Some aspects of the Millennial generation completely and thoroughly annoy Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers. They’re stereotyped as being self-centered, narcissist, lazy, unappreciative, entitled, hyper-connected, tech-addicted, and needing immediate gratification. Being that Millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation, they have great (or maybe not so great, in the other sense) impact on our day-to-day lives.
Change in the Marketplace
Millennials have ushered in a certain ease of life and business. I used Uber for the first time in Montreal a few weeks back- my wife was trying to purchase two bagels from a bagel store while I ordered a ride. Guess which came first, the bagels or our cab?
I had another life changing experience the other day. My Millennial step-son broke my coffee pot. (This was a big deal. My coffee pot is to me as a smartphone is to a Millennial). I felt like the father from A Christmas Story when the leg lamp broke. I helplessly held the broken shards of glass in my hand, still smelling the aroma of the last pot of coffee/jet fuel. Emotions flooded and I nearly broke down, when suddenly I had a revelation. “Fear not,” I thought to myself, “Amazon, go, go, go!” Two minutes later I had a new coffee pot on the way.
Baby Boomers are now buying retirement property without ever seeing the property in person. You can get an auto quote in 15 minutes or less. We are all becoming Millennial buyers. So who, exactly, are we marketing to? We’re marketing to the future.
Adapt to the Marketplace or Die!
I once said to a Baby Boomer marketer, “What do you suggest we do when the robots come?” He looked at me and laughed. I could almost hear his thoughts saying, “Robots? Robots can never do what the independent agent can do.” Yeah, bud, you’re right. Let’s make the customer buy the way they DON’T want to buy. Whatever happened to the customer was always right? What’s happening in the Independent Agency world right now is that agents are marrying the way you sell. Rule of thumb- never marry the way you sell, only date. Don’t get romantic about the old days/ways, instead, look for trends that are in the now. IA’s must adapt or be freight-trained.
How Do I Adapt?
Change is good, folks. Find out how your customers prefer to communicate. Research the demographics of your customers. Download all those “silly” apps Millennials are using. Brainstorm ways to make sales easier for customers. Can you sell in 15 minutes or less? Diversify your sales into areas which are impacted less by technology, perhaps more commercial insurance. Can’t swallow that medicine? Adaptation is vital, and if you can’t get on board, maybe now is the time to sell high. A wise man once said, “Get out while the getting is good.”
One thing is for sure- change is always coming. The question becomes…will you ride the wave of change or be crushed by the rocks?