Millennials: They're Not That Bad

By Candie Harris Two hot topics in the industry today are 1) How to market to millennials and 2) How to manage their increasing numbers (and unique expectations)  in the workplace. Perhaps a question that marketers should be asking is: How can we use our own millennial team members as an integral part of our marketing plans? 

Before joining Likeable, I had limited opportunity to work on a day-to-day basis with members of Generation Y. My point of reference was only material that I had read, including a presentation from Alexandra Levit (Business & Workplace author, speaker, and consultant). She talked about boomer workplace perceptions of millennials as being "entitled" and "unprofessional," as well as having a brazen communication style and thinking that they can run things right away. Now, within the few months that I have been at Likeable (a company with a large percentage of millennials), I have seen first hand that, although some of their work habits can be challenging to a boomer like myself, there are many areas where Gen Y's strengths can be utilized to help drive results.

Not only are millennials "not that bad," but they can also be a great asset to your marketing efforts. Here's why:

They're passionate.

Millennials were raised being told: "follow your passion." They are interested in working for a company or brand that they are passionate about. They are quick to change jobs if their job doesn’t match their passions. Chances are, your millennials are very passionate about your brand (or they wouldn’t be there). Use their insights to test your messages. They will be quick to tell you if your positioning is inauthentic or not resonating. Given their propensity for sharing their passions, they are ideal brand ambassadors. Give them the right tools, and they will help get your message out. Known to value their peers influence in product selection, their passion can help drive your sales!

SEE ALSO: Consumer + Brand 4eva: How to Spark Passion

They're apt to listen on social. 

One of the most powerful things available to brands today is the ability to quickly spot trends and hear what is being said about them (and their competitors) by active listening on social channels. To millennials this is second nature. Their technological savvy equip them to "socially listen" on behalf of your brand. New social networks, competitive threats, viral and native advertising ideas, and consumer insights are a few areas where millennials can help your brand leverage the power of social listening. Encourage the sharing of social listening by assigning topic areas of interest for your brand. Integrate the best ideas into your marketing plan--and recognize the individual who turned their listening into a valuable asset for your business.

They want to make a difference.

The biggest complaint that you hear from millennials in the workplace is that they want to do meaningful work. This can be defined as both "meaningful to society" and "impactful to the company." Presenting difficult business problems that you face is one way to motivate millennials to work on projects that matter. In their quest to demonstrate their value to the business, they are willing to take on the tougher assignments. By giving your millennials your biggest marketing challenges, you may find their fresh perspectives result in unique, creative solutions that work!

Those are just a few (of many) ways that I have seen millennials from my team improve our marketing efforts. How have millennials helped yours?