Bugattis or Chicken Coops?

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Depending on whom you ask, millennials have a reputation. The negative version says they are “me”-minded, focused on taking selfies and acquiring money and luxury goods. The positive says they are civic-minded, concerned with social issues and making the world a better place. Which one is true? Would they rather have Bugattis in their garages or chicken coops in their backyards? And what exactly is a millennial anyway?

The millennial generation, born roughly between 1982 and 2000, is our largest in terms of number (83 million according to the U.S. Census Bureau), and is the most educated and diverse. At this point in time, these individuals are also young people—15-to-33 year-olds.

Looking at this group as an insurance agent, some millennials are still too young to buy your products. But the 20-to-33 crowd is certainly ripe. So it’s important to pay attention to how you might best connect with this large pool of potential customers. Thinking about a few of their overarching consumer behaviors is a good starting point:

 

Millennials like technology.

As it relates to insurance, a Gallup study from March 2015 reports that millennials are more than twice as likely to buy insurance online than older generations. Become an expert on the websites of the insurance companies you represent. Millennial customers want to find information easily and make simple changes online. Show them how to do it.

 

Millennials respect their parents’ insurance choices.

The Gallup report also found that millennials are more likely to purchase insurance from a company that already services their family members, a switch from older generations who placed more emphasis on cost and company reputation. Reach out to your older customers with information relevant to their millennial family members. You can cultivate the feeling that you care about the older generations’ children while getting their help to connect with your future customers.

 

Millennials do value social responsibility.

A 2014 study by The Brookings Institution revealed that almost all millennials (89%) reported a stronger likelihood to buy those from companies that supported solutions to specific social issues. Educate yourself about the good works of the insurance companies you represent, then share that information with your potential millennial customers. You can also report on your own engagement with the community if that is relevant.

The bottom line is that millennials can be selfish and high-minded, ambitious and lazy, just like every other generation before them. There is one trait that millennials do have a lock on, though—youth. And as they grow older, you can bet they’ll get married, have families, and purchase cars and homes. Take the time now to cultivate this group of consumers by learning more about their behavior as consumers, and it’ll pay big dividends in the future.

 

Read the Gallup report hereRead about The Brookings Institute study here.

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