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Things most millennials have NEVER done in their lifetime:
- Made a call using a rotary phone
- Used a typewriter to write a college paper
- Mailed a hand-written letter to a friend and anxiously waited for the postman to bring a response
Think about that. After growing up with smart phones, always having Internet access and being exposed to the largest and quickest introduction of technological changes than any other generation, millennials have the ultimate symbiotic relationship with technology. It’s no wonder that they expect immediate gratification – whether it’s looking for information, communicating with the outside world or shoe shopping.
Large consumer corporations have worked feverishly over the last decade or so to make sure they’re able to grasp the attention of this evolutionary generation that has dictated the new norm of intuitive use, attractive interfaces and cross-platform integration. Websites have a whole new look and feel with ongoing updates, fast-loading pages and mobile-first design. All of which is extremely important to a group that’s much more likely to research products and read reviews on a mobile device while shopping than their counterparts. Any websites that haven’t transformed to capitalize on these new behaviors are certainly missing out.
These big corporations understand that the millennial influence goes well beyond their own generation - largely due to the fact that, (are you ready for this?), they get along with their parents. They actually socialize and want to hang out with them. (Perhaps still not as frequently as we parents may like, but I think most of us would agree that it is much more of a norm than it was 20 years ago.) It’s not surprising then to think that millennials of all ages influence what products their parents buy, what shops and restaurants they visit and what trips they take. In essence, millennials can be viewed as vital carriers of a business’s commercial message to not only their friends but also their parents. At the rate they’re spreading the word, it won’t be long until almost everyone passes for a millennial in purchasing thoughts and behavior.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “but my company is not a large corporation and we service businesses, not consumers so this "millennial effect" probably has little bearing on us, right?” WRONG. More than 1 in 3 workers in the labor force are made up of Millennials (18-34 age group).
This number is expected to be 50% of the workforce by the year 2020. This group is making business decisions, primarily by doing their own research first – evaluating based on what they see online and through social media before narrowing their decision down to 2 or 3 possibilities before ever deciding to have a conversation with someone at a potential organization of interest. So, if your website hasn’t been redesigned within the last 3 years, I can almost guarantee that it’s hurting your business. Think about these 3 critical factors:
- Millennials expect technology to simply work – so you'd better make sure that it does – intuitively and seamlessly.
- Millennials have a very short attention span so if they don’t see instant results when going to your site – they’ve already moved on to your competitor.
- Millennials are mobile – if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, then once again, they’ve moved on to your competitor.
As a marketer, project manager and client service leader for the last 20 years, the one thought that has consistently run through my mind is – you only have one chance to make a first impression. Focus on what you want that to be, while looking through the eyes of your beholders.
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