Millennials make up roughly 25 percent of the U.S. population, accounting for the largest share of the country's labor market.¹ Myths abound about the constantly broke millennial still living in his parents’ basement, but in reality, this vibrant cohort is making some major inroads. For one, it is the fastest growing group in the United States earning $250,000 or more per year.²
For health care brokers, grabbing these consumers will be vital to their success and long-term profitability. So what, exactly, is a millennial -- and does it even matter?
Well, according to Jeff Fromm, aka “The Millennial Marketing Guy,” president of FutureCast, it actually matters quite a bit whether you can capture the eyes of this group or not.
A millennial is technically defined as someone born between 1977 and 2000. This young cohort already makes around 21 percent of all discretionary consumer purchases – a chunk worth over $1 trillion dollars in direct buying power.² This not only has an impact on those within the group, but has a substantial influence on older generations, as well.
But this isn’t your grandma’s market. Millennials are demanding a new kind of health insurance buying experience -- one that is simple, transparent and digitally enabled. And those who are able to provide it will find the most success.
Creating Brand Love with the Next Generation of Health Care Consumers
As long as there have been consumers, there has been brand preference – and the most-loved brands have typically generated the most profits. When striving for that brand preference from millennials, health care brokers will need to ensure that they understand well the minds and hearts of this generation, and ultimately work to make their services accessible. With that in mind, brokers should focus on achieving most, if not all, of the six primary drivers of profitability. Here, then are those drivers, in order of importance.
1. Social Circle
Millennials are talking with one another -- and if a peer has good things to say about a particular offering, then brand love is likely to follow. Today, the word “expert” has a new definition, broadened to include friends in different social circles. This group prefers conversation and participation. When it comes to marketing, think like Pinterest.
Millennial consumers also seek offerings with which they feel an emotional connection. In these cases, the brand becomes an extension of themselves. Brands like Red Bull and Starbucks have excelled in this driver – those brand preferences define consumers. But health care brokers today can strike a similar chord by ensuring that benefits meet specific and individual needs.
Providers that can create value while offering a "cool" experience are also placed high on millennials' lists. In fact, says Jeff Fromm, this group is two-and-a-half times more likely than other generations to be early tech adopters. But in order to stay at the top of the list, new technology must also serve a purpose or have an innovative twist. Some of the companies that are top-of-mind to millennials when it comes to this driver: AirBnb, Tesla, Top Golf.
To win over millennials, your offering must be trusted to consistently deliver on its promise. While Google and FedEx have largely dominated this area, health care brokers can also excel here by putting these consumers’ needs first. But gone are the days of "always be closing": To win with millennials, brokers should "always be helping" and offering advice.
Millennials also tend to brands and companies that "do good." When many other factors -- such as price and convenience -- are equal, purpose wins out. According to Fromm, nearly 50 percent of millennials would be more willing to purchase a product or service from a company if their purchase supports a cause -- even if it means paying a bit more for it. Many times, in fact, the millennial cohort is more interested in purpose than all other factors combined.
Offerings also need to be accessible and simplify the consumer's life. Brokers who can seamlessly fit their products into the lives of millennials will have success going forward. Some examples of winning brands that provide convenience, speed of service and availability include Uber, Amazon and Netflix.
To obtain the best results with future offerings, Fromm suggests setting a goal to excel in at least five of the six categories -- and absolutely dominate one.
Key Questions to Help Brokers Achieve Lasting Success with Millennials
In order to truly engage the millennial consumer, brokers need to make sure they’re on the right path in terms of mindset, marketing and purpose. The answers to some key questions can help create a successful blueprint.
- What mindset drives your business?
- Do you have a clear brand authority?
- How are you creating uniqueness?
- Will you co-create meaningfulness?
- Do you have an innovative plan?
Millennials are quite literally changing the world, and this force is impacting the way that companies do business. While an offering's price and quality certainly matter to this group, products must more importantly be easy to understand, convenient to purchase and create an emotional connection. Brokers who make millennials feel that they are understood on a personal level -- and who can gear their offering to meet these specific needs -- are likely to find success with this group, both now and in the future.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a solicitation.
¹ Based on calculations of data provided by the Pew Research Center: “Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation,” Richard Fry. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/ ² Millennial Marketing. http://www.millennialmarketing.com/who-are-millennials/