Marketing to Millennials: They’re Who You Want at the Helm, Whether You Know it or Not
Within two years, fifty percent of the U.S. workforce will be millennials, seventy-five percent by the year 2030. They are driven, highly educated, and perhaps the most misunderstood demographic to date. Eighty-three percent of them are registered voters, they show up for community service, and thrive in innovative environments.
According to Pew Research, Millennials are people born between 1981 and 1996, and are likely the most studied generation in history, well beyond the Baby Boomers. They are currently the largest segment in the workforce, and they are shaking things up. Millennials want to be leaders, and that’s why you should never overlook them when seeking candidates to add to your franchise network.
Where Are They Working Now?
These 20- and 30-somethings are first-generation digital gurus. Millennials grew up with the internet, so it makes sense they are most comfortable online and in a digital space. Current industries with a high concentration of Millennials in their workforce include tech and software, healthcare and big pharma, as well as finance and insurance. Don’t have a tech-heavy franchise business? That’s okay. If your company is socially responsible, offers a clear path to top performance with opportunities to utilize their tech savvy, then you’ve got an attractive enough business model to capture these eager achievers.
Two industries are clamoring for Millennials. They are the auto/aerospace and engineering industries. Follow recruiters from these two spaces to find young professionals seeking different alternatives.
What Do They Want, and Do You Need It?
There is good news for franchisors who wonder if they’ve got what it takes to wrangle the best of the Millennial generation. Franchised businesses are built on systems, grown by solid leadership, and inspire a ‘race to the top’ mentality for professional and financial growth. These are all traits regarded as highly favorable for young entrepreneurs. They want to see a clear path to success before them, and then they want to crush it! Add an opportunity for your new business owners to give back to their community or make a difference in the world through a charitable foundation and you’ve got a winning combination to bring Millennials in your door.
We’ve already discussed how comfortable these individuals are with technology, so where might that come in handy for a new franchisee? Millennials are masters of social media. In an age of digital marketing that is becoming more and more consumer driven, any business will benefit from an astute marketing hand that understands the digital landscape. Additionally, Millennials aren’t shy. Lines of communication will not only be open, but you can expect true cheerleaders for your brand and great resources for validation as new prospects enter your pipeline.
How to Market to Them
Like the rest of us, Millennials want to be understood, valued, and utilized to do good work. Find them where they are – online. Search LinkedIn, Instagram and SnapChat. Sorry Facebook, you just aren’t cool enough for this group.
Take heart that Millennials understand due process, want to be taken seriously and will be interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them for a right fit. Most importantly, don’t drag your feet because these people are on the move. They have no patience for delayed email replies, texts that don’t get returned or conference calls that aren’t productive. Keep your sales process concise and make it worth their time and yours.
What about money?
Aren’t Millennials up to their ears in debt with student loans? In some cases, yes. 48% have student loan debt, and nearly half of those with student loan debt are concerned about being able to pay it off. However, like any other prospect who comes down the pipeline, don’t assume they aren’t a qualified candidate. We in the franchise business know there are other means to financing that initial franchise investment. Don’t judge a Millennial book by its cover.
The question to franchisors really comes down to this: What are you waiting for to target a new generation of franchisees? Yes, they love their lattes. Yes, they prefer adventure to material possessions. Yes, they want what they want when they want it. But what if what they want is a chance to build your brand and make a name for themselves within your network? I’d bring a latte to the first sales meeting.
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