Millennials and Business

There is a sea-change happening across many fields, business included. The change has to do with the way “millennials”, in general, approach things.

The effect is the opposite of globalization – it can be termed digital localization.

If taken on average, it seems that a millennial in business and as a customer has different sensibilities to a range of things, different from what would have been seen in previous demographic groups:

  • Those in authority are not viewed with either respect, admiration, or distrust, as much as the less deterministic feeling of: “There is a gatekeeper who will likely be in my way”
  • Certificates or diplomas are like long-hand division versus using an app
  • Relationships are vastly more important than meeting sales goals
  • Trust in a relationship is like crystal – once clouded or cracked, it is gone.

Gatekeepers are in the Way

A millennial just wants to get something done.

They usually have the perception that a person who is in “authority” is there as a gatekeeper, not to assist but to be in the way of direct action.

Gatekeepers are an anachronism from the era of long-hand math – a curiosity to be tolerated.

Where complex tasks need to be done, and an app will not do it, it is expected that a person will be found who can help start the process then hand it off so that the new tasks can be learned sufficiently to be completed – expert knowledge is an occasional convenience.

While anyone can learn to be an expert in anything, focusing too much on one topic smacks of obsessive-compulsive behaviour.

Long-hand or App

Taking the time and effort to achieve a certificate or diploma does not carry the caché it once did.

Having spent years of one’s life to add a few letters to one’s name merely places one in the position of possibly being a gatekeeper.

To accomplish a difficult task, it is not necessary to pull out one’s diploma and a slide-rule – just search for the right app and get it done.

Being able to quickly search for needed information or the right app is more personally and socially satisfying than showing off with the innate ability of a savant.

Relationships and Trust

A millennial does seem to value self more than the formal hierarchies of family or business structures. It is not that family or business cannot be part of relationships – they will receive an initial free pass into one’s relationship group, but the pass may be revoked.

Rather than applying the pejorative term “narcissistic”, a millennial thinks of self as the starting point by which relationships can be best understood and enhanced – it is a convenience and not an obsession.

To be able to make one’s way through the world, relationships and trust are necessarily interwoven.

Relationships are extended through trust.

Trust binds the network of relationships.

Clouded trust shatters the network.

Philosophy

Without the rigor of academic analysis, a millennial’s philosophy appears full of presumptions and randomly chosen concepts.

One of the commonalities is that everyone starts off on the positive side of neutral, so it is up to the individual to make additions or deletions to that assessment in the minds of those they contact.

Society should be set up to enable people to make those small positive contributions, while being tolerant of minor issues.

Respect is expected; lifestyle is important in decision-making; new experience is to be sought; relationships and trust are the foundation.

Being able to get a job will usually trump some philosophical prerogative.

For instance:

“They believe global warming is real – but they want jobs. So they take policies from both sides and develop nuanced views that are able to balance their needs and desires.” – from the Interview noted in References

Philosophy and Politics

There is usually a presumption that large-scale politics (or large-scale organizations of any sort) breeds large-scale corruption, so that local communities should take priority.

The necessity of technocrats is reluctantly accepted for certain things that need extensive use of resources – a few people are inclined that way so it is convenient to give them a confined outlet.

Paradoxically, millennials view politics as a smorgasbord, by choosing to support elements from any side, based on pragmatic requirements.

Decisions that affect a community can be made by algorithmic analysis of the general mood, determined from the transactions within social media.

Occasional flash-mobs are good, where the energy of physical togetherness can reinforce the sense of community.

Determined consistency of purpose is viewed with suspicion.

Businesses and Millennials

Millennials understand that businesses, large and small, are a fact of life. Where possible, local businesses are supported, even if there is a premium.

It is accepted that businesses must make a reasonable profit.

Millennial employees will work hard if given respect, learning opportunities, and the ability to build relationships.

Those businesses that stay within the bounds of certain expectations will be supported.

Since millennials make decisions based on a combination of personal reasons and pragmatic constraints, a business can (while staying authentic) use the transient wants of millennial shoppers to direct them to discretionary purchases.

However, the principles of relationships and trust should not be violated, so there must be perceived value in the products, even if they were discretionary.

Can This Be Profitable?

Business factors that may be useful:

  • Clearly state what the customer will receive
  • Authentic, lifestyle, value and new experience are important concepts to consider when marketing and selling
  • Do not place “counters” in the way – putting physical or procedural obstructions in the way of products or services will turn off customers
  • Sell by proving you have a worthwhile product or service – hard-selling may make one sale but not a second sale to that customer, nor to the friends who will quickly hear about it
  • Use social media as a way of building relationships and networks – “selling” via social media will place you in quarantine
  • Show respect by listening to, and acting on, customer comments – even if a suggestion cannot be implemented, show that you listened and considered it

References

More ideas may be found here:

copyright(c)George Opacic 2016