How many times a day do you hear the word “millennials”? I’m going to assume it’s a lot. Many employers are still learning how to speak the millennial language and weave them into a pre-existing organizational culture. They’re one of the larger demographics of consumers and they’re stepping (rather, taking leaps and bounds) into careers, promotions and leadership roles all around.
We all know associations can provide a multitude of opportunities to a professional in almost any field. There is networking, higher education, accreditations and certifications, sales leads, career opportunities, resume building experiences and more.
As of now, the working public includes both baby boomers and millennials (we are fast approaching the inclusion of Gen Z, too). There have been hundreds of new technologies introduced (AND phased out) in the time that is equal to the age difference between coworkers today. Continually evolving technologies can create discrepancies in workplace, especially when different age groups prefer different communication forms (e.g. email versus Slack). Associations can embrace differences rather than ignore them.
As a millennial, I can tell you what I expect from my membership. I look for networking opportunities that can happen offline AND online (opportunities that can overlap into my free time activities and personal goals, not trump them). I want you to come to my corner when it comes to communication. I expect your website to be up-to-date. I think you should be present on social media – and give me the facts and latest events, but do it with personality. I look for recognition opportunities (I want my friends and family to know that I’m kicking tail at work!). I want to get noticed as a stand-out employee by other employers, too. I want to meet and network with people of all ages and races and backgrounds. I like to go to events – and I expect free food and booze (even if I don’t say it). I hope that my membership fee is reasonable enough and beneficial enough for my company to view as an investment and not a liability.
Granted, I am only one person. There are many other millennials who might have smaller or larger expectations than the above. How is your association working to investigate what those expectations are, and, furthermore, how are you creating opportunity and loyalty with this new age of members?
It’ll be different for every association, but here’s a good place to start:
- Invest time in getting millennial members on the phone or email and asking them what they want!
- Involve millennials in content production: try a social media takeover, guest blog posts, etc.
- Empower millennials through recognition or spotlights.
- Be open-minded to change, advancements and progression.
- Let millennials be brand ambassadors for your association (we do things in packs, you know).
- Make all of the above clear in your communication efforts.
There is no crystal ball answer to winning over millennials. Even as marketers, we’ll never completely know what our audience expects and wants. It’s an age-old fact, though, that the best way to communicate is to first listen. And if there’s any demographic that wants you to listen, it’s millennials.
Have you seen great results in communicating with millennial members or potential millennial members? Tell us about it in the comments below!