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The recent Leading Women Summit (LWS2016) brought together influential women from different walks of life and industries like governance, media, and entertainment. Presented by MTN Business in association with Forbes Woman Africa, the group of women, together with esteemed panellists shared ideas, stories and experiences about the phenomenon of ‘The Rise of The Millennials’. According to World Economic Forum, over 50% of the world’s population is under 27 years old and rising to 70% in Africa. This group of millennials, with their smartphones in hand, are determined, ambitious and are taking control of their future. Here are our 3 takeout’s that you need to know about ‘The Rise of The Millennials’:
1: Millennial Women
The millennial woman has multiple roles; she’s a
professional, a mother, a spouse, and through her aversion of being confined to
one platform, she is using technology to change how societies live, work and
play. Mandisa Ntloko, Head of Marketing for MTN Business South Africa said,
“Millennial women are using technology to seamlessly advance their careers
while ensuring that they remain connected with their loved ones”. Autonomously
accessing the internet always and everywhere, in conjunction with the rise in
interconnectedness, between people and their devices, as well as between peers
is creating an interactive culture, where content, information and opinions are
On one hand, businesses need to create environments that
address millennials needs to grow their careers, create workplaces that enable
and complement BYOD (bring your own device) and support occasionally working
remotely from a cafe or at home. Doing this will show millennials that your
business is a place where their dreams to fulfil their purpose while conquering
the world can manifest, which in turn will attract more millennials to your
business. On the other hand, business leaders and managers alike need to instil
a culture that allows and facilitates employees to create their own careers
because “the millennial woman is an unstoppable force that is making the
internet truly mobile”, Mandisa Ntloko passionately said.
2: Marketing To Millennials
There is an assumption that millennials are a lazy bunch of
people who lack brand loyalty and only care about ‘me’ –hence the nickname the
‘Me Generation’. Based on this, marketers in the past, have deemed them a low
priority group because of the difficulty in selling products and services to a
group who are not particularly spending.
During the panelled dissuasion, Michelle Jones, a millennial
journalist turned digital marketer, mentioned that the key to marketing to
millennials is understanding the different demographics and groups within the
millennial target audience. Ronen Aires, founder and CEO of Student Village,
who also contributed to the panelled discussion, identified key aspects to
marketing to millennials. Firstly, understanding their way of thinking, “I am
at the centre of the universe and you (the brand) have to fit in with me”. In
their self-centric way of thinking, millennials also value giving back and all
they really want is to be great and leave a legacy behind. Secondly, know the millennials biggest fear,
which is the letting themselves down. As marketers, you must understand this
simple yet impactful equation; if millennials get what they want -like working
in environments which approves of shared their value, they become fearlessly
loyal, which makes your job that much easier.
3: Millennials and Money: Spend
86% of the 8 million millennials are citizens of emerging
countries and according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, this
generation will be one of the most educated generations to date, and that
millennials are very well positioned to change and shape the global economy. We
also see that they are reluctant to spend and invest their money.
The global financial crises has made millennials very
fiscally cautious and sceptical. Millennials will not invest or buy from just
anyone. Some key concerns which are
driving their hesitancy to spend furthermore making them risk averse, are that
they have graduated from university with the highest levels of student debt,
poverty and unemployment. Thus the question that arises is twofold; how do
businesses encourage millennials to actively participate in the economy, and
how do businesses empower millennials to create opportunities for themselves?
Economist, Thabi Leoka said that there is a disconnect
between the financial and banking space and the millennials and that they still
have a long way to go in attracting young people to invest. This, she said, was
due to the lack of financial saving initiatives like FNB’s Bob Junior that
taught teenagers to save money, have neglected children, teenagers and
millennials completely. The panellists called upon female millennials to create
their own enterprises and influence strategies which in turn will shift their
perspectives on investments. Moreover, they warned those in the financial industry
not to underestimate how tech-savvy millennials are. Anthea Gardner, Managing Director of
Cartesian Capital, posed a question to the financial services and asset
management sector; "[if] millennials can order transport, takeaways or
send money via their mobiles, then why can't they invest via their
mobiles?" She said that those who do not offer a robo advisory services, an
online wealth management service that provides automated, algorithm-based
portfolio management advice without the use human financial planners, will be
left behind because millennials are and will change the future of banking.
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