Is Your Brand Welcoming to Young Professionals?

BrandAs executive director of an association of business-to-business marketers – young professionals have captured our attention.

I knew in my heart that making sure our brand was resonating with the millennial group (ages 21-34) was important – but I didn’t realize HOW critical it really was.

I’ve been bombarded with statistics lately about the changes in our industry and how important this demographic segment is.  As an example, in 2012, 23% of B2B buyers were millennial.  Now in 2015, that number has skyrocketed to 46% – and it will be over 50% by 2017.  That’s a pretty influential group – and they are all looking at your brandAre you ready?

IBM recently conducted an extensive study on millennials, and many of the assumptions about millennial were shown to be incorrect.

Despite the notion that millennials are absorbed only in digital devices – the truth is that they really do value face-to-face interaction.  That fact alone is reassuring – because our brand as a regional association is clearly linked to in-person events and networking with each other.

Some brands believe the myth that young professionals are all about themselves – when in reality, they crave and value collaboration.  Does your brand support that?

This group also puts a high emphasis on peer referrals and recommendations.  Does your brand reinforce that value?  Let’s hope so – because young professionals also like to SHARE their experience with others.

Millennials have unequivocally stated that they want client/vendor relationships to be quick, easy and virtual.  They will spend a lot of time researching your brand (both online and in peer recommendations) before starting down the buyer journey.  Implication?  Make sure your brand promise is easy to understand, and your brand is fully seen on mobile devices….the choice of millennials.

As a result of these discoveries, over the past three years, we as an association have been courting and recognizing young professionals.   We have taken a number of measures to make sure we are meeting their expectations – including having access to senior marketers, reducing the rate to join so price is not a barrier to entry, and putting them on our board of directors.  We are making sure they are included in every step of our brand journey.  As a result, a full 20% of our membership is now age 30 or under.   I am convinced this group is the future of our industry, and we are going down the right path for long-term success and vitality for our brand, and our association.

About Marilee Yorchak

Marilee Yorchak
Marilee Yorchak is the Executive Director of the Colorado Chapter of the Business Marketing Association (BMA), the largest chapter in the country. She holds the CAE designation (Certified Association Executive), and earned a BS in Marketing from University of Colorado-Boulder and an MBA from New Mexico State University. Marilee has been honored with the Communicator of the Year from BMA Colorado as well as Association Professional of the Year by the Colorado Society of Association Executives, and is a frequent speaker/panelist for association executive forums/conferences. She is the chair of the editorial committee for the Colorado Society of Association Executives, which produces a quarterly magazine, The Executive Memo. Marilee is also on the board of advisors for the Monfort College of Business Marketing Department at the University of Northern Colorado.

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