July 15, 2015
By their nature, startups are better poised to capture the eye of millennials than larger corporations. Small disruptive companies are seeking to do something better, make a process more efficient and enjoyable, or introduce something new altogether. These pursuits resonate with the millennial worldview as they favor alternative approaches over the status quo that the previous generations have followed.
However, just being a startup isn’t enough to capture their attention. Startups need to understand millennials’ expectations of what a brand or company should be and how they should interact with their users. The members of Generation Y are quick to advocate passionately for a product or company they believe in and just as quick to dismiss a product or company that falls short of expectations or endorses a message they view as archaic.
Here are some insights we’ve learned to help make sure you capture their interest and then keep their allegiance.
Millennials want to be spoken with, not at
In the work force, millennials prefer collaboration over office hierarchy, and this sentiment extends to the relationships they expect to have with brands and companies. They have a voice, and they want it to matter. Naturally, brands that are prescriptive in their messaging or aren’t open to having a conversation with their users don’t jibe.
Millennials trust in technology
Millennials put more faith in technology’s ability to solve problems or make life easier through automation than any previous generation does. For example, take a look at how companies like Wealthfront and Betterment have attracted recent graduates to start investing with the help of computer algorithms rather than human brokers. They are also the most connected generation, making social media and constant connectivity the norm.
However, this trust in technology comes with high expectations. Tech has to be easy to use and precisely meet their needs. They have little tolerance for poorly designed or cumbersome products.
Lifestyle and purpose matter
Meaning and purpose come before anything else in both their work and in the companies whose products they use. Factors that were once outside the purview of business, such as social and environmental responsibility, matter to millennials. This doesn’t mean that every startup needs to add a social cause to its mission statement, but startups should strive for a purpose that is more meaningful than maximizing profits.
They want value, immediately
Call it impatience, the ADD phenomenon, or a lack of faith, but Millennials don’t want to wait for results or delay gratification. Growing up in an age of rapid technological change coupled with globalization, terrorism, and an uncertain economy, they embrace the moment because they know the future is uncertain. Accordingly, they want the products they use to deliver immediate value. If they don’t understand what they’ll get out of a product or how it fits their needs, they’ll be quick to drop it rather than give it a second chance.
If you find a way to match these expectations, then you may be able to hit the goldmine that is the Generation Y customer. Good luck!
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