(Or, more aptly titled: Millennials Are People Too)
Ah, Millennials. The generation people love to hate on. If we turned marketing conferences and publications into drinking games, Millennial would be the word that was sure to finish us off.
Millennials are the generation born between 1981 and 1995-ish (depending on who you ask, these parameters change slightly). They are currently between 24 and 38 years of age, and they are the largest generation on the planet. By 2025, they will make up the majority of the workforce in North America.
Millennials are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation – ever. While the number of Baby Boomers grew due to a high number of births post WWII (hence the name Baby Boomers,) Millennial growth has largely been a result of immigration. 14% of Millennials are first generation, and have strong ties to their roots.
Overall, Millennials get a bad rap in the media. Often labeled as entitled, lazy, and unfocused – they have been commonly scoffed at as the “young’uns”. But this is the most self-expressive, diverse, and connected generation we’ve ever seen. They have grown up with unprecedented access to the Internet, real-time data, on-demand communication, and far-reaching crowdsourcing abilities. And despite their high student loan debt, they also make up 45% of mortgages in the US in 2018, and are estimated to be at their peak of homebuying in 2020.
That’s right, Millennials are buying homes. Lots of them. People under the age of 36 make up more than half of the homebuyers in North America currently. So, what do we know about their expectations of Realtors? Of particular interest, is what does that mean for us and the way we market to them? Let’s look at three key reminders when it comes to marketing to this generation.
According to a recent NAR survey, 92% of Millennials use a Realtor to buy or sell, which makes them more likely to use an agent than any other generation. And when using a Realtor, they are more likely to keep in touch, communicate more frequently, and recommend their Realtor to others. This is the upside of expressive, well-connected crowd sourcers! The key is to recognize that Millennials are people too. But they are people with high expectations regarding communication. They are always available, so they expect you will be as well. And not always in the traditional sense. They are more likely to text you or use social media messaging than to phone you or use voicemail, so you will need to adjust your calls to action accordingly.
Google tells us that the average buyer or seller searches for up to 90 days before contacting an agent. And they aren’t searching like the generations before them. Millennials are driving the mobile vs desktop trend, and newsflash – desktops aren’t winning. Just 4 years ago, NAR found that 50% of homebuyers found their future purchase via mobile device. Those numbers are now. at least 10 points higher. Search is not only becoming more mobile, it’s becoming more diverse. Your Millennial clients are as likely to find you on social media or via sites like Yelp as they are to find you via your website – if not more. You need to diversify your presence to keep up.
For a generation that has always had the Internet at their fingertips – data is low hanging fruit. What they want is an immersive and engaging experience, as well as the explanation as to why it matters to them. This generation grew up on video games and YouTube, so it’s no surprise that they expect interactive digital marketing like 3D virtual tours, floor plans, room measurements, and professional photography. It’s not enough to tell them something, we need to find ways to show them what it would be like to live there.
For Millennials, change is normal. The number of tech changes in the past 20 years have been massive, swift, and life-changing. This generation laughs at the idea of faxing something and asks questions like, “can’t we just e-transfer the deposit to you?” Learning to adapt our messaging and communication methods faster and more seamlessly will be key to serving these veterans of change.
Millennials aren’t the enemy – they are the future. Their desire for expertise instead of just information will push the entire industry forward and upward. We each have a huge opportunity to grow our business by embracing Millennials and adapting our marketing strategies to meet their needs. (Besides, we’ll be on our way to shining the spotlight at an entirely new generation of young’uns soon… Gen Z is coming!)