Contributors: Stacey Ferreira and Jared Kleinert
Stacey, 22 and Jared, 19 are authors of 2 Billion Under 20, and current college students who believe that labels given to the oft-ridiculed millennial generation are unfair. They believe that now more than ever, young people see that the future is theirs to create—and they’re achieving unprecedented things. In this guest post, Stacey and Jared share their tips for connecting with the millennials.
In May 2013, Time Magazine’s cover stated that the Millennial generation is the “Me Me Me” generation. But over the past two years, I’ve talked to hundreds of Millennials from across the globe and shared their stories in a book, 2 Billion Under 20: How Millennials Are Breaking Down Age Barriers and Changing the World, to show that this generation is actually the exact opposite. We’re the “Us Us Us” generation who want to simply learn, create and make the world a better place for all of us.
I preface this article with a headline including the word “connecting with.” I do not begin this with marketing to, appealing to, or any other kind of one-sided action. The biggest misunderstanding of the Millennial generation is that they don’t want life to be all about them, they just simply want it to include them.
Here are some tips when you’re thinking about reaching the Millennials:
1. Respect their intelligence. Growing up, our generation has been given access to smart phone devices that have more computing power than NASA computers did when older generations went to the Moon. We’re not only smart, we’re also extremely savvy and find answers to the things that really matter to us. So be honest and be clear when communicating with us because one way or another, we’ll find and navigate toward the truth.
2. Appeal to their personal values. Most Millennials today would much rather take their own unique path that aligns with our values and goals — starting a technology company in Silicon Valley, or taking a one month excursion to help preserve wildlife in southern Nepal — than follow the traditional path that older generations set forth. Appeal to these life goals and tell us how you can work with us to achieve them.
3. Connect and respect. Stop thinking in terms of “marketing to” and start thinking “connecting with.” Millennials are highly involved and want to feel like a part-owner in everything they do – their jobs, their projects, their social lives, their beliefs. Millennials want to work with you and learn with One of the best strategies I can recommend when working with Millennials is to level the playing field by simply asking for advice. What do you think of this color? Do you like this design or that? Millennials will enthusiastically provide their thoughts and perspectives, free of charge, and will feel a deeper connection with your brand because of their personal involvement.
4. Respect their autonomy. As a group of highly independent thinkers seeking our own identities, we want to be given options and make our choices for ourselves. Coercive marketing doesn’t go over to well and any marketing method that makes us feel like we are being psychologically manipulated into purchasing a product or service makes us run away. Don’t tell us why they should do something; show us how it will benefit us and our goals.
4.5 With. This is the most important word to keep in mind when garnering a millennial’s respect and attention. Remember that everything you try to do to reach the 18-34 audience has to feel inclusive. You need to connect with, talk with, and work with our generation and we’ll propel your business to the next level.
About the Authors
STACEY FERREIRA is currently the 22 year old co-founder of 2 Billion Under 20, and CEO of AdMoar, an online marketplace that matches brands with YouTubers for product placement opportunities on their channels. Previously, Stacey was the co-founder of MySocialCloud, an online password storage and management solution, that received $1.2M in funding from Sir Richard Branson, Jerry Murdock, and Alex Welch and was acquired by Reputation.com in 2013.
JARED KLEINERT is currently the 19 year old co-founder of 2 Billion Under 20, Founder of Kleinert Ventures, a marketing consulting firm whose clients include #1 NYT Bestselling authors, Olympians, start-ups, and Fortune 500s, Jared is an international public speaker discussing Millennial empowerment, youth entrepreneurship, community-building, and more on TEDx stages and in corporate boardrooms. He co-founded www.2BillionUnder20.com with Stacey.