Tips on tapping into the millennial market

|  February 9, 2017
Photo: Marty Whitford

Photo: Marty Whitford

A millennial herself, Gabrielle Jackson Bosché has constructed quite a career helping companies better attract and retain employees and customers born between 1981 and 2000. If the old adage “It takes one to know one” is true, Bosché is one to know.

Founder of The Millennial Solution and The Millennial Management Institute, Bosché has published several books on the topic, including 5 Millennial Myths: The Handbook for Managing and Motivating Millennials. She’s also developed millennial engagement strategies for Fortune 500 companies — including Microsoft, Audi and Volkswagen — and top government agencies, including the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command, or NAVSEA, and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Bosché is a hot ticket on the lecture circuit, annually educating thousands. I was fortunate to hear Bosché speak recently at the annual meeting of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), a national trade association representing manufacturers, formulators and distributors of specialty pesticide and fertilizer products.

What follow are just a few of Bosché’s sound bites on the millennial market, comprising approximately 83 million potential employees and customers in America alone:

  • “We have our own language. How many of you know what a POTS text message means? It’s an abbreviation for Parents Over The Shoulder. … You’re welcome!”
  • Millennials crave guides. “Mentor like you mean it. Share how the millennial’s mission fits into the company’s mission, and provide feedback in real time, in short snippets.”
  • Want to know why many millennials switch jobs every two to three years? “Most millennials are not disloyal. They just don’t want to be static. They want a clear purpose, one that grows along with them personally and professionally.”
  • “We often criticize the next generation as if we had nothing to do with creating them. Labeled ‘the most-entitled generation,’ millennials didn’t break their piggy banks to ensure everyone gets participation trophies. That was the coaches’ and parents’ idea.”
  • Bosché admits there’s some credence to the impression that many millennials are addicted to technology. Upon awakening, the first thing 87 percent of millennials do is reach for their smartphone.
  • Knowing this, marketers should embrace online consumer connections. “Nearly two-thirds of millennials will engage your brand if you engage with them online.”
  • Many millennials are won over by customer testimonials advising them to trust a brand’s people, products and programs. “Millennials invest in people, not companies. We want to be brand ambassadors, not consumers.”

Bosché’s bottom line: “Our older generations have three options: They can throw their arms in the air and shake their heads at millennials, or try to change an entire generation, or try to better understand and work with millennials. There’s really only one option if you want to succeed.”

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