For them, money is not a driver…yet. (It’s said that fewer than 11 out of 100 millenials define success in monetary terms and 6 out 10 view updating their social-network friends as a basic human right–even while driving or giving birth.)
If they seem to be disconnected from the generations before them—including their siblings, parents, and greater families—they are. Their trust is in their own age group, to a degree never before present in polling data. Three out of ten find their soulmates on Facebook or Twitter, and a fraction more than that use a text or wall posting to break up relationships.
Are you in a startup? Look around—there they are. (Only 1 in 14 work for a Fortune 500 company.) They expect to contribute, speak out, and be heard. They want their contributions to be recognized and rewarded by social status enhancement. Forget unified company messaging…they’ll wing it with the company’s customers and competitors in a thousand points of light sparkling as they see themselves and their friends.
And they know and influence more people than nearly any other demographic…by a ratio of 5 to 1. They believe in their hearts that their friends and acquaintances care about what they think—it’s a prime motivator of why they share their opinions by iPhone and online.
Think of them as the current pinnacle of an evolution, from the pre-Internet world through the online connected, to the socially involved millennial. We can only guess what paths their younger sisters and brothers will take to exceed this online-all-the-time generation. They make the old Apple-ad and formerly with-it Mac guy look as ancient as the hopelessly ancient PC guy he replaced.
So, what does it all mean? Time to get connected. Discard the Gen-Y and Millennium label: These 2012 outliers are the withdrawing sea standing before the tsunami of consumer change. Watch things speed up as the 24-hour news cycle becomes the instant news deluge. Watch supply and retail chains rip into pieces and reconnect without all the middle links. You can practically hear the digitally trained, texting fingers drumming as the microseconds shave off every interaction.
Robert Dolezal, CEO of Consultiq