Millennials (those aged 18 to 30) aka Generation Y, are the next generation of customers that businesses need to attract in order to succeed. This generation is set to overtake baby boomers on spending power, and will surpass Generation X soon after that. The challenge is they are so different from past generations that businesses must adapt to a new style of customer service.
Here are a few key strategies to wooing Millennials and growing your business.
A survey by the American Press Institute found that younger Millennials (18-21) use an average of 3.7 social media networks; older Millennials (30-34) average 2.9 social medial channels. Social media is where your company can reach Millennials, and it’s where a ton of your proactive engagement will take place.
Proactive engagement isn’t a difficult concept, but it can be a difficult task. Companies really need to find the right person to handle their social media accounts and not their neighbor’s son who is “really good with computers.”
To be successful with your proactive engagement endeavors, you want to be helpful, but not come across as a cyber stalker. Find the right opportunities to reach out to customers, especially if they mention your company. Engaging influencers, people who have a large social media following, regardless of their real world status, is important, too. Angering a person who has 30,000 followers isn’t going to help your business, and being overly friendly will come across as inauthentic. There’s lots to consider here!
Next generation customers are accustomed to having options, and almost require them. Online florist FTD is a great example of a company that offers customizable services that appeal to Millennials. When you go to order something from FTD, you are able to personalize the product to suit your needs, tastes and the occasion. Millennials like having options, so give them some.
Extreme personalization requires a company to have intimate knowledge about their customers. Collecting and analyzing data accomplishes this. Once you have the proper information you can service customers with a more personal touch. Target, for instance, sends coupons to customers based on their Internet habits. Again, there is a fine line between being helpful and being creepy. For more on how personalization can be creepy vs. brilliant, read this post.
Customer / Company Collaboration
This may sound strange, but Millennials want to have a say in your company if they are going to use your products. In fact, 42% surveyed said “they are interested in helping companies develop future products and services.” That’s a big chunk! Businesses can adapt by including Millennials in the development of new products. Seek out their opinions on social media and listen to their feedback. Millennials who participate and follow new products as they’re developed will feel a sense of ownership since they were involved from the start.
Alex is currently taking his MFA in creative writing from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. He has been published in eFiction Magazine, Inkwell at Evergreen, Slightly West Literary Magazine, and appeared in Smokebox Literary Magazine July, 2014. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington.
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