As the Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory song “I Want It Now” goes: “I want the world. I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket. It’s my bar of chocolate. Give it to me now!”
Since millennials now surpass the baby boomers as the nation’s largest age group in the workforce, they are redefining society in profound ways. And as PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that more than $30 trillion will pass to them (and Generation X) through inheritance, millennial investors could use their wealth to reshape not just markets but the world (www.pwc.com).
In part two of our discussion about the millennial wealth transfer and how to prepare for it, we’ll be talking about some of the new ways that businesses are approaching this segment of the population with their sales, marketing and advertising efforts.
To start, think of how the world has changed during the lifetime of the millennials. These are the children of astonishing advances in technology. As a result, I’ve found that it’s not uncommon for millennials to have a uniquely fluid sense of the world and their place in it. As I explained in my previous article, millennials are used to learning and communicating efficiently. As a result of “having the world at their fingertips,” they have high expectations for qualities like convenience and enhanced communication.
This new way of receiving and absorbing information is changing industries across the board. Companies are adapting and popping up all over the world to create more conveniences in an already fast-moving marketplace. Millennials are often called “convenience customers.” Whether you’re ready to watch some Netflix and order dinner off Postmates or you ask Alexa for your morning briefing from The Wall Street Journal before you grab an Uber to work, everything is just a click or swipe away. That means companies have high expectations to meet. Businesses need to think seriously about how to deliver customer service to these convenience customers, particularly as they begin to take on more leadership roles and further shape our society.
So how does this apply to you and your business, and what can you do to adapt?
Create consistency and convenience
In the age of Amazon where layers of algorithms are already calculating what products best suit a buyer’s lifestyle or when they’re likely to buy a product again, it’s important to bring consistency and convenience to your customer service experience. Remove all unnecessary hurdles from service and sales to make the experience constantly convenient. This can be as simple as adding services like an electronic signature to your forms so a customer or prospect doesn’t have to go through the trouble of downloading, printing, signing and then scanning back or mailing documents to you. There are a plethora of tools and apps out there for every type of business that can be easily integrated into the customer experience. The goal is to make the experience scalable and repeatable through different markets and products.
Display transparency and communication
Businesses of all sizes can take advantage of the opportunity in front of them, which is marketing to millennials—who will likely be outspending baby boomers before too long.
Digital marketing has vastly expanded the sales network for companies who have adopted the style of the “social native” in which content is created by users and represented to new and existing consumers. Many consumers are taking away a layer of a once-coveted advertiser by spending their time letting other consumers know their true feelings on a product with reviews and original content, so offer plenty of opportunities for customers to contribute user-generated content on your social media channels. Millennial consumers seem to crave targeted messages that fit their lifestyles and ideologies, so create a connection that then creates loyalty to your brand. And above all, they need to trust in your brand in order to be loyal to it. Simply put, say what you mean and mean what you say. By its nature, clarity builds trust. I’ve found that having that reliable and transparent brand message, combined with a strong social media presence, can make all the difference in reaching this large market with strong lifetime value.
Stay ahead of the curve
Naturally, millennials probably aren’t impressed by the way that companies such as Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and Uber have redesigned the way people buy, sell and consume. This type of discovery-based shopping, social purchasing, and DIY ethos is all they know — it’s not unique. However, those over 45 are often simply amazed by it. But at the same time, they may be struggling to enjoy the new reality we live in while also getting frustrated by it.
Over time, I believe we will see a vast majority of businesses change direction to adhere to the new way consumers buy, trade and share ideas. This will likely be led by discovery-based (browsing-oriented) buying and social shopping, frictionless and convenient applications and transparent communication directed to consumers, particularly those in the millennial generation and beyond.
This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the sale of any financial product or service or as a determination that any investment strategy is suitable for a specific investor. Investors should seek financial advice regarding the suitability of any investment strategy based on their objectives, financial situations, and particular needs. This article is not designed or intended to provide financial, tax, legal, accounting, or other professional advice since such advice always requires consideration of individual circumstances. If professional advice is needed, the services of a professional advisor should be sought.
As originally published in Forbes, please view here.