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June 5, 2019

3 Keys for More Effective Communication with Gen Z & Millennials

David Wang

2019 BMV Millennial Communication Blog

While Generation Z and millennials may have differences in some areas, like their financial pragmatism, views on the workplace, and entrepreneurial tendencies, they do have many similarities, including their love for travel.

Millennials have been painted as the front-runners of the travel industry, but make no mistake, Gen Zs also caught the wanderlust bug in a major way. In fact, Gen Z travelers are already taking 2.8 leisure trips per year, right behind millennials’ three trips per year.

With these younger generations so passionate about weaving travel into their lifestyles, the travel industry is taking notice. New companies are being formed to cater specifically to these demographics, and incumbents are restructuring to ensure they aren’t missing out on the opportunity.

However, before developing products or shifting resources to cater to these cohorts, companies would be wise to start with the basics. To capitalize on the vast opportunity that these abutting generations possess, organizations must first learn how to communicate with them.

Here are three tips to ensure more meaningful and effective communication with Gen Z and millennials.

1 – Mobile First, Second & Third

When it comes to establishing a fruitful line of communication with Gen Z and millennial customers, brands need to adopt a mobile-first mentality. Why? Well, because this cohort clearly has.

92% of millennials and 95% of Gen Z own smartphones, with the latter literally growing up with devices in their hands. In fact, 25% of them had their own smartphone before the age of 10. On top of that, 55% of Gen Z report being on their phones for five or more hours per day and a whopping 12% said that they spend 15 hours or more each day glued to their mobile device!

With this proclivity for mobile, brands have the opportunity to reach these younger generations 24/7.

However, simply knowing where to reach them isn’t enough. With mobile giving brands a direct line into these influential generations, knowing how to communicate with them in a way that resonates is critical.

For starters, these digital natives show an aversion to phone conversations and a preference for text messaging. 75% of millennials say they’d rather lose the ability to talk versus text because it’s less time-consuming, more convenient (76%), and less disruptive (63%). Monthly call minutes also continue to drop as texts rise.

Even in the workplace, these generations prefer to use messaging (55%) or email (28%) to communicate with coworkers and management. So, if they won’t talk with their bosses on the phone, what makes you think they’ll want to talk to your company on the phone? Move to their preferred method of text messaging and show them you understand and care about their preferences.

2 – Make it Personal

There’s no shortage of dialogue happening in the B2C world about the need for personalization today. The lack of it is simply a non-starter.

Millennials view personalization as the most critical component of earning their business and keeping it long-term. These consumers want personalization so much that even in the age of data sensitivity, 61% are willing to give up their own personal information to receive it. This illustrates the importance of personalizing the entirety of the experience you provide, down to your communication.

It’s also important to note that attention spans are more fleeting than ever, meaning communicating with these generations needs to be efficient. As true digital natives, Gen Z and their millennial counterparts are used to the immediacy of obtaining the information they need, which has placed an emphasis on things like real-time communication and guest engagement in the hospitality space.

The desire for efficiency — aka, the need for speed — is a major component of personalizing the way you communicate with these generations, and all of your customers for that matter. With studies showing that we will waste 43 days of our lives waiting on hold, it’s not surprising that consumers are constantly searching for ways to save time.

A recent Zingle study found that Gen Z and millennial respondents were the most likely to say they’d pick a chatbot over a human for a customer service interaction if they knew that they could save time. With that same study finding that these generations were nearly three times more likely to say that humans are more effective than bots in handling their customer service needs, this shows that at the end of the day, time is most certainly of the essence for them.

3 – Make it Meaningful

While millennials are notorious for their lack of brand loyalty, Gen Z is actually an even bigger offender — especially when it comes to traveling. 18- to 24-year-olds are three times less likely than 25- to 35-year-olds to be loyal to at least one travel brand. Why is this important? Because loyalty can only be gained from a solid relationship, and as we all know, any good relationship is based on effective communication.

When it comes to Gen Z, gaining their loyalty starts with a critical component of effective communication: listening. Both millennials and Gen Z view a brand’s values as an important part of their decisions to do business with it. And as we’ve seen, Gen Z takes their penchant for standing up for causes they believe in to a whole new level. Which means they can be your brands biggest advocate or biggest detractor.

Additionally, 52% of millennials believe that it’s important their values align with brands they like and 89% of Gen Z would prefer to buy from a company supporting social and environmental issues over one that doesn’t. Showcasing and properly communicating that your company understands their values and is aligned with them can be tremendously helpful in attracting these younger generations.

Each new generation brings its own set of nuances and preferences that marketers and brands must adapt to in order to win their business. As we’ve seen, millennials and Gen Z are no different. The difference is that in today’s business environment if you don’t show that you understand these generations, there’s a handful of companies around the corner that will.

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