The boomerang generation, echo boomers, baby boomlets, gen Y, just as diverse as their names are, their perspectives and approaches are as much different and interesting, making them the most desirable age group in history. Born and brought up in a constantly developing digital world, their thoughts, and perspectives are far more advanced and varied than the other generations.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials alone comprise 92 million of the total population, making them the largest cohort in history. With this record to their credit, they have even more unique characteristics attached to them.
Interesting facts about Millennials
There is no doubt in one thing for sure. Distributors will have a hard time convincing and catering to millennial customers.
Millennials enter direct selling
This resilient group of individuals loves flexibility in everything they do and that exactly explains the millennial surge in direct selling. They are attracted to the industry for the flexibility and excited by the personal development opportunities it offers. Supplemental income is yet another. A recent study on consumer attitude conducted by DSA reveals that 35% of direct selling prospects in the U.S. are millennials.
How do you think will these agents of change transform businesses?
The youngest millennial generation is in their prime years of working and spending. They are the ones that are going to create a great impact on the economy. A Forrester study reported that four out of five millennials prefer a company with a strong vision and voice.
Ever imagined how these groups will be in an entrepreneurial role? If people growing in a digital-first generation could interest us so much how will they as entrepreneurs perform?
Let’s paint the picture against the backdrop of direct selling. Direct selling as an industry has witnessed younger generations of the already existing legends enter and transform, giving it a fresh new appeal.
Millennial entrepreneurs in direct selling stay true to their cohort in the sense that they are more determined on building and running businesses that are focused more on a high-minded vision rather than concentrating their efforts solely on profits and fame. Success to them is not all blood, sweat, and tears. A Deloitte survey underlines this quality of millennials in business.
Millennials consider business as a means to “improve society” and the potential to “drive change”.
One appreciable thing to note is that how much ever advanced and forward thinkers we think millennials are, they care as much for the values and traditions of the past.
Things from the precious past
The millennial entrepreneurs have a way of doing things while holding abreast, the virtues of the past. Legacy and experience are their favorites, together with an increased focus on building success not for themselves alone but for the community too.
This shrewd set of people is keen on planning their finances, making the right investments at the right time sealing and securing their future and the future of their dependents in the business.
"There is an honor and integrity to direct selling that I definitely learned about as I worked in the industry prior to Red Aspen. You have to be all in it for your reps—it’s not about you; it’s about serving them. That culture of integrity and that desire to serve others is something that I take from my experience and so many others who have come before us in direct selling."
- Jesse Mckinney, CEO, Red Aspen
Integrity matters and building a culture inculcated with this virtue is the prime aim of millennial entrepreneurs. Their ultimate desire is to serve the people by way of their products and services.
Leaving behind the past
Born in the digital generation, this smart group is already done with the antiquated techniques prevalent in the industry. They are all set to overthrow the corporate relationship barriers establishing warm relationships with customers and distributors. Relationships are what they value most.
They think face-to-face marketing has to be revamped with fresh new experiences to enhance customer experience. They believe that the primary step to that is to “roll your sleeves up and get into the field”. While in-person strategies are the cornerstone of a direct selling model, online and digital technologies have stood up complementing the ancestral model quite perfectly.
The old and outdated catalogs, posters, and print ads have revamped their looks through digital transformation methods. Millennials consider catalogs an old and outdated way of showcasing products. It’s high time companies outgrow this trend. The bold looks, stunning colors, and smoothly sliding pages have always been a treat to the eyes. When the same experience can be delivered online without literally printing it out on paper, that’s a bit to the environment, right?
Confining to selling seasons is not the millennial way. They say it takes agility out of your way and binds you by time and thoughts whereas in direct selling time and thoughts should flow, full and free.
In the recent past, sellers took it their obligation to the companies to convince their customers in every way possible. Millennials hate ‘being pushy’ rather believe in customizing their products and services that sell themselves.
Millennials are definitely set to go soft on recruitment and compensation. They are excited to explore the wakes of technology while still keeping ethics, quality, and culture at the forefront.
Innovations shaping their success
Every era slides on the innovations, following its course to the next. When you think about innovation as a concept transforming businesses, what hits your thoughts first?
In today’s world, innovation has become synonymous with technology. But the transformation of a business is only complete when innovation slides into each minute aspect of your business.
