Millennials – 5 Trends You Need to Be Aware of

Millennials vs. Boomers

By Michael J. Nick

Hey millennials, just because you grew up with technology you think you are far more adept than we (simple minded) baby boomers. (See my previous article, “Dealing with Millennials at Work.”) Let me share with you a few facts. The cell phone was invented by Martin Cooper (not a millennial) and most significantly Steven Jobs and Bill Gates were both born in 1955… clearly baby boomers and not millennials.

Now that the facts are laid out help me understand some things we are all wondering. How is it that your generation is so dependent on technology? We look at things like Twitter, smart phones, and computers as tools with a means to an end. Your generation would parish if we took your technology away from you for a week. How would you communicate?

You see your generation is missing out on some of life’s greatest moments. Your millennial technology can’t get you the smell of a new book, a hug when you really need one, and of course my amazing pasta sauce and meatballs. Communication is a key component to most of life’s successes. It is nearly impossible to negotiate over a text, Facebook or an Instagram post.

What do you suggest we do to get through to you? Do we have to take up Twitter, join Facebook, or make crazy funny YouTube videos? Your lack of desire for social interaction is perplexing to me. It seems you would rather communicate through your cell phone with a text message than have a phone conversation with your Dad. By the way, we (boomers) invented this hiding tactic years ago, we call it email and voicemail. It has become quite a problem for us sales professionals.

I did some research recently to try and understand where all of this is going. And according to Forbes Magazine there are five key trends we need to be aware of when discussing millennials in the future.

  • Tech Immersion
  • Mobile payments
  • Badge experiences replaced by badge products
  • Re-imagination of social marketing
  • The rise of fast casual

Tech immersion is about “useful” being the new “cool.” You see the key to success with millennials is to build products that are “millennial-friendly.” Wearable tech is the biggest trend that is taking off. More tech on the wrist (Apple Watch) and tech like Jawbone and Fitbit have really taken off. If you are developing new products remember the phrase “millennial-friendly.”

As far as mobile payments go see, Apple Pay, or Snapcash. According to Forrester Research mobile payments will reach close to $90 Billion by 2017. Yikes, that little invention (cell phone) by Martin Cooper has really taken off. Also Square (which was invented by the founder of Twitter) is obviously a big hit too. Everything Jack Dorsey touches turns to gold. Oh by the way he was born in 1976. A real Gen Xer.

The third trend, “badge experiences replaced by badge products” is based on a study of millennials that says “more than 69% of all millennials consider themselves adventurous”. Think about that for a moment. Sixty Nine Percent accounts for more than two thirds of an entire generation. The trend here is millennials are removing the designer label and trying to find the true value in the experience they co-create with the brand.

It is a fact that three out of ten Facebookers say they “un-liked” a brand within the last 30 days and 38% of 16-24 year olds have done the same. The ratio is actually worse for twitter and Google+. This re-imagination of social marketing is causing all sorts of problems for retailers. That basically means millennials are going to put greater emphasis on content and brands they seek out more engaging discussions.

The last trend is my favorite. Chipotle almost single-handedly forced the fast food market into a direction called “Fast Casual” by creating high quality fast food and a “sit down and enjoy” environment. The real trendsetters for millennials are Firehouse Subs, Pie Five, and Smashburger. Hey Mickey Dee’s good luck keeping up with these guys.

You say you are passionate in that you want balance in your job. You say you tend to factor in happiness and satisfaction when finding employment. Tech companies really understand this. I was at a tech  company’s office a while back and they had an incredible buffet in all the hallways so employees could eat and drink all day and all night. Lunch and dinner were provided at no cost. They offered pool tables, soccer fields, basketball hoops, running tracks, flexible hours, day care, and heaven knows what else to lure top talent to their company. This change in corporate America’s thinking gives me hope for your generation. You see competition is what is driving these wonderful benefits. There is a shortage of talent in Silicon Valley and they are trying to attract the most talented to come work for them.

Adapt or Fail by Michael J. Nick
Adapt or Fail, Process with Power by Michael J. Nick

As we boomers move on and retire we are counting on your generation to help solve many of the world’s problems. If it is technology like Drones, early warning missile detection systems, or a cure for cancer, I am sure it is going to make the world a better place to live.

Michael Nick an international leader and expert in sales process and enablement. Founder of the ROI Selling program, Michael has worked with companies like, Rockwell Automation, Fiserv, Autodesk, Hewlett Packard, Emerson, Compuware, Ingersoll Rand, Bomgar, and Microsoft Great Plains. Michael has published several bestselling books including ROI Selling, Why Johnny Can’t Sell, and The Key to the C-Suite. His latest book, Adapt or Fail, focuses on how Millennials are changing the way we communicate and collaborate throughout the sales process.