There’s a lot of talk these days in the multifamily marketing community about millennials. Some define millennials as having entered young adulthood in the early 2000s, others as anyone who was born between 1980 and 2000. Regardless, this generation is often accused of being aloof, lazy and unprincipled. They get married later, live with mom and dad longer, change jobs more often, and of course, they’re always posting selfies.
Well, the first three are true, but there’s more to millennials than hashtags, food pictures, and emojis. As Adam would say on the hit TV show Mythbusters, “We’re here to reject your reality and substitute our own.”
Millennials a digital generation — the first generation that came of age in the digital world. They’re also a savvy generation, and if multifamily brands want to get a piece of the estimated $1.4 trillion of spending power they’re projected to have by 2020, marketers will need to abandon these five myths.
Myth 1 – They’re Lazy
People often cast others who do things differently as doing things incorrectly. Just because millennials have different lifestyle patterns than their parents did, doesn’t mean that they’re lazy.
While it may appear that this generation is lazy, don’t jump to conclusions. The key aspect to keep in mind is that millennials are the digital generation, and as such, they value convenience. They see the potential of the Internet, mobile devices, and digital media in making apartment hunting and community connectedness more efficient. Take time to understand how their interests and lifestyle may differ from previous generations.
Myth 2 – They’re Incompetent
When millennials have a question or don’t know how to do something, they ask Google. This is not a sign of incompetence, but quite the opposite. Thanks to the Internet, millennials are one of the smartest generations in history. They see the Internet as a great resource and wealth of information, and they’re constantly accessing it to make their lives and communications more efficient.
They’re also the most college-educated generation. They can see advertisements for what they are, and they know the Internet is a giant ruse of data collection. But they also know that it only helps everyone to make better, more informed decisions as renters, and it makes multifamily brands work harder for resident attention and loyalty.
Millennial lives and communications are fully documented online, which provides multifamily marketers with scores of valuable information. Use it to better understand, attract, and engage with this generation.
Myth 3 – They’re All About the Selfie
People think that millennials are always engaged with a screen instead of the people around them. We have news for you: People have been avoiding human interaction long before iPhones, iPads, and SmartTVs. It just wasn’t as noticeable back then.
Consider Mom and Dad, each sitting at the breakfast table reading the newspaper rather than chatting with their child. Or, train passengers commuting to work, each with their head buried in their book or magazine, rather than hamming it up with their fellow passengers.
Millennials are a tech and social media savvy group that knows how to make an impact on these platforms. To them, the Internet and social media are simply just another platform for news and communication (not so different from mediums like newspaper, television, etc.). Take the time to understand how they’re using these platforms and what motivates them to interact. You might be surprised.
Myth 4 – They Have a Lack of Values
Marketers think millennials are fundamentally different from their parents. They’re really not. Like their parents, they value making a difference in the world, making a good living, and achieving professional success.
They’re more open-minded than generations before them, and they’re not afraid to advocate for what they believe. They’re holding businesses to certain standards — transparency, sustainability, community involvement — which they believe is a more responsible path to future growth and profitability.
Ultimately, there’s a new era of social responsibility, and those businesses that fail to recognize those values will fall by the wayside.
Myth 5 – They’re Difficult to Market To
Google “marketing to millennials” and you’ll find countless articles, books, essays, even entire websites devoted to the subject. It’s like they’re some organism buried deep at the bottom of the Marianas Trench that is difficult to study, and no one really knows what they are or how to approach them. Contrarily, they’re very accessible and easy to engage.
Millennials require few things from the brands they will evangelize and promote:
- Be real
- Be transparent
- Be a consumer advocate
They’ve already proven that these properties can be profitable. The relationship should be symbiotic. If you scratch their back, they’ll scratch yours. And they’ll probably post a selfie with your apartment community. Focus on cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship between management and millennial renters. That starts with understanding what’s important to them. When you earn their trust, they can be fiercely loyal renters and your greatest brand advocates.
Just a little myth-busting for the multifamily marketing world.