Connect Summer 2017 - Page 19

Retooling for Growth: The Millennial Factor Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest, most racially diverse and highly educated generation in U.S. history. Now, entering their prime earning and spending years, they will impact every aspect of the economy and continue to reshape how we do business. Future growth and survival for your company may depend on leveraging the buying power of this key customer segment through a strategic realignment of resources. Currently numbering nearly 85 million, Americans born between 1982 and 2000 can no longer be discounted merely as teenaged stereotypes of the “selfie culture.” Last year, the first millennials turned 35, and over the next 19 years, they will be joined by their younger contemporaries in a peak earning and spending age bracket of 35–55. They’ve captured our attention since they were old enough to influence spending, but now they are more than influencers— they’re consumers. It’s time to stop avoiding millennials and start learning how to give them what they want. Strategic Investment Retooling your business means adapting to the changing market by strategi- cally calibrating existing systems. Whether tweaks to your policy manual or an organizational overhaul, some investment of time, personnel, and financial resources will be necessary to realign the legacy strategies previously aimed at attracting a much different generation. As you think about which updated investments will yield the highest returns, consider your organization’s capabilities in these high-impact areas:  Mindset. Converting millennials into brand ambassadors requires a shift in the way your entire organization understands the customer. Many companies make the mistake of assuming millennials hold the same life values that older generations did at the same age, but growing up during the Great Recession has altered millennials’ relationship with money. Early struggles with unem- ployment, lower salaries, and school loan debts have forced them to prioritize their spending and delay many of life’s traditional milestones, like marriage and home ownership. Avoid appearing tone-deaf and create an organizational philosophy grounded in an understanding of this generation's unique values. Î Î Update policies and proce- dures, training, and mission statements to reflect a more inclusive approach. Î Î Review company literature and rewrite language that excludes nontraditional values. Î Î Develop products and services that speak to the unique pain points of millennials. Î Î Offer custo ֗&RV@WFG2"f6F2FFG&W72FR'VFvWBVVG2`֖V7W7FW'2TU@D2tT4TWV7WFfRf6R&W6FVB&W6FVBb7V6Gf6P6W&66ƖVG2VVB`fW&R7V6ƗVBVFpF2GW&FFvV6V@2FVbWW'G2B7FW&ƖpF&֖FFRЦ&WB6W27G'VvvPvF6FƗF&@w&wF66V&27V6F'GVFW2"FW"VVP6&7V7F6W2vV6VFW0W'6ƗVB6&&FfP&66V7W&rFPV6W76'&W6W&6W2F6fPFW6R6ƖVG2r77VW2BgVVw&wF6W'f6W26VFR76WBЦ&6VBVFr&f6Rf7F&r'FvvRv&VW6PVFrB7F6F22vV2GW7G'7V6f2f6p7V62WVVB&W7FW&@g&66RVF6&RVFW f6RBV&Ɩ2f6R$TB%d$$U>( #r( U$4( 2$U5B$>( 4T5BdD5TU"#r4"4