Millennials are ruining everything. Or, at least, that's what the internet would like us to believe. They are fraught with changing preferences and engaging solely because of social issues. How are the other generations and industries supposed to adapt?
Rather than spending time and energy claiming they are bad for everything they do and think, perhaps we can attempt to meet those changing needs? After all, millennials will outnumber boomers by next year. Maybe it is time to keep pace? But how?
First, focus on who millennials are and how they ‘tick’. Below are a few sweeping generalizations about this often-maligned generation:
They want you to know who they are. They aren’t kids anymore, but quickly achieving prime purchasing years. In other words, they are now or soon will be potential clients for most.
They are empowered, connected and leading the charge for change. That change may not be understood or welcomed with open arms, but they are a driven group and have achieved much.
They want their needs tailored to. A self-aware group, they are quick to know that one size does not fit all and they have different ideas and make different decisions than generations past.
They demand better messaging. In a world of ‘fake news’ and inauthentic marketing, they are adept as spotting it miles away.
Their lives are centered around social media—for information, for purchasing, for activism. While boomers use the internet for information purposes, millennials use the internet for daily community and existence.
They want easy. Who doesn’t? But for a millennial, they are driven to do it in the most efficient possible way so they can move on to something more engaging.
They want to do good and aren’t afraid to use their tech-savvy nature to achieve it. Millennials are probably the only generation that is uniquely aware of what companies can and should do with their money. And if you aren’t meeting those ideals, be prepared for the wrath of social justice.
What does this all translate to? Millennials want to be engaged with, not sold to. They want to know the story and reason why and how it matters to them or will make their life better. Standing for something good is highly attractive to this group.
But for all the good and progress this generation wants to make, they do come with some baggage. Like all youth, they make mistakes. And two of the larger ones revolve around not carrying health insurance or long-term disability. While most youth think of themselves as invincible, they do need to know the harsh realities and necessities of insurance.
Like any other generation in the past, they need to be educated. Unlike boomers who just took their parents advice to ensure they have coverage, millennials need to be engaged to understand why it is in their best interest. They are skeptical of large institutions and distrustful of marketing. Clearly, this is why survey’s show millennials know little on how the industry works and how much it costs to have coverage.
So, what to do? The insurance industry needs a makeover for the interest of itself and its millennial clients. Brand and reputation continually rank as they key drivers for engaging with this group. The insurance company must be agile and understand its client’s needs and provide those options being requested. But, even further, they must deliver the service and support as well.
Options without follow through are just vapid menus that aren’t interesting to this progressive and purposeful group. Millennials are looking for authenticity, transparency and personalized experience.
They are loyal, so insurance companies have much to gain by providing the experience requested. Recent studies have shown that 60% of millennials will purchase from a brand they follow. And they follow brands because of activism, genuine messages and entrepreneurial spirit.
Millennials are notorious for a short attention span (around 8 seconds). An insurance company has 8 seconds to be intentional and relatable. They are looking to hear about a vision that will make them want to engage.
Best of all, millennials are interested in mentoring and internships.
They want to gain experience and learn. They will respond to the right insurance company and agent assuming the time and effort are spent to help them understand the reason, need and rationale for insurance coverage. But the expectation is on the company to be intentional toward millennials and not vice versa as in past generations.
There is an impression out there that insurance agents are old people knocking on doors with briefcases in hand. That stigma needs to be removed and the only way to make that happen is to reach out and work directly with those young professionals called millennials.