One of the biggest challenges for businesses today is integrating the Millennials or Gen Y twenty-somethings into a Baby Boomer culture. They are the newest generation to enter the labor market, arriving with their distinct ideas about what they expect from their jobs. They are our future leaders and our next generation of revenue-generators. So who are the Millennials and how do we manage their expectations.
The Millennial Generation was born between 1977 and 1998. They are 75 million strong in size and were raised by “helicopter parents,” who doted on them, giving them an ample supply of attention and validation. Because they were heralded with high expectations, Millennials tend to display an abundance of self-confidence and believe they are highly valuable to any organization from day one. They are extremely focused on developing themselves and thrive on learning new job skills, always setting new challenges to achieve. They are also the “can do” generation, never worrying about failure, for they see themselves as running the world and work environments.
Unlike other generations, the Millennials are overly connected to their parents. As they move through their twenties, they still speak to their parents frequently and turn to their parents for personal and career advice. Some are still even living at home, not uncomfortable with the arrangement. Organizations must remember the parent involvement factor when dealing with this group. These parents are still micro-managing their children’s careers and personal lives.
When it comes to work life balance, Gen Y is not willing to give up their lifestyle for a career. They have traveled extensively and value having flexibility in their daily lives. They choose careers that allow them to live the life they desire, busy with after-work activities, including philanthropic involvement. Multitasking is their way of life. This generation grew up with little unstructured time as their parents carefully selected their life choices. The result of their minimal “down time” is that they are highly comfortable going from activity to activity in their adult world. When their workday ends, Millennials charge out into gyms, volunteer positions, classes and social events.
Millennials are team-oriented, banding together to socialize in groups. In school, this generation was taught lessons using a cooperative learning style. Therefore, they feel comfortable working on teams and want to make friends with the people at work. They believe that a team can accomplish more and create a better end result. They also grew up in a multi-cultural world which enables them to work well on a team with diverse co-workers. They communicate in snippets through instant messaging, texting, Facebook and e-mail. Quick and efficient communication is the way Millennials choose to interact, not necessarily face-to-face. They are typically unaware of their non-verbal cues. As a result, this generation tends to have more miscommunications between friends, co-workers and bosses. They forget that words only account for a small part of the communication. Additionally, spending time on the phone is not their number one choice.
Of all of the talents that Millennials bring to the workplace, being technologically savvy is their greatest skill contribution. They are constantly connected as they listen to their iPods or send text messages, all while working on a critical project. Social media is at the heart of their world. This allows them to connect with co-workers and friends around the world at great speed. The electronic capabilities of Gen Y are extraordinary. On a recent twitter chat, several Millennials participated at lightning rod speed, sharing their thoughts: One even commented: “Social Media has expanded my network tremendously. More people to talk and learn from.”
Another characteristic of the Millennials is their need for constant feedback and in particular, praise. They were reassured daily of their achievements and were recognized with stars and trophies for those successes. Whether or not the trophy was deserved for each individual, the entire team received the positive reward. It is a generation that needs to continue feeling valuable, while adding their opinions and ideas to every company decision. They want to be heard. In giving critical feedback, managers will need to first compliment Millennials before they will listen to any criticism. They also have little patience for ambiguity, so directions during feedback sessions must be clear and specific. Organizations will be more successful in delivering performance milestones on a more frequent basis than once a year. Once a week might do the trick. The feedback sessions must be interactive, so that the Millennial is presented the opportunity to share their feelings and ideas. Brainstorming together could be a very effective technique.
With 75 million Millennials entering the workplace, organizations have no choice but to learn how to recruit, grow and retain these workers. If not, companies will lose talented employees who, because of their strong networking and technological capabilities, have the ability to be the most productive generation to date.
Your business is unique, and so are your clients. Instead of setting out a wide-reaching net, forget the idea that your product or service can be everything to everyone.Those successful with customer outreach and retention have a focused strategy to understand, track, and please a targeted consumer. By creating an ideal customer profile, your business can begin to build a community of clients that will bring you the most important thing: loyalty.
Create an “Ideal Client Profile”
You need to have a solid idea of your ideal client’s characteristics, so you can easily spot them in a crowd. You have to consider their gender, age, civil status, job, and location. Try gathering specific details like their interests, their favorite hang-outs, their core principles too.
Know Your Value
What can you offer to your ideal clients? How can you make their lives more comfortable or how do you solve a problem they are continuously encountering?. You have to be confident in the fact that what you offer will benefit your ideal clients, and that must radiate in all you do and make, be it content, ads, or promotional contests.
Build Your Brand
Generally, people are attracted to those they can relate to. You can take advantage of that fact by creating a strong brand image that reflects your personality and core values. Your tagline, your product and services, and your response to questions and comments should stick to your branding, and soon enough, you will see like-minded customers knocking on your door.
Create a Clear Message and Call to Action
Aside from using a unique personality, your content, especially your call to action, must clearly identify who your ideal customer is. Your content should talk specifically to that person, and it must lay out the steps that customer can take to further connect with your business.
Be Where Your Target Audience Is
The more your ideal clients get exposed to your brand, the more likely they are to follow it. That’s why you should find out where your customers spend most of their time on, be it online or offline, and then persistently interact with them.
Focus on Your Customers
You should know the value of your business, but you should also know the value of your customers. Instead of simply talking about the awesomeness of your product or service, you must highlight how the clients’ personal and business lives will change with it. You must be willing to answer all queries, and you must do it promptly, courteously, and with sincerity.
Make your ideal clients an active part of your business by communicating with them on a regular basis. Send personal emails and engage them through questions, polls, and even contests.
Provide Consistent Quality
People develop a sense of loyalty to businesses that offer consistent quality. You must always provide real, actionable content and highly-satisfactory products and customers support for your business to attract your ideal clients.
Start a Referral System
Using a referral system to connect with more ideal clients is definitely key: create a system wherein successful referrals will be rewarded. Rewards can be simple things like a free consultation, first dibs on a new product, or discount for a service.
Trying to reach everyone is not only expensive, it’s inefficient.
The process of analyzing your ideal customer is challenging, but well worth your time.
You need to narrow your focus so you can spend your marketing dollars wisely. Once you discover who you serve best, you can focus on a marketing message that resonates with these specific buyers. Not only will the selling cycle become easier because you are targeting potential customers that you can best serve, but those customers will also want to tell their like-minded friends about your business as well.
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