Millennials have invented a ‘secret sauce’ blending product innovation, technology, and customer experience. Each of these in desirable amounts has created a working solution for many. Right from manufacturing to ensuring a quality supply chain process, these sheer perfectionists perfect each of their business facets with groundbreaking strategies.
Compensation plans have a fair part to play in the success of direct selling businesses. In the past, companies leveraged it as an opportunity to build their profits but the millennials add a twist to the story.
This compassionate group of individuals gives due weightage to the role distributors play in the making. Hence they consider and structure compensation plan as a great opportunity to ensure a distributors’ overall development. Millennials are on the build-out for compensation plans that are ‘doable, reachable, and maintainable’.
"Many businesses have built upon recruiting or compensation and we feel like that is not a sustainable or ethical business. We believe in focusing on the product, the customer and the customer experience. The key is to figure out how to use technology and social media and still keep the personal aspect at the forefront."
- Jeremiah Bradley, Founder and Chairman of the Board, ZYIA Active
If a compensation plan is a wheel that keeps a business rolling, products are the linchpin. There is so much to consider when it comes to product innovation. Product is the bridge that connects consumers to a brand. It is the face of the brand. How well a brand portrays its products determines the success of it.
Millennials consider product quality and presentation two peas in the same pod. These two, they believe, create a combined effect on the relationship of a brand with its customers. While there cannot be even a hairline compromise on product quality, how this reaches out to the consumer is also considered a major factor.
"Our secret sauce is our products and our unwavering commitment to product quality. You can have all the bells and whistles for sharing, but if you don’t have a strong product that truly makes a difference in people’s lives that makes them feel better, live better and look better, it’s hard to have traction."
- Kendra Brassfield, CEO, NeoLife
Products have to reach consumers where they think they need it, even before they know it. In this regard, social media serves as the best way to get through. Growing up plugged into social media, millennials consider it to be the best channel to connect, learn and grow with customers and their interests. They apply this acquired learning to come up with out-of-the-box ideas for product innovations.
The power of digital
Older millennials is the first generation to grow up with computers in their homes, no wonder they still keep up the pace with technology. Growing up gaming, chatting, and browsing, millennials are now in the prime years of their career. Technology for them is a no-compromise affair as they believe technology can give strength to their wings and color to their dreams.
Millennial entrepreneurs in direct selling are laying technology as a bridge to close the gap between the brand and customers. They believe that the personal bond that keeps direct selling unique from other business models can be sharpened with technology. Entrepreneurs want to give customers and distributors the freedom to enjoy their brand from their fingertips. They want their customers to feel closer to them. Mobile apps and mobile-first business strategies are helping them keep up their pace as is social media. They find it the best place to get closer to their customers and enliven their interests.
A fresh new face to communication and brand marketing
This socially adept group is good at maintaining relationships both in their personal and professional circles. Direct selling revolves around warm business relationships and the need to have it enhanced is more important than ever.
"Our mission. As a millennial—and I’m sure younger generations would echo this—it’s not about how you operate, it’s why you operate. If you’re just talking the talk but not walking the walk, our generation will see that. You have to be genuine and authentic."
- Jesse Mckinney, Red Aspen
Millennial entrepreneurs believe in not just talking the talk but walking the walk. They want to know how their distributors and customers feel about their brand’s journey, the difficulties they face, the challenges they overcome, and the moments they enjoy. Most entrepreneurs who believe in this have built strong communication channels to connect with their brand partners.
The foundation of these channels is an easily accessible content management system that plays the role of educating the customers and distributors alike. Getting acquainted with the brand is the first step in building brand trust and loyalty. Once that is laid, it is easier to build and expand.
Top marketing strategies millennial entrepreneurs are adopting in direct selling.
Strong supply chain integration to keep up with their customer expectations.
Continuous product launches and face-lifts to keep distributors and customers excited and active.
Empowering distributors with sales enablement tools and real-time analytics to help them analyze what’s happening on the other side of the business.
Research about every person before meeting them, be it a prospect, another distributor, or a customer.
Leveraging the technological advantage to automate marketing processes to maximize productivity.
Millennials are excited by opportunities to showcase and experiment their individuality. Rightfully so, direct selling has turned out to be the perfect platform to stage their talents. The success millennials are reaping in the industry stands as a testimony to the facts outlined. What direct selling companies have to work on is to lather up their strategies for this tech-savvy group with the best and brightest technology.
Source: Direct Selling News
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