Well, that might be too broad of an indictment. Actually, it’s the self-appointed Millennial “experts” who have designated themselves as spokespeople for a whole generation that I hate. You know the ones I mean. The (self)righteous, regal repositories of generational truth, who alone hold the key of understanding to our current inter-generational Tower of Babel, without whom we would be walking around, well,…babbling to ourselves and others.

Marketing to Millennials

Sense And Nonsense About Millennials

Anyway, what I take offense to is these Millennial mouthpieces’ suggestion command that, if we are seeking to connect with Millennials (18-34 years of age), we MUST approach this particular generation in a VERY different way than we have EVER approached other generations…in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD! (The implied hysteria is intentional. I point this out because certain generations may have different responses to ALL CAPS).

In an article designed to school us on the mind of the Millennial, one Millennial spokesperson confidently pronounces that “No generation has been as publicly reviled, praised, misunderstood, and analyzed as the Millennials.” Really?! Really?!, (said in the best Seth Meyers Weekend Update Really?! Voice). No other generation? Ever? Really?!

So what must we know, according to this article, to ever be able to connect with and do business with these mysterious, elusive Millennials? Here are some of the headlines:

  • Millennials aren’t narcissistic. They are into self-expression.
  • Millennials are inspired by people they can relate to.
  • Millennials are connected but not tethered.
  • Millennials love a good deal.

Whoa. Stunner! I think I heard a pin drop in a Millennial open concept office! “Love a good deal”? Who knew? It sounds like Millennials are a whole new species. Do they breathe air like us? Do they come in peace? How can we ever expect to find common ground between our species?

generational image

Are We All Really That Different?

I may be able to offer some help in dealing with this alien generation. You see I have multi-generational experience. I am the son of WW II era parents, the father of 7 children and 4 grandchildren. In fact I believe that some of our own children may actually be Millennials. But what do I know? In all candor, at certain points of their development, my wife and I weren’t completely sure if they were Klingons, Zombies or even Democrats (Please no flames. I am already aware that it’s insensitive to accuse my children of being Democrats!).

But here’s the weird thing. Somehow, even in the midst of this vast generational Grand Canyon, I have been able to connect with and communicate with all these generations! We use many of the same words and we actually found that we have many areas of common interests. Now granted, some may view a common love for iPhones and Seinfeld re-runs as a shallow unifying force, but it works for us.

I mean seriously, does there not exist even a subset of core values and experiences that all generations can rally around? Look, I get it that each generation or market segment has some unique characteristics that we can benefit from knowing and that can help us connect more effectively. Perhaps too often though, things like the Millennial’s supposed inscrutability serve as convenient scapegoats for poor sales and marketing practices.

The Great Generational Equalizer

The MUCH bigger sales and marketing challenge today, that includes ALL generations, is the seismic shift that has taken place in the modern customer buying process. Today’s customers, of ALL generations, want to buy their way, on their terms and on their time. This is the great generational equalizer.

How is Your Business Enabling The Modern Buying Process?

So how is your business enabling this modern buying process? That is, a buying process that is self-directed, driven by web research, with the customer expectation of being able to engage with you at the point they want, but always with an overall roadmap provided should they want more.

A buying process that provides a clear navigation process, tons of valuable information without cumbersome “gates”, and that finds you responsive without being intrusive (you know, like the way you want things to be), and, overall providing them with a customer experience that is easy, clear, and frictionless. For example facilitating a buyer’s journey such as the outline below:

Modern Buyer Journey SaaS

What’s Good For the Goose…

OK sure, it’s not like you’ve never heard any of this before in some fashion. But when you put all the pieces together and compare that with your current practice I suspect you’ll find a lot of areas for improvement. I know we did.

Here at Executive Answers we help people improve their modern buying process on a daily basis in order to build high performance revenue “growth engines”. But we have been challenged by our work to look more closely at our own practice and we’ve found a lot of room for improvement. A major refresh of our site over the next weeks will reflect that.

Maybe we can help you too. Tell us more about the challenges you face in the comments below or give us a call at 617-958-1942.