I read a really interesting article about marketing to millennials and how there are specific ways to sell to them based on technology and social networking.
What really got my attention was the fact that most of the suggestions given to get Gen-Y to buy can be applied to parenting and communicating with our millennial kids. (I’ve got four millennials myself!)
Evidently, millennials, which constitutes any person born between 1980 and 2000………
“are a unique (and sarcastic) breed of creative, idealistic, and connected individuals who like to rally together to create more meaning in the world.”
Of course, we already know that our kids are awesome, talented and going to be the next president, but how can a parent effectively communicate to a generation of kids that are so technologically advanced and looking to literally change the world?
According to the article, when we invest time, develop trust, and make life with them memorable, we have a much better chance of connecting to our millennial loved ones.
So here’s the deal…..I know parents are doing all they can to filter, monitor, and set boundaries for their kids when it comes to technology and social media. And that’s just good parenting. But the reality is, we are dealing with a whole generation of kids that thrive on humor, crave information, want it now, want unique entertainment, and are always looking for the next “new” thing.
So how can a parent compete with that? I don’t know about you but I have yet to create a YouTube video that is as funny as goats in a Taylor Swift song.
Here are 4 things a parent can do to effectively connect with our millennial kids:
- Social – I know some parents shy away from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. But the truth is, at the rate technology is advancing, kids don’t mention going online because they’re all just always connected and parents need to be connected too. Be their “friend”, “like” their updates and occasionally leave a comment. My kids don’t always like it when I leave a comment on an Instagram picture they have posted. But you know what? That is fine by me. It shows them that not only am I interested in their life and what they are up to on their networking sites but reminds them that “mom” is watching so they best be minding their P’s and Q’s.
- Text – “According to Nielson, Millennials are the largest segment of smartphone owners.” Phone conversations are quickly becoming a thing of the past as video and image conversations are becoming a millennial’s addiction of today. For example, Snapchat….my kids “snap” all the time with short video of what they are doing. They have learned how to add short descriptions that further explain where they are, what they are doing and who they are with. It is a fantastic communication tool but if parents aren’t participating then chances are, they won’t be hearing from their kids a lot. Especially if they are away at college. In the very least, parents need to text and familiarize themselves with their own cellular devices in order to stay in touch with their kids.
- Passion – What are your kids passionate about? Do they empathize with orphans? Do they feel for those that are going hungry? Or homeless? According to a study done by Cone Communications, 89% of Americans are willing to switch brands in order to support a cause. What this means for parents is that our millennial kids are going to find something they are passionate about and they are going to support it. Talk to your kids about things going on in the world around them when they are young. It may be something as easy as making a donation to the World Wildlife Fund because they love tigers. Our family just recently decided to support Holt International by sponsoring two little girls from other countries. But it wasn’t until we attended WinterJam 2016 that they were able to apply their values to a cause.
- Be Real – One thing I’ve noticed with my four millennials is that while they enjoy bs’ing with their friends, they are seeking truth in their relationships. Gone are the days when kids and parents put their head in the sand and hope conflict just goes away. Today, Millennials seek authenticity, experience and real-time information. Certainly honesty and openness with our kids is relevant to their ages, but as they become young adults, they are going to look to their parents, first, to determine safety in the world around them. Now, more than ever, we need to invest the time it takes to connect. Being transparent about our mistakes, working together to improve the relationship and developing patience with each other creates a trust in our humanness that technology can’t provide. Kids don’t want to be talked to…..they want to be talked with and as we prepare our millennials to face a world that is changing at lightning speed, let’s remember that it is our relationship with them that will give them the stability to move forward into an unpredictable future.