Marketing and selling to millennials is a business challenge that has burst onto the collective business scene over the past year or so and is quickly gaining traction as one the more pressing and important business topics today. This is particularly true for logistics and supply chain industries. Today, these industries have older than average workforces and customer bases and as a result are on the front line of a massive human resource disruption and unfortunately (although not surprisingly) very few businesses in this sector are adequately prepared.
Millennials (defined as being born between roughly 1980 and the year 2000) are now starting to move into their prime spending years while taking on more senior leadership and management roles within companies. By 2025 (nine short years from now) 75% of all workers will be millennials. In America, about 10,000 people turn 21 every day (ironically about 10,000 people retire in America every day too). Understanding how to sell, market and engage millennial customers has moved from an important conversation to a critical business consideration and requires a strategy and planning accordingly.
As supply chain and logistics professionals, perhaps you’ve become accustomed to being a late adopter and slow to engage in modern practices but a tidal wave of change is coming and it will consume all businesses across all sectors including yours. This will happen with or without your acknowledgment or participation. This is a movement, a shift in philosophy and consciousness, the world is changing and will never be the same again. It is important to understand this is not a trend or a fad.
The millennial economy is not comparable to the “cool” new technology that you looked at last year (and ultimately decided not to engage in). The millennial generation is the largest most important demographic shift in US history. Eighty million highly educated digital natives possessing more than $400 billion (and growing) in annual disposable spending power who are living in an increasingly mobile and efficient world are being thrust upon your business, starting now.
The opportunity for first moving companies who align with millennials is extraordinary and these companies stand to gain a massive piece of the action. The opportunity in the logistics and supply chain space is almost untapped (for now) and some major winners stand to emerge in the coming years, will you be one of them?
Here are five questions you should ask yourself before you start to develop a winning millennial marketing plan.
Millennial Need #1: Be Specific
What is that unique thing you do best in two sentences or less?
Hint: Service is far and away the most popular answer and unless you truly are the industry leader in service (and you’re probably not) you need to define your unique value proposition.
Millennial Need #2: Be Accessible
What ways can you become easier to do business with?
Hint: Millennials home and work life are one and the same. They go to the gym at 11am and get work done at 11pm. How can you take advantage of this?
Millennial Need #3: Be Authentic
What do you not do?
Hint: This list should be long. Qualifying out is one of the best ways to help to define your market niche and ultimately your true brand identity.
Millennial Need #4: Be Omni Channel
How many channels do you engage your customers on?
Hint: Pumping out soliciting style tweets, getting Facebook likes or LinkedIn followers is not engaging. Millennials want two way communication on social and traditional platforms. Try texting or LinkedIn chatting with some of your customers. You need a minimum of three active channels excluding e-mail and phone.
Millennial Need #5: Be Cause Based
What do you stand for and why are you doing this?
Hint: If you said “profit,” although honest it would probably not go over well with this group. Although millennials understand the value of profit and money (notoriously frugal) they need to know that what you stand for aligns with their values. Millennials use a very different standard to assess companies and service providers than generations past. Get inspired from TOMS shoes.
Justin Bailie is the co founder and president of a Silicon Valley based startup RoseRocket, a modern TMS for LTL carriers. Consistently recognized as a top industry influencer, Bailie has been quoted and/or contributed to over 30 national and international publications including INC magazine, Huffington Post and the Globe and Mail. Bailie is recognized as a subject matter expert in the logistics industry and consults with businesses on business modernization and systems, marketing to the millennial economy and sales 2.0. He is also a published author, keynote speaker, and father of three. All posts by Justin Bailie