19 Mar 2015 18:55 IST

Millennials will determine the future

Being ‘millennial’ may be more a way of life than just a buzzword for businesses

The term millennials is a misnomer. The general tendency to think of millennials as teenagers is flawed as millennials are born after 1980.

A majority of the millennial customers with purchasing power have exploded and brought to the market an entirely new set of expectations. With their dependence on social media to get and share information and flair for technology, they are redefining the paradigms for every industry.

Their consumption of services is led by peer reviews on social networks, advice from friends groups on instant messaging (IM) platforms and smartphone apps. If they do not like a particular service or product, they will immediately share their experiences over social, IM platforms using their smartphones.

Likewise, they can also become endorsers for a brand if engaged in the right way.

Businesses need to learn and transform to address the needs of these future world citizens lest the ‘mobile-first generation’ finds them conventional, non-engaging and static.


Take, for instance, the way news is consumed by this generation in the digital age. The influx of smartphones and tablets have meant people now watch news on the go and not wait to reach home and switch on the television. Another industry which has been transforming itself in line with the millennials’ expectations is the banking sector.

Banks are working hard to provide the same level of services and experience on their mobile site as their physical branch. They do not expect these young professionals to actually visit their home branch often. These traits should provide insights into how companies or marketers should respond and communicate to them. Millennials seek instant gratification and recognition and this is something recruiters too need to keep in mind during campus and lateral hires for millennials. They are willing to give their loyalty to someone who can fulfill their quest for new challenges. They show meta cultural ease i.e., they are comfortable with people from different backgrounds, culture and ethnicity, want to be able to give back through their work and have a good network of friends at work — an average of 220 plus friends.

Businesses need to integrate these millennial traits in their outreach strategies. One way of doing this would be to recognise, reward and encourage these traits. Across sectors and verticals, companies need to learn from millennials and then formulate their marketing strategies accordingly.

Business landscape

Startups like Flipkart and Ola Cabs with a millennial attitude are constantly forcing change in the market. These start-ups are creating new e-tailing and aggregation business models challenging the way conventional businesses have engaged and delivered their offerings. What sets these start-ups apart is the agility and entrepreneurial spirit.

Agility gives them the power to challenge the large corporates, grow faster than the industry, innovate and disrupt the conventional way of doing things. Large traditional companies engaged in large format retail, consumer durables and taxi services are losing market share and customer imagination as they could not quickly adapt to the changing demands of the millennial customers.

Also, it has been our experience that individuals that behave like entrepreneurs within a company are the star performers who come up with original ideas and continuously innovate.

IT services and product companies now not just recognise but also reward their millennial employees for innovation, in terms of funding and implementing these ideas for their customers. All this again brings to the fore that we need to adopt a millennial mindset, regardless of when we were born.

The new market entrants are rapidly changing consumer preferences. Therefore, in order to remain competitive and retain customers, we must be able to fully leverage the potential of social media. Therefore, being ‘millennial’ may be more a way of life rather than just a buzzword.