In my last column, I introduced a 27-year-old, MBA-educated executive in a local firm.
He is a member of the group we call the Millennials – born between 1979 and 2001. It's 78 million strong with $700 billion in spending power and growing.
I noted the general characteristics of the Millennials – loyal to projects instead of companies, entrepreneurial, collaborative, technologically driven. I also promised to follow up with tips on how to develop, lead and motivate this group to buy your company's products or to listen to your pitch to join your employment ranks.
Think Green: A 2006 study by Cone Inc. (they develop executive initiatives) says 83 percent of the Millennial demographic trust a company more if it is socially and environmentally responsible. Some 69 percent consider a company's social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop.
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Demonstrate diversity: Millennials have grown up in a much more diverse society than the past, particularly with ethnic diversity. They will buy where they sense that diversity is evident and they will walk when it is not.
Have them “do,” not just listen: This group is technologically evolved and “actionable.” Instead of asking them to listen to a pitch, have them sample a product, explore a Web site or find some other way to get them actively involved. Give them options to explore and they will be better prepared to buy.
Allow peer influence: As demonstrated by the 67 million users of Facebook, this group turns to peers for assistance in making purchasing and employment decisions. Don't spend a lot of time pounding away at what celebrities think. Get ground-level input from real users, the closer the connection the better.
Testimonials work, but you have to remember to connect with Millennials where they are, and the most likely place to find them is online. To find out what people are saying about things, go to www.omgili.com (OMGILI = oh my God I love it!).
Get over it: A boomer manager spent a lot of time recently arguing why this group of smart, talented Millennials should have to “wait their turn” before breaking into the six-figure ranks. The bottom line is that Millennials are demanding and getting just that.
The good news is that your company gets (maybe temporary) access to a talented employee and your sales get potentially boosted as well. The downside is that we boomers may have to swallow some pride and show more patience.
IMHO, to be successful, make sure GMTA. (Translation for boomers: In my humble opinion, to be successful, make sure great minds think alike.) You and the Millennials, that is.
Next week: We wrap-up this run of “In Closing …”
The Futurist: Denny Clark of ExecuQuest, a multinational talent acquisition firm, provides recruitment research, search team training, market analysis and performance advising. 704-844-6000, Info@eqcadvisors.com