The Millennial generation is all grown up. They’re an 18-34 demographic who has taken over the marketplace—in both number of customer prospects and purchasing criteria.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the “M word” touted on the nightly news.
But it seems as if only a handful of businesses truly understand what this generation wants from the people they work with and buy from.
As demographic landscapes shift, so must business missions. And for small businesses, the urgency to adapt grows increasingly crucial. Studies show that small business is the future of the economy. Most job creators come from our world, including both online companies and brick-and-mortar establishments.
Millennials will buy from you. And, as your company grows, they’ll work with you as employees.
Before we go any further, we have a confession to make: we’re writers in our early thirties. We come equipped with Masters degrees, marketable skill sets, and a desire to create a business that makes a positive impact.
That’s right, we’re Millennials. And we’ve learned how to create a business that speaks to this generation and keeps you relevant and profitable. It all starts with your mission…
Adapting Your Mission for Millennials
Millennials want to form a relationship with the businesses from which they buy. But not a business relationship in the traditional sense. You see, we’ve written on this very blog about what mission statements need to include. To sum, a successful mission statement focuses on how the business adapts to the customers’ needs and meets them where they are.
For the Millennials, the mission creates the relationship. And they want you to be more than a business designed solely for the purpose of financial solvency. Yes, we all worry about the bottom line; however, this generation feels attracted to businesses that belong to a community.
In other words, this group wants your business to care. And that means…
Adding a Social Cause to Your Mission
The largest buying sector in the world wants you to pick a philanthropic focus. The thing is, this addition to your mission cannot be arbitrary. For example:
- A landscape architecture firm who opts for biodegradable materials can add an eco-friendly pillar to their mission statement.
- An ethical investment firm who helps constituents grow retirement accounts without exploiting workers can stand against vulture economics.
- A physician’s group can support a charitable cause such as Doctors Without Borders.
You get the point. When you think about your business mission, and how you provide a transformation, it’s easy to find a fitting social cause. The question remains…
How Do You Express a Millennial-Friendly Mission?
Your mission amounts to nothing if it goes unheard. At the same time, you don’t want to show your amazing awesomeness without humility. To show your true colors as a profitable do-gooder, we recommend the following marketing strategies.
Use a multi-pronged marketing approach.
Think of the Internet as a giant Where’s Waldo? picture. This time around, the images that hide Waldo are innumerable. There is so much convoluted noise going on, you’d have to work very hard to find the red-striped shirt and hat.
That’s what’s happening to your Millennial prospects. They can’t find your marketing without working to unearth it. For this reason, let them find you in more than one way. Express your socially conscious message in the form of:
- Blogs and articles that show your prospects how to do something. Splice in some information about your socially conscious mission. But do so in a subdued and non-boastful way.
- Video and audio that reaches a wider Millennial audience. You don’t have to dedicate any sizable portion of your podcast, interview, or video to your philanthropic mission. A simple onscreen label or casual mention will do the trick, as long as it’s relevant to the topic at hand.
- Case studies and testimonials. Let others do the talking for you, especially when it comes to philanthropy. Seriously, this is the only way to directly mention social causes without coming across as bragging.
Plan far ahead.
Yes, as our name makes it clear, we’re all about planning. Once you have a clear, big-picture goal re: your social mission, a step-by-step plan is required. Build that plan rung by rung, and it’ll be come clear how you can express your social mission in the most effective way.
Our suggestion: make date-by-date goals and briefly sketch out the parameters of each milestone. The caveat is, if you see room for improvement, don’t stick to a milestone that could be more effective.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, the Millennial generation yearns to work with businesses that stand for something. And that means, they’ll pick companies with social missions that coincide with their values.
To leverage this fact, it’s not enough to mention how you take action. You also need to encourage your people to stand alongside you. This action, more than anything, will enhance the idea of community stewardship. (See below for some stellar examples of action encouragement.)
Strengthen your cause offline.
Communicating with someone on your website and/or sales page is one thing. Shaking hands with them in the community is another.
Whether it’s a small business expo, a community event, or a farmer’s market, these social situations provide an opportunity to discuss your for-the-greater-good social commitment.