first. In order to do this, you have to relate to them by marketing your company as having their shared values.

Only six percent of millennials consider online advertising to be credible. On the other hand, 95 percent of them believe their friends are the most credible source of purchasing information (SocialChorus). Simply launching an ad campaign won’t do the trick to win over millennials. 

One way to insert yourself into the millennial trust triangle is to start a word-of-mouth campaign. These can be difficult, but with the right planning, your company can build credibility by word of mouth. Just look at this video that Chipotle had done, for example: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUtnas5ScSE

One intention of this video marketing tactic was to get people talking. What did Chipotle want them to talk about? The brand, the company’s values, and most importantly, the quality of its products. This video successfully achieved the goals of encouraging people to think about the topic raised, and to promote conversation about it.

Persuading the millennial leader

In order to appeal to a millennial decision influencer, it’s important to understand his or her leadership style. And this differs from the traditional top-down leadership of previous generations. The millennial leader tends to be open, inclusive, transparent, and promotes a team-oriented interaction style.

When communicating with millennial leaders, it’s also important to produce content that's accessible, fair, trustworthy, and inclusive. If you think about it, millennials have grown up during a time in which race, gender, sexual orientation, and opinion is very diverse. Inclusivity is incredibly important to millennials.

It will be vital to appeal to millennials for years to come. We hope these tips will help you tap into the purchasing and influencing power that millennials hold.