Millennials are now that largest generation, according to the latest census report released Jun 25, 2015, with 83.1 million 15-33 yr olds. Yup the ‘echo boomers’ have surpassed the aging Baby Boomers (75.4 million) in sheer numbers alive today. Teenagers, college students, young workers, they account for 25%, 1 in 4, of the US population. You live with, work with, interact with millennials every day, so knowing how best to communicate with them is worth knowing. And they have their own preferences when it comes to communicating.
Jodi and Jeremy are a typical millennials. The have a young family, with not so typical names, as 60% of their generation feel that it is very important for a child’s name to be unique. They are raising their kids to be more relaxed with their activities, not to be over-scheduled as they were as children. Rather, their kids get to choose what they want, from a very young age, rather than have it dictated to them.
Jeremy works as an accountant at one of the Big Four Accounting firms, but rather than feel that he’s made it to his dream job at the top, he only plans to stay with the firm for a couple of years before looking to move. It’s not important to him to be a business standout success; work flexibility and having work/life balance are the more than getting ahead.
They live in a culture where the expectation is that life is always on; the expectation is that they are always available 24/7 to family, friends, co-workers, bosses – and that’s fine. They both live on their smartphones, texting more than talking. Technology is everything – their main source of information, problem solver, support system, and harshest critic. The alternate-reality of their lives on social media is as important and supportive as it is judgmental and demanding.
When Jodi shops, it’s likely to be online, where she has favored websites, but is not necessarily brand loyal. She is flexible to try new things that her 500 Facebooks friends have recommended or that she has read positive reviews about (and she will check). The internet of things offers instant access, but also information overload, which can be overwhelming. The navigation is not a problem; the problem is balancing the time consumed to investigate so many options and choices with the other demands on her time.
So what’s the best way to communicate with, to reach a millennial? Communicating with teens by way of conversation, communicating with co-workers on project collaboration, communicating with this market segment to around a product or service – how do you get your message through?
Follow the 15 Strongest MILLENNIAL Communication Rules of Thumb: 10 DOs and 5 DON’Ts
DOs – communicate with millennials…
– through the most current trending app – millennials are early adopters and drive the big names to become mainstream. They anxiously await the latest technology innovations.
– via text (if you have their cell number) or email (which hits their cell) for the fastest response, utilizing the channel they prefer, which is visual, due to the huge impact of technology
– informally, as stiff formal language is so their parents and not as relatable (read: don’t worry too much about typos, occasional misspellings, punctuation errors)
– actively through social media, sharing content and liking their Facebook posts, which shows desired support, having positive online reviews for a product or service
– through activities/shared interests, as fun and play is important to being well-rounded
– through optimism – they view the world as “anything’s possible”, great faith in progress, forward thinking
– through individuality – being yourself is of the highest value, self-express by trying new things . (read: break out new approaches, fresh ideas, etc.)
– through social consciousness, locally and globally – saving the world is a priority
– through fairness, consensus where possible, choice with full agreement by all on chosen path
– through greater diversity, low if any expectations on stereotyping of any kind, acceptance of all lifestyle choices
DON’Ts – with millennials, try to avoid…
– aligning with the goals of big business or government interests
– treating them like unknowing kids; they are more sophisticated then you realize
– boxing them in along traditional lines of thinking, don’t assume that they either fit a mold, nor want to
– expecting them to prioritize personal goals over social consciousness; yes they value individuality and self-expression, but they also highly value fairness, choice, consensus of the greater good
– being inflexible in dealing with them, they will walk away if flexibility is not available
The key to communicating with millennials is an approach that is fresh, innovative and unique instead of using traditional, old and stale methods and ideas. Rather than extolling the virtues of ‘tried and true’, millennials are more apt to think of such as ‘old school’, dated, no longer relevant or useful.
Enjoying these bright young minds in our midst, with much to offer, can be easy, now that you know how.
Next time: communicating with the 35-50 yr old set – GEN Xers, ‘The Lost Generation’.
Leave a comment about this generation if you are a milllennial, or your interaction with them if not.