Millennials have reached about 80 million strong and are estimated to spend over $1 trillion annually. A recent focus group also revealed a self-proclaimed tendency toward a “strong focus on self.” Daily personal updates on Facebook and Twitter, selfies on Instagram by the millions…yes, self focus is certainly apparent, but what does it all mean to firms to trying to attract the new generation of professionals?
Cross-generational challenges and complaints, let’s be honest, don’t exactly equate to a revolutionary discovery. Cultural differences among age groups has always existed, and will continue to. From a marketing perspective, however, understanding these difference will help firms better market to this group of prospective clients.
A quick aside: let it be known that while this article focuses on marketing to Millennials as prospective clients, the same guides can be applied to recruiting. Ya’dig? Cool. Moving on…
Tips for bridging the gap
Bridging the generational chasm isn’t as hard as it may sound. It’s really just about understanding your audience and adjusting your messaging to meet their needs and habits—the stuff of Marketing 101. The following tips will help you in your efforts to figure out the New Boom and how to market to this unique group.
Put them in the picture
Consider first that if Millennials, by their own admission, are “self-focused,” then it makes sense to include them in your marketing message. Stats don’t lie. A recent survey by a major Boston-based company indicated young adults will take more than 25,000 photos of themselves over their lifetime—place them in your picture. This can be accomplished in a few no-brainer ways:
- Visuals—Show younger, entrepreneurial-types in your advertising and other marketing collateral. It’s kind of like a selfie.
- Written communications—Write for this group by emphasizing that you understand of their needs, such as working from mobile devices, flex schedules, and their very clear need for freedom.
- Explore all communication channels—Don’t just stick to the familiar communication channels (website, printed materials). Say what you have to say within multiple social channels.
Mirror their confidence
In general, today’s younger generation exudes a great deal of confidence. Whether this is a result of parenting or the independence afforded via the internet and the abundance of social channels—Millennials don’t seem to be afraid of putting themselves out there—everyday and everywhere. Do the same. Get out on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and other social channels and show the human, social side of your business. Don’t be afraid to be confident with who you are beyond the four walls of your firm.
Communicate on a more personal, social level
Piggy-backing on the last tip, the need to get personal cannot be overstated. While the next-generation of clients do respect structure and hierarchy, they also want to see the human side of business. So show them yours. Getting a bit more familiar will draw in this highly personal group, incentivizing them to learn more about your firm and your services. This is best accomplished via social media. These channels represent strong vehicles for humanizing your business. Post personal photos of staff engaging in favorite hobbies, pics from events like open houses or staff parties, and other events that offer a personal view inside your firm.
While on the subject, it’s also important to create two-way dialogue within your social channels. This gives your followers the opportunity to speak to you and build rapport. A few creative ways to get the conversation started include running contests, inviting viewers to rate your services, asking open-ended questions, responding to follower comments and sharing. Essentially, be active in your channels…talk to people.
Express a sense of community
Today’s younger generation are all about community. More than ever, smaller social groups are going the way of the VCR and people are becoming part of larger communities. Trust that Millennials will look for professional service firms that offer a sense of community. It’s done wonders for Apple. By providing an inside, personal look into your business and including staff in these efforts, you will create a sense of closeness and community.
Millennials are probably the easiest group to analyze because they are out there in every possible channel offering volumes of intelligence on which to draw. Stay tuned in and learn from this activity. From there it’s much easier to adjust your messaging and marketing initiatives to attract this group (a group that now outnumbers Baby Boomers). No one is asking for you to compromise professionalism—but digging into you inner creative and getting personal is where it’s at for Millennials.
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