(This is the second of a two-part column on this topic, the previous one having appeared in the Knoxville News-Sentinel on Sunday, November 11, 2018.)
Millennials are aged 21 – 36 years old (born between 1982 and 1997) and are playing an increasingly pivotal role in the way businesses and other organizations position and market themselves. While perhaps not the “true digital natives” that today’s teenagers are, most of them grew up with technology playing a critical role in how they access and communicate information.
Because they represent considerable buying power, it is obviously important for companies to understand what drives their decisions, as well as the types of marketing and outreach strategies to which they resonate. As a baseline, they value honesty, authenticity and efficiency. They are, for the most part, debt-aversed, not as materialistic as previous generations, and proactively interested in fitness and well-being.
Our previous column outlined some ways that the financial services, real estate and retail industries can craft their messages for optimum receptiveness by Millennials. This one focuses on tourism/hospitality, healthcare and politics.
Tourism and Hospitality
Most Millennials strongly prefer experiences over material items. They are more interested in making memories with their families and friends than they are in “purchasing things.” This is a positive trend for the tourism and hospitality industry, although this demographic sector wants unusual, difference-making events – that is, experiences that transcend the annual summer trips to the beach that were typical of their childhood vacations. And beyond actual things, they want to spend some of their disposable income on concerts, sporting events, destination weddings, special nights out and lavish brunches on the weekends.
They, of course, are booking most of their travel and entertainment activities online, so businesses serving this sector need an informational website that is easy to navigate, an interesting and dynamic social media presence, and frequent engagement with their targeted audiences.
Millennials have no patience for waiting on the phone to schedule a doctor’s appointment or to get an answer to a health-related question. They want convenient apps which by-pass the waiting process and provide convenience and efficiency in the various ways they interact with their healthcare providers. Additionally, they are willing to switch providers if they don’t get this.
They are very interested in physical fitness and in working for companies which contribute to healthy lifestyles. Also, Millennials suffer from more mental health issues than any previous generation, so organizations providing mental health solutions are poised to grow and should examine their communications language and outreach strategies to be sure they sync up with this need.
Approximately 77% of Millennials believe that voting is the duty of every citizen, so they are perhaps more engaged as a group in following and participating in the voting process than past generations have been. If fact, 71% of them identify voting as an important form of activism.
With 75 million Millennials in the United States, they will soon be the chief decision-makers in this country. They want to see and participate in positive social change, and it behooves political candidates as well as businesses to weave their beliefs and their activities regarding social change into their outreach messages.
Primary areas of concern that Millennials want to see addressed are: the economy (including minimum wage and unemployment rates), college affordability and student debt, foreign policy and healthcare.
In summary, if your business is not already studying and addressing the needs of this impactful generation, it’s time to double-down and figure out your strategies for attracting and engaging Millennials.
Cathy Ackermann, founder and president of Ackermann Marketing and PR, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org