A confluence of factors, like globalisation, the proliferation of the internet and a high-pitched media environment resulted in the Millennial generation becoming the most scrutinised generation in history.
Now this group of people are also either in their 30s or entering that decade — meaning the generation is beginning to enter positions of power within the workforce, starting to thing about paying for their kids’ schooling or taking care of their elderly parents.
At Echelon Asia Summit 2018, two kick-ass millennial Founders will be talking about how they sell to the generation and how they hire from a generation with a bad reputation of being finicky.
Anna Vanessa Haotanto is the Founder and CEO of The New Savvy, a successful media platform that helps women take control of their personal finances. Oswald Yeo is the Co-founder and CEO of Glints, a startup that specialises in helping people find work straight out of university.
It’s going to be fantastic discussion so we figured we would give you a preview.
Defined by 2008
Ten years later, it is fairly clear that the 2008 financial crisis has fundamentally altered how millennials view the world.
For the people who are entering their mid-30s, they were graduating university or taking their first jobs as the global economy crashed. The late-twenties cohort graduated from school in the heart of the recession while the younger people came of age in its aftermath.
According to Haotanto, millennials, particularly the older ones, learned that jobs will be theirs for a lifetime.
“I have seen the valedictorians getting great jobs and then getting retrenched. [We] always thought, ‘I go to school, I do well, I do the right things and…yeah. So I think for a lot of people [the Financial Crisis] changed their perspective,” she said.
Haotanto said the crisis confirmed to her that she needed transferable skills, or, as she put it, “to become a profit center”.
Yeo echoed a similar sentiment,
“The workplace and skills required are changing so quickly that its no longer just about acquiring a specific sets of skills based on what the market wants now. Its critical for millennials to be able to get into a rhythm and habit of picking up new skills quickly, and staying up to date with the latest skills sets,” he said.
This mindset is entrepreneurial in itself, which then eventually manifests into the decision to pursue entrepreneurship as a career choice.
“When the media says millennials are spoiled, it is not true. I think millennials want a side-hustle because not everything is guaranteed,” she said.
Yeo pointed to a similar mindset and added that millennials tend to be idealistic, and thus are more likely to pursue their passion rather than accept a terrible job as part of life.
“Millennials don’t see a job just as a job but as a career and they often see the job search journey as a discovery process to find and do what they love,” he said.
So how can businesses sell to these people?
Both Haotanto and Yeo — who were interviewed separately and via separate mediums — said millennials want quality content that is directed at the them. This may seem pie-in-the-sky, but both the entrepreneurs are proving a business can be built by serving a direct audience.
Haotanto’s company is directed at young women and she has found a market that was screaming to be served.
“People like millennials want quality content. It’s so difficult to get good content and content that actually understands you. I think it’s more stories, real-life stories and very targetted content,” said Haotanto.
Amidst all the job platforms in Southeast Asia, none were hyper-targetted by age because most just wanted as many people as possible to use the site.
Glints became hyper-specific and went after people just graduating from university (who, if you want to feel old for a second, are not really millennials anymore). The company grew into a darling startup and now is a well know job site in the region.
“We found that it is a lot better to collaborate and involve [millennials] in the content creation process so that they feel much more ownership and will share it with their social circles. Even simple collaboration methods such as commenting and polls will make them feel a lot more involved in the process and convert them into more passionate advocates,” said Yeo.
To learn more about selling to millennials, see these two rockstars speaking at Echelon Asia Summit 2018 this June 28-29 in Expo Center Singapore!