Exclusive Features

The More You Know About Millennials

by Scott Costa, Publisher, tED magazine

If you haven’t checked out the April issue of tED magazine yet, I will let you know a few things about it here.

First, it’s a double issue. Our “Lighting Lineup” has grown to the point where we feel it deserves its own special issue. So, this month tED magazine comes to you with two issues put together in a bag.

It also comes with some of my own research on Millennials. A funny thing happened when I was researching my column for the April issue. I started “Google-ing” experts on Millennials, and what I mostly found was they were pretty much all saying the same thing. The next generation is very tech savvy. The next generation feels very entitled to find quality jobs and climb the corporate ladder very quickly. The next generation is very willing to leave one position for another if it believes there is a better opportunity. Nothing really cutting-edge, just a number of “experts” who basically have the same impressions of Millennials.

I contacted two of the experts to see if I could dig a little deeper into their research and try to learn a little more about the generation. Both told me they would talk to me, but I would have to pay them for it. They said it’s the same cost as their appearance fee. As a rule, I don’t pay for interviews. Ever. I’ve been a journalist since 1986, and to date, I have paid for exactly zero interviews. First, it’s just wrong, and second, it gives the impression that I paid someone to give me the answers I want to hear and maybe not what is the truth.

I then took a radical approach. I contacted a number of people and asked them to get me a list of as many people between the ages of 27 and 35 as they possibly could. The only thing that was important was they had to be employed or working for themselves. I talked with school teachers, website developers, a buyer for a large clothing store, a seller of advertising, a couple of people who had their own businesses, a woman who lives in both London and New York City, a farmer and a wide variety of sales people. I talked to about 70 Millennials. I didn’t “Google” them. I communicated with them. Now I feel like I am just as qualified to talk about Millennials as the “experts” who want me to pay them for their knowledge.

First, I will tell you that they are very driven to succeed, and they do want that success quickly. Not just in big picture, career-type situations, but in everything they do. When they have to make a B2B purchase for work, they want to do it quickly. They want to do it successfully. They want to use technology to accomplish it. Out of the 70 Millennials I talked with, all 70 told me if they don’t know something about a product or where to find it, they will “Google” it. To me, that means if you are not investing in search engine optimization (they call it “SEO”) you are not connecting with customers who are not completely familiar with what you do. 

Also scoring a perfect 70 out of 70: Amazon. Those darn Millennials love it. Even when there is a problem, like the wrong product is shipped, they still love it. Probably because nearly all of them paid the $99 fee to be Amazon Prime members and they can send it back for free. They love how easy it is to find products. They love the product reviews by users. They love the fast delivery. I have said this before: In a world where we are trying to recruit and retain Millennials as employees, Amazon has already recruited and retained Millennials as customers. If Amazon ever really decides to invest in AmazonSupply with some behind the scenes effort (experts in the products, real marketing of the website) they could make a huge impact on our industry in the next 5-10 years. The next generation of our workforce is already on board.

I hope you will take the time to check out the rest of my column in the April issue of tED magazine. They also talked about how they feel about “bad” websites and websites that do not have a way to conduct e-commerce. 

The great news about the group of Millennials that I contacted is they all agreed if I have more questions, they are willing to take the time to talk with me again. You better believe I plan on taking them all up on that offer.

